Special Needs is a department that assists convention attendees who may need a little extra help, due to differing abilities. When attendees need and request it, we can provide them with elevator access, priority seating, and in very limited instances, an escort through or around crowded areas. We do not provide medical equipment, including wheelchairs, nor do we provide assistance in using such equipment. You will need to provide this on your own.
We have a desk in the main registration area, near the elevator. We also have staff located in many areas of the convention center, called rovers. They will have a black Otakon Staff t-shirt, with a blue reflective armband.
Special Needs will have someone on duty for all hours the convention center doors are open to the public, including Thursday's online registration pickup period. However, someone may not be present at the desk during lulls. If this is the case, please see the next question for information on reaching us.
During the year, you can reach us by using the email us option through our online contact system. Please select "Special Needs" as the topic to ensure your question is sent to the right department.
Please keep in mind that we may not be able to respond to all messages. If you have an urgent concern, please come to the Special Needs desk at Registration. If you are unable to travel to this desk, please ask a member of staff to page Special Needs. Special Needs will dispatch someone to assist, if they are available, but it may take some time to arrive at your location.
You should ask for assistance if you have a medical need, or such assistance would prevent damage to an existing injury. For example, if you have a broken leg, or are pregnant and in your third trimester, you should ask us for assistance. On the other hand, if you have a large costume, or are tired from walking all day, we apologize, but our department cannot assist you.
As stated above, any medical need will cover you. Some examples:
If it is not easily apparent that you are in need of assistance, we will ask for some kind of explanation of your needs. Medical documentation allows us to quickly offer accommodations specific to you. Some examples of acceptable forms of documentation are
First things first, check into your hotel, if needed, and relax for a little bit. When picking up your badge, go directly to the door, bypassing the line. Indicate to the Otakon staff member (not security) you are proceeding to Special Needs. The staff will show you how to get there, or call for assistance if it is needed.
Unless your badge has been specially modified by Special Needs, you will not be permitted to use any elevator inside the convention center, except the one located nearest to the Special Needs desk. If this limitation would prevent you from reaching the desk, please ask any member of staff to page Special Needs. We will dispatch someone to your location to escort you to the Special Needs desk. During peak times, it may take a long time for someone to come to your location, due to limited staff available to respond.
If there is a wait at the desk, please use the provided seating if it is needed. If seating is not available, consult with the nearest member of staff with reflective tape on their arms.
Special Needs will ask you to explain your situation, and provide documentation, if it is necessary. We will look at your documentation, or medication, and immediately return it to you. You will be responsible for its safe keeping or disposal.
While it is understandably frustrating, if your needs are not readily apparent, and you do not possess some form of documentation, we may turn you away. So, we urge you to please bring something with you to support your claim.
Upon verification of your claim, we will modify your badge, indicating to all staff that you are allowed to use the elevator and/or have priority access to seating.
If you find yourself in a long line for an event that provides seating, please speak with the member of staff at the start or end of the line. They will provide whatever assistance they can to ensure you receive a safe seating area.