5 Rights of Persons

Outside of simply wanting to the best thing so that everyone of all abilities is able to participate, there are some requirements and accommodations that all event and program organizers need to be prepared to address and support so that everyone will have access to the event.

Included in this section: Personal Assistance, Support Animals, and Requests for Reasonable Accommodations.

Personal Assistance

Ask Yourself

  • Do you know best practices for working with personal assistants?

Recommended Practices

A participant with a disability can request to have a personal caregiver or a personal assistant attend the event. A personal assistant is generally permitted if necessary for the participant to fully access the event. Consider whether any reasonable modifications are needed to support this request such as alternate seating arrangements, or free/discounted admission.

If requested, minor assistance may be provided to individuals with disabilities (e.g., assistance with navigation, serving and carrying food, retrieving items, etc.). Designate staff who can provide this assistance, and identify them with plain, and text printed name tags.

For more information on Personal assistants and caregivers visit the ADA Fact sheet on Caregivers.

Support Animals

Ask Yourself

  • Do you know one’s rights related to service animals?

Legal Requirement

Service animals are permitted to accompany their handler into any event space that is open to the participant. The ADA limits service animals only to dogs (in some limited cases a miniature horse) that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task performed by the dog must be directly related to the individual’s disability.  Service animals include service animals in training, but do not include therapy animals, emotional support animals, or pets.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that the service animal be under control of their handler at all times. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, tag, specific harness, or have any specific certification.

Care of the service animal remains the obligation of the animal’s owner and/or handler, including cleaning up after the animal. Event staff are not required to care for the animal’s needs.

If questions arise regarding the validity of a service animal the ADA only allows two questions of the handler:

  1. Is the dog (or horse) a service animal required of a disability?
  2. What work or task is the animal trained to perform?

If the person responds with yes and indicates a task, the animal is a service animal and should be permitted to accompany their handler in the event. If questions arise beyond this point please contact UI ADA Coordinator.

Recommended Practices

Recommended practices for event staff and participants when interacting with service animals:

  • Individuals should not touch or pet a service animal without permission from the owner.
  • Individuals should not give treats or otherwise feed a service animal without permission from the owner.
  • Individuals should not harass, distract, startle, or interfere with a service animal.

If your event is in a campus building, be mindful of the University’s animals in buildings policy. (Operations Manual V,-35). In general, if you wish to have an animal other than a service animal be part of your event, advance approval is needed from the appropriate vice president.

Requests for Reasonable Accommodations

It is important to have a clear process for participant to request reasonable accommodations. Make sure this process is shared with participants before and during the event and that there is a point person assigned to respond in a timely manner to the request. If questions about what a reasonable accommodation is for your event arise please contact UI ADA Coordinator.



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Inclusive Events and Programming Guide Copyright © by Authored collectively by the University of Iowa campus community is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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