KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
This year, Kosability and the Netroots Nation staff have undertaken to make NN13 our most accessible yet for persons challenged by limited mobility. To this end, I have volunteered to serve as an accessibility coordinator (although the inimitable peregrine kate has already taken much of this task in hand).

I am seeking a corps of volunteers.

The only requirements absolutely necessary are an empathetic nature, good people skills, and the willingness to help those experiencing challenges in mobility for any number of reasons to fully participate in our community. All of these people are motivated, independent individuals who have taken the trouble to get to NN. But sometimes large venues filled with escalators, heavy doors, hills, curbs and staircases can pose problems. Large rooms with poor acoustics make it difficult for some of us to hear. Individuals with dietary limitations imposed by health issues may have difficulty finding meals they can eat. And convention centers without guidance for the visually impaired can present special challenges and dangers.

Please jump below the fold to find out what you can do to help.

In the words of peregrine kate,  in a memo she prepared for Netroots Nations organizers:

The need for such a support staff is not because people with disabilities come to such an event unprepared for challenges related to being in a high-energy place with lots of activity that is not generally designed to accommodate any special needs. It’s because the challenges of attending a convention can get to be tiring and overwhelming no matter how well prepared someone is. Sometimes a simple and short-term boost is all it takes to carry someone over a rough spot and enable them to continue to benefit from and contribute to the event rather than have to retreat to recuperate.
I need volunteers to help me meet these challenges so we can turn NN13 into the most accessible Netroots Nation ever.

Here are my requests:

1) A team of people living in the area to be lead by Cali Scribe willing to scout hotels, restaurants and other sites in the area for ramps, accessible rest rooms, willingness to prepare specialized meals, etc., and to make a written review available prior to the conference;

2) A team of onsite persons to be assigned to specific individuals to run interference when needed for a variety of issues. Often, this may mean acting as a gopher to bring a meal, insuring proper seating arrangements, or checking to see that captioning or signing is available at a workshop;

3) Organizers for a Kosability caucus.

Obviously, no one individual volunteer can accomplish this single-handedly for an event that attracts a crowd the size of the town I live in. Teamwork is essential.

If you are willing to volunteer, please tell me in the comment thread below. Specify which of these tasks you're willing to take on.

And, if you need assistance, please help us out by letting us know what you need, either in the thread below, or through private messaging. And, when you send those messages, remember that I am TheFatLadySings, NOT The Fat Lady Sings!

Thank you!

postmodernista is the moderator of KosAbility’s diaries and maintains the schedule. If you’d like to sign up for an open Sunday, post a comment or send her a private kosmail.

The content of the KosAbility diaries is important to many folk who depend on the exchange of information and ideas about their struggles with real life-changing conditions. The moderators of these diaries will not tolerate rude, disruptive, off topic, and/or threadjacking behavior. If in doubt, read our mission statement in the diary.

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