A young woman in a powered wheelchair at a concert holds concert tickets and has stars in her eyes as a female friend puts an arm around her and cheers, a backpack is on the seat next to the friend

5 Disability Tips for Attending Large Venue Events

Who doesn't like going to a concert, performance, or sporting event?
The problem is, it's not always easy to attend events at large events while living with a disability, such as spinal muscular atrophy.

Pre-planning is key

Here are some tips for attending a large event comfortably, so you can have the maximum fun!

1. Find Wheelchair Accessible Seating

Truly wheelchair-accessible seating can make all of the difference in experiencing a sporting event, concert, or show. It allows you to stay in your chair and is often raised so that you are able to actually see what is going on. Be sure to look at the fine print. Companion seating which are seats next to the open space for the wheelchair is usually limited. Sometimes these tickets can be purchased online like all other tickets and other times you may have to call or submit a form to purchase them. Accessible seating is limited so as soon as you know you want to attend an event try and get your tickets right away. If you are unable to get accessible seating call the venue and see what levels are accessible and try to find a seat on the end of a row. This may allow you to be able to transfer into that seat.

2. Look Up Parking Ahead of Time

Wheelchair accessible parking is available at these types of venues but just like with seating it is limited. Arriving early can be helpful to try and obtain a parking spot. Research the venue. Figure out which specific parking lots have accessible parking. Presenting your disabled plate or placard to parking attendants will help them point you in the right direction. Same parking rates usually apply to disabled parking spaces. If you aren’t able to find accessible parking finding a spot on the end of a row to match your ramp can work.

3. Map the Venue for Accessible Entrances and Family Bathrooms

Depending on the venue every entrance may not be accessible. Find a map of the venue ahead of time. Look for ramps and elevators near the section you will be seated in. Look for bathrooms. Often in large venues there are also family bathrooms. These types of bathrooms allow me to use the restroom when attending something like this with the help of another person. Keep in mind these family bathrooms may be locked and you may have to find an attendant to open it for you.

4. Bring Items to Make You Comfortable

Find out ahead of time what is allowed into the venue. Do the items need to be in a certain sized bag? Does the bag need to be clear? You will be able to find a list on the venue website of what is and is not allowed. Medically necessary items are a separate matter and exceptions can be made. You deserve to feel comfortable even in a foreign setting. Bring items that make eating and drinking easier, help regulate body temperature, and don’t forget any medications that may be necessary.

5. Ask for Help

If I have learned anything at different events it’s that you need to be willing to ask for help. People working at the venue know it better than anyone. They will be able to point you in the right direction or find someone who can help you or answer your questions. Bring your patience and arrive early to get to where you are going.

There might be some challenges along the way but I always find it worth the experience on the other side. Have fun!!!

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