These suggestions are provided as a guide, particularly for those who have limited experience in advocating for themselves or others.
- Ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. First, let the business owner, restaurant manager, etc., know that you are pleased with their services, but accessible material would make things even better.
Be prepared to make suggestions as to which materials you want to be made accessible, and how you think this could be accomplished (e.g. bank statement, menu, etc., and who can provide services to make documents available in Braille, large print, in digital formats etc.)
If the owner is in agreement, be positive, and provide whatever support you can. Follow up to assure completion, and patronize their business even more after they have complied with your request. Tell your friends and associates about the additional materials which have been made available so they can take advantage of them and reward the business management for their efforts.
If the owner/manager is resistant, remain as positive as you can. Remember always, that whatever aids the consumer also aids the business. Explain which accessible materials are important to you and how they will influence your use of the business or organization’s services. Ask friends and/or relatives to assist in the process. Tell friends about resistance, and if it is appropriate, encourage them to use competitive services that do provide accessible information and appropriate assistance. You might also consider asking them to mention that they know someone who is blind who could use … accommodations when they patronize that establishment etc.
Remember that any advocacy involves several steps including planning, preparation, patience and persistence. Take the time to plan what you want to accomplish, and the steps you will take in order to accomplish it. Contact people who can do something about your concern, and follow up with those people to make certain that the task has been successfully completed.
These techniques do not guarantee the completion of our goals; however they are the only way to bring us closer to the goal of adequate accessible material, which will benefit consumers and businesses/providers alike.