Accessibility Guidelines: Creating Accessible Continuing Education

ASHA is committed to providing access to continuing education courses to all participants with disabilities and other diverse learners. Accessible Continuing Education, or more broadly referred to as Universal Design Instruction (UDI), provides a framework for creating courses that ensure lectures, discussions, visual aids, videos, and printed materials are accessible to all participants, regardless of their learning styles or needs.

The following principles were excerpted from FacultyWare. (n.d.). Principles of UDI. 

Nine Universal Design Instruction Principles

  1. Equitable Use—Instruction is designed to be useful to and accessible by people with diverse abilities.
  2. Flexibility in Use—Instruction is designed to accommodate a wide range of individual abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive—Instruction is designed in a straightforward and predictable manner regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language, or current concentration level.
  4. Perceptible Information—Instruction is designed so that necessary information is communicated effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
  5. Tolerance for Error—Instruction anticipates variation in individual student learning pace and prerequisite skills.
  6. Low Physical Effort—Instruction is designed to minimize nonessential physical effort in order to allow maximum attention to learning.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use—Instruction is designed with consideration for appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of student's body size, posture, mobility and communication needs.
  8. A Community of Learners—The instructional environment promotes interaction and communication between participants and among participants and faculty.
  9. Instructional Climate—Instruction is designed to be welcoming and inclusive.

Suggestions for CE Administrators/Organizers

Before the Meeting

  1. Contact conference registrar to ask registrants if any special accommodations are needed.
  2. Contact presenter to inform him/her of whether special accommodations will be needed.
  3. Provide presenters with "Presentation Accessibility Guidelines."
  4. Arrange for a sign language interpreter or court reporter to type the presentation.
  5. Ask presenter to put handouts on a CD or upload to online cloud storage services.

At the Meeting

  1. Remind presenters to provide a script or copy of their presentations/slides to sign language interpreters, if present.
  2. Make sure that there is enough light in the room for sign language interpreters to be easily seen. Avoid a totally dark room.
  3. Ask if meeting attendees are able to see and hear the presentation.
  4. Provide a magnifier to access reading material.
  5. Provide a thumb drive/CD to participants who need text-to-speech.
  6. Make sure aisles and seating arrangements can accommodate wheelchairs.

Emergency Preparedness: Moderators with emergency concerns in their sessions should contact the conference registration desk to obtain emergency procedural information.

Information for Presenters

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or have low vision may be present in your audience. The following suggestions may ensure everyone can follow your presentation.

Spoken or Audio Presentations

  • If present, make sure that sign language interpreters have a copy of your presentation before you begin.
  • Describe slides and graphics briefly.
  • Avoid referring to items using words like "this, that, these."
  • Speak directly and clearly into the microphone.
  • Do not cover your mouth when speaking.
  • Include captions on video presentations.


Options to ensure full participation in your session:

  • Printed Handouts
    • Use large print (18-point font).
    • Use non-serif fonts (e.g. Helvetica, Veranda, Arial).
    • Use a minimum of 1.5 line spacing.
    • Use underlining for emphasis instead of italics.
  • CD or flash drive or upload to online cloud storage services 
    • Meeting participants who are blind or have low vision may prefer to copy text files of your presentations and have their screen readers or other computer software convert the materials.
  • Braille
    • The National Library Service Resource Directories list sources of Brailed materials. For more information, visit the Library of Congress' website.

PowerPoint Presentations

  • Use 36 pt. or greater font size.
  • Minimize the number of lines on each slide.
  • Replace graphics with text whenever possible.
  • Include a text slide after each picture/graph slide that describes what is seen in the picture/graph.
  • Provide captioning of audio.
  • Use contrasting colors.


  • Use large font (e.g. Title: 72 point, Section Title: 46–56 point, Block Text: 24–36 point)
  • Use non-serif fonts (e.g. Helvetica, Veranda, Arial).
  • Contrast font color with background color (e.g. black text, white background).
  • Use 1.5–2.0 line spacing.
  • Do not place text over images.
  • Ensure adequate resolution of graphics.
  • Provide a large print hardcopy (18 point text).
  • Consider CD or flash drive file or upload to online cloud storage services.

Additional Resources for Accessible Presentations

ASHA Corporate Partners