We want everyone to be able to participate in the events they enjoy, get around the venue with ease, and feel free to interact with other members and our wonderful guests.
We encourage all members with accessibility concerns to join our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/ausdwcon2019accessibility.
This is a group with a dual function.
Firstly, it has been created as a forum where people can talk freely about any concerns they may have in advance of the Convention, or let others know if they need assistance during the Convention.
Secondly, we plan for it to act as a kind of virtual noticeboard for those who may have difficulty accessing the physical noticeboard located at Ops. We will be doing our best to transcribe all notices placed on the physical noticeboard as quickly as possible.
At the 2019 Australian Discworld Convention, we are trialling an opt-in accessibility scheme that has been used successfully at the UK Discworld Convention. It is called the Blue Dot system.
The Blue Dot scheme is not meant to be about labelling people because of their accessibility requirements. We think of it, rather, as a magic ticket to make things a little easier for those who might need a bit of extra time or consideration. You get to choose whether to opt in to the Blue Dot scheme and, if you do, what information you're comfortable sharing and where to stick your dot: up front and centre on your membership badge or somewhere discreetly on a back corner.
If you'd like to chat about the Blue Dot scheme, we invite you to join the discussion at facebook.com/groups/ausdwcon2019accessibility. You don't need to have a Blue Dot to join the group, or to ask for assistance if you need it.
What's different if I get a Blue Dot?
For some of the larger events and activities, members with blue dots will be allowed to enter first, to give them time to find a space suitable for their needs.
Who is eligible for a Blue Dot?
If you believe you will need a little more time getting around, or you need to be close to the front because you have problems hearing or seeing, or if you just think you might need to be close to an exit during an event, please do consider requesting a Blue Dot when registering at the Convention. The Blue Dot itself is just that, a blue sticker you can wear on your badge. The dots can be picked up at Registration (or when Registration is closed, at Ops).
The list of reasons above why someone might ask for a dot is by no means exhaustive, and if you feel you may need one for other reasons please don't hesitate to ask for one. It doesn’t require any form of documentation and you're not required to share any details with us unless you find it helpful to do so.
What about companions?
Anyone with a blue dot can be accompanied by one other person whenever they get priority access. This person does not need a blue dot of their own. This way, you don't have to depend on a specific person and are free to mingle as you want.
Should members treat Blue Dot wearers any differently?
We expect all our members to be kind and courteous to each other, but please be aware that someone wearing a blue dot may need a little extra space, or time to move around, or priority access to the lifts. You may not be able to see the reason for this - some issues can be invisible at a mere glance. If someone looks like they are struggling, feel free to offer them assistance but please do not help without asking, or be offended if they do not take you up on your offer. Please don't ever distract working assistance animals or touch someone's mobility aid (e.g. a wheelchair or cane) without permission.
Assistance animals (e.g. guide dogs) have an important job to do. Please don't pat them, talk to them or distract them in any way when they are working.
Some of you may know that, when our favourite author attended Discworld Conventions, he sometimes brought along the persona of Silas T. Firefly. When he took off his hat, Terry became Silas: it was his signal that he wanted to be incognito for a while.
Similarly, when a dog is in harness, it is working and should be allowed to get on with its job. When the dog is out of harness, it is simply a dog; however, just as one would treat Terry Pratchett in his hat with courtesy and respect, one should still check with the dog’s owner before patting or playing with it.