Articulating my access needs for an academic conference has taken a long time to figure out, and I'm still wading through those waters. In case it helps others in some way, here's an email I just sent; thanks to Mirabai for sanity-checking and courage to actually ask for what I need. 

(in reply to a request for my conference schedule)

I do not have a definite schedule of my participation in the event; as a professional conference and networking function, a large part of the value comes from informal hallway conversations with colleagues, evening socials, and spontaneously being able to follow connections into/out of formal presentations.

What I need for full access is a CART provider assigned to me between Sunday, June 15 at 1pm through Wednesday, June 18, at 5:30pm. The CART provider either needs to follow with their equipment wherever I go or be prepared to go to wherever I text them on a minute's notice and set up there. The CART provider and I can negotiate throughout the day to make sure they have sufficient break time (I am used to working this out with CART providers). Hours would be as follows:

  • Sunday, June 15: 1pm (Pioneers project workshop) through 9pm (Purdue Engineering Education mixer)
  • Monday, June 16: 7am (1st sessions) through 6pm (awards ceremony).
  • Tuesday, June 17: 7am (1st sessions) through 10pm (ERM division social)
  • Wednesday, June 18: 8:45am (2nd sessions; I will almost certainly skip the first session) through 5:30pm (end of last sessions).

Within this, the current schedule you have for me is a reasonable first guess as to where I might be and what I might be doing, but much of the value will come from unplanned interactions outside the current tentative schedule.

For my own talks and presentations, we do not yet have slides or other planned material. Honestly, knowing my co-authors and our travel schedules leading right up to the conference, it's likely to be a last-minute thing. However, I've attached the two papers I will be presenting so the CART writer can get some idea of terminology, and I would be happy to coordinate with them over email, SMS, or chat beforehand to field any questions they might have. [Provider name] and some of her subcontractors have provided both remote and in-person CART for me the past 2 years and are familiar with the terminology and conventions of my field.

Let me know how we can set this up, and whether you have any questions. I've copied [my counselor] from the Purdue Disability Resource Center on this email so that everybody's in the loop.

Many thanks,