An access key tells people what will happen at an event. It helps everyone know about access in and around the venue. It also shows people that you are serious about including everyone.

They are particularly helpful for people with Autism because it helps alleviate the anxiety associated with going somewhere new. They are useful for people who use wheelchairs because it describes the best way to get to and move around the venue.

They acknowledge that not all spaces are 100% accessible. By sharing information about what is and what isn’t accessible, young people with disability have more agency and control over if and how they participate.

Check out Undercurrent Victoria’s comprehensive access key they wrote for a Halloween Party they hosted.

When developing your own access key here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • How people will get to the venue
  • How people will get into the venue
  • How people will get around the venue
  • Is there a quiet space?
  • Is there going to be high-stimulation/scents/flashing lights?
  • What about the bathrooms?

Remember, you don’t have to make the space 100% accessible for everyone. Writing an access key is about giving people the best information so they have agency and confidence to attend.

For a more in-depth list of questions, see Undercurrent Victoria’s framework.

Reflection Questions

How might this information be useful for young people with different types of disability? Autism/ASD? Wheelchair users? People with limited mobility? People who have adverse reactions to overstimulation? People who are blind or have low vision?

What kind of message does it send to have this information published publicly?

What information is missing from the above access key? Keep in mind that this access key was developed by volunteers.

Is this something you could do for the events and activities that you host?

Write your own access key about a space you use for events/activities/meetings.

Further reading:

Next: Communicating with Young People with Disability


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