[Linux-aus] Disability Liaison Officer for LCA 2014 and other LA-assisted events

Ian ilox11 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 22 09:52:19 EST 2013

In terms of the range of attendees at an LCA there is a clear need for
somebody knowledgeable in the field to be tasked with oversight of
assistance for those with some form of disability. I believe that a
Disability Liaison Officer is an essential role within the Organising

Last year I was honoured to be able to take part in LCA thanks to the
Regional Delegates support program. It was valuable to me not just in
contacts but in being able to touch base with the Open Source world and I
hope the wide ranging discussions I had with other delegates triggered off
future developments. I also took advantage of the support provided by the
shuttle buses but especially to be noted the wonderful mini-vans and the so
excellent volunteer drivers.

The DLO role might mean the hiring the Accessibility mini-vans. It might be
as simple as keeping spaces free in the front row for those with
hearing/visual problems. It might mean shuttle buses and having able-bodied
person able to help move luggage for those with less strength.

One example of where experience in disability support could/might have
helped  - and I make no reflection on the excellent ACT Team that were
caught out by something out of the blue - last year's Key signing was held
in a room that a wheelchair-bound participant couldn't make it down the
stairs to the front for the identification process. Yes there was
wheelchair access at the back of the room but the person was a participant
not a watcher. Maybe a little thing but a person with Disability Support
oversight could have facilitated changes to cover this. Note that the
problem was overcome as far as I was aware but it needed some messing about
to resolve.

Disability can affect any of us and being able to enjoy the conference in
spite of the difficulties can really make a difference.

PS: For the organising committee: please make sure that the training for
volunteers includes how to guide a visually impaired person using the
volunteer's elbow as a reference point. This technique takes less than 3
minutes to learn but makes a big difference to the comfort of a VIP.

-- Ian
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