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When looking at how to be more accessible and inclusive, we can break things down into three stages or topics.

  • Planning
  • Delivery
  • Reviewing

These three topics apply broadly across many aspects of work within the youth sector, whether you're working within operations, resources development, delivering workshops, or communicating directly with young people. These considerations are beneficial for clients, participants and disabled young people, but they can also support colleagues, People who are important to your work or part of the broader team.stakeholders and perhaps yourself.

Three circles in a cycle showing planning, delivery and review


You should always be thinking about access and inclusion from the start and planning with it in mind. It should not be a last-minute thought, something that wasn't considered when budgeting, or seen as not having any serious purpose or value.frivolous, but instead at the core of the planning. So, what should you consider when planning?

Involving disabled young people from the start will help you know this information. This could be in the form of co-design, focus groups/consultations, surveys, application forms, etc.

You should also consider the potential barriers to access and how you could minimise or remove those barriers, as well as any resources you already have in place or have access to.


Look at things already in a space like the locations and address, public transport, parking, any steps or ramps, lighting, seating, bathrooms, Bumpy tiles you see in places like train platforms.tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) and so on. In the online space you might consider things like captions, chat use, breakout rooms, etc.

Once you’ve looked at what there is, look at what there isn’t and potential barriers to getting there or using the space. Think about how you can minimise or remove them! This could be through your own ideas but also by asking people about their access needs so you can make sure you’re meeting the needs of those you’re working with.

Things that might make a situation more accessible could be setting up a quiet room, making sure spaces having enough space to turn whilst using mobility aids, implementing breaks, using captioning, doing alt-text and image descriptions, bringing in interpreters, making activities flexible and adaptable, amongst many other things.

Another important thing to think about to make things accessible is how you’re communicating information. Do you have Easy English formats? Braille? Auslan? Text-versions? Audio? Multiple contact methods? A variety of communication methods allows people to pick the one that works for them. Also, in terms of social media posts, posters and other promotional type material, think about how clear and accessible those materials are. There’s no point sharing a post with jargon, busy patterns, tiny text and confusing fonts if people can’t understand them!

Be flexible, willing and proactive when it comes to removing barriers.

Obviously that’s a lot of things to remember! To help, you might want to create an access checklist to support you in all the planning. The checklist could include a list of things that you start from in terms of things to look for and plan for.

And amongst all of this we also acknowledge that not all services have the same access to resources and there are restrictions out of your power sometimes. But the main thing is you are adaptive and creative with accessibility.

Think about whether you can bring in temporary resources like blu-tack signage or temporary ramps into venues. If you’re limited in funds, can you borrow or hire some things? Planning with accessibility in mind ensures you have time to think about these creative ways of making your services as accessible as possible.

Resources to support planning


Good planning should mean delivering is straight forward. However, you can never be 100% prepared for everything so it’s important to be flexible, adaptive and open to change. This isn’t always easy but makes for a richer, more meaningful experience. Sometimes that is also about removing planned elements and making them simpler.

When delivering whatever you planned you might come up against When two access needs might conflict or cancel each other out.competing access needs, changes in access needs or things you just weren’t aware of before. Working with whoever is affected, thinking about what you can do in the moment and being open to suggestions is important when working with unexpected challenges.

Sometimes problems can arise, like competing access needs or a lack of information about accessibility; this is okay! A respectful conversation with the people involved will usually be able to guide you in what to do. It’s a good opportunity to be thinking about how we ask questions, and the importance of language. Generally disabled young people are used to being able to discuss their needs, and what can be negotiated with or make appropriate compromises to find a happy middle ground.

When relevant, ask others what their access needs may be. Never assume!

Also, think about the way the world creatively adapted to the restrictions brought on by COVID. The sudden changes in the way we had to access things meant we had to figure out creative solutions.

Grocery and library book deliveries, telehealth options, adjusted working hours and studying from home are all examples of accessibility by being flexible and adaptive. It's also important to note that disabled people have been asking for a lot of the things that came with adapting to COVID and we shouldn’t stop doing those things with the push to "go back to normal." We’ve shown that we can be flexible and it’s important to continue this mindset!

Here are some examples of things that come up when delivering. These have been provided from the real experiences of our own disabled facilitators and co-designers!

Example Problem 1

You have planned and promoted an accessible event. On the night, you find out that the venue got  Designed for disabled people that do not require the extra space in accessible toilets. They often have a hand rail but a wheelchair may not fit.ambulant toilet and Designed mainly for wheelchair access and assistance when transferring from wheelchair to toilet.accessible toilet mixed up, and that the toilet nearest the event space is an ambulant toilet.

Possible Solution: You get more details from the venue and discover an accessible toilet is in the venue but further away from the event space. You speak to the panellists and decide to put up signs that point the way to the accessible toilet. While you put those signs up, you move any obstructions out of the way so the path is clear. You then inform the panellists and the audience so that toilet access is clear.

Example Problem 2

You are in an in-person workshop, and you knew from your sign-up information that there would be an Australian sign language.Auslan user and a person who requires low lighting. Once the Auslan interpreter has joined and workshop starts, you switch off the lights for the person who needs low lighting. The Auslan user and interpreter then get frustrated because they can't see each other. You realise there are conflicting access needs in the room.

Possible Solution: You pause the workshop and listen to both participants to understand the problem. You then think of some possible solutions to offer them, including some table and floor lamps you know are in another room. You then ask each person what they think could work. Both people agree to having the overhead lights off, and including some simple table lamps pointed at the Auslan user and their interpreter. The Auslan user then adjusts the plan slightly to ask for floor lamps instead, because they are softer, and the person who needs low light agrees this will work.

Example Problem 3

You are running an online consultation, and plan to use a PowerPoint slide to show information to the group. As you are getting started, one of the participants messages you to say the slides and transitions are giving them migraines and they are at risk of it becoming a seizure.

Possible Solution: You thank the participant, then pause the session to explain you need to make an adjustment, and that everyone can take a ten minute break. You and your co-facilitator discuss your options, and realise you can hide the PowerPoint and instead just speak the information out loud with the same result. Just in case, you also choose to send everyone the PowerPoint via the chat, so anyone who would like to use it still can. You run this plan by the participant, and they agree, and say they'd like a copy of the PowerPoint too, so they can maybe look at it later.


Once your delivery is complete, the most important thing to do before moving on is to review how it went. This is the best chance to learn, and in some ways, appreciating what went wrong so you can adapt and make your next delivery even better.

Be inclusive and accessible even when it's not required.

When reviewing you want to consider what happened.

  • What worked, and why?
  • What didn't work, and why not?
  • Was there anything unexpected?
  • Did you ask for feedback? What does it say?
  • Are you hearing from disabled young people? If not, why?
  • What could you change for next time? What would you keep?

Reflecting on what happened helps you do better in the future. It can also be helpful to look back on your Statement of Commitment, Access and Inclusion Plans and other policies and procedures, to see if you are consistent with what you have committed to, and if not, what needs to change so you can be.

To show you what reflecting and reviewing can look like, here are some lessons that our facilitators  learned from the previous three delivery examples.

Reviewing Example 1

You decide to look up more information about the difference in bathroom accessibility, and discover a few extra bits of information about accessible spaces. You share this information with your team and the venue you worked with, so everyone can learn or have that knowledge affirmed. You then update your checklist for events to ask some more specific questions and get more detailed answers from venues. You add more pieces of paper, markers and blu-tack to your events kit in case you need to make more signs in future.

Reviewing Example 2

You could realise that next time you look at the access needs before a workshop, you can talk them through with your team to try and identify any conflicting access needs. You can look up some resources or contact organisations that specialise in these types of access needs and come up with a few potential options. You can then contact the two participants before the workshop, explain the situation, offer some options, but then ask each person what they think could work in advance. You would then have some more time to adjust your plans before participants arrive.

Reviewing Example 3

You realise that even though you ask for access needs on your sign-up forms, you did not include anything about imagery that may induce seizures. You look up some common wording, and add that prompt to your future sign-up forms. You also go back over your content and prepare an alternative version that can more effectively run without PowerPoint slides.

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