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Participants (Building the World We Dream About)

The program is designed for adult participants of all ages and stages of life, young adult through elder, who seek challenging faith development. The ideal group size is 12 to 24 participants, although the program is suitable for groups as small as eight and as large as 30. Participants will be invited to bring their own stories to the group and to share some of their own experiences in both small and large groups.

Integrating All Participants

People of all ages have a range of abilities, disabilities, and sensitivities. Be sure to ask individual participants to identify disability- or sensitivity-related accommodations they need. Because participants may be unfamiliar to you, bring additional sensitivity to disabilities or other special needs. Include a question about special needs on registration forms or sign-up sheets. Some activities include specific suggestions for adaptation. In all cases, keep in mind these general guidelines:

  • Make a few large-print copies of all handouts.
  • Write clearly and use large letters on newsprint. Use black or brown markers for maximum visibility (red and green are difficult for some to see).
  • Make a handout of prepared newsprint pages to give to any who request it.
  • Face the group when you speak and urge others to do the same. Be aware of facial hair or hand gestures that can prevent or interfere with lip-reading.
  • In a large space or with a large group of people, use a microphone for presentations and for questions and answers. If an activity prevents speakers from facing listeners (e.g., a fishbowl activity, forced choice activity, or role play), pass a hand microphone from speaker to speaker.
  • When leading a brainstorm activity, repeat clearly any word or phrase generated by the group, as you write it on newsprint.
  • During small group work, make sure each group is far enough from other groups to minimize noise interference.
  • Keep aisles and doorways clear at all times during a workshop so people with mobility impairments or immediate needs can exit the room easily.
  • When rearranging furniture for small groups or other purposes, leave clear pathways between groups.
  • Emphasize the importance of removing bags, books, coffee cups, and other obstacles left in pathways.
  • Use the phrase "Rise in body or spirit," rather than "Please stand."
  • Use language that puts the person first, rather than the disability—that is, "a person who uses a wheelchair," rather than "a wheelchair-user"; "a child with dyslexia," rather than "a dyslexic child"; "people with disabilities," rather than "the disabled."
  • Refrain from asking individuals to read aloud. Do not go around the room expecting each person to read a part of something. Request a volunteer or read the material yourself.
  • Ask participants to let you know in advance of any allergies to foods. Add to your covenant an agreement that the group will avoid bringing problem foods for snacks or will always offer an alternative snack food.
  • Ask participants to let you know in advance of any allergies to scents or perfumes. If any participants have allergies or sensitivities, invite members of the group to refrain from wearing perfumes and add this agreement to your covenant.

Consult the Accessibility section of the Leaders' Library on the UUA website, or contact a member of the UUA staff, for guidance for including people with specific disabilities. In addition, some workshop activities suggest specific adaptations under the heading Including All Participants. When planning workshops, consider how individual participants are likely to respond to activities. Substituting an alternate activity may be helpful in some situations.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, December 9, 2011.

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