Making the WMS more accessible for all

As a global organisation, we are committed to making sure everyone has equal access to information and the opportunities created within and by the WMS. 

Language and translation

The WMS is based in the UK and our official language, as outlined in our Charter, is UK English. It is important that language is not a barrier to members being able to be fully involved in the work of the Society.

Our website is fully translatable. If you’re accessing our website via Google Chrome, it will automatically invite you to view the website pages in your first language. If you are using another web browser (such as FireFox, Edge or Safari), we have added a Google Translate button to the top of the page to make it as easy as possible for you to translate the pages.

Fees and costs

The value of money is different in different countries. And we are always reviewing our membership and Congress fees to include options to suit people from different countries, at different stages of their careers and with different budgets. 

We offer reduced membership and congress fees for people in the early stages of their careers and from low and middle income countries. 

We also offer a Membership Grant to those for whom the membership fee is a barrier to joining.

To make attending the Congress more affordable, we offer travel fellowships and caregiver grants.

For those who still find attending the Congress in-person too expensive or inaccessible, the entire event is available to stream virtually. Virtual attendees can participate live by asking questions and viewing posters, just as they could if they were at the venue. 

Early career researchers and clinicians

If you are new to the field and in the early stage of your career, we want you to feel welcomed and supported. We have an entire programme of work to support early career researchers and clinicians. You can find full details on our website.

Accessible Congresses

Our annual Congress is a popular event in the neuromuscular disorders calendar. Each year, around 1,000 delegates from all over the world join us for the in-person Congress, with hundreds more joining virtually.  

We want to break down the barriers to Congress attendance to people from all over the world. 

Food and drink - we have worked closely with food suppliers to make sure all dietary requirements are catered for and are clearly signposted. All food suppliers have full lists of allergens and can provide advice on ingredients and food preparation conditions. We recognise that many people don’t consume alcohol for personal or cultural reasons, so we make sure there are good alcohol-free options available as well as an alcohol-free table at the networking dinner for those who would be more comfortable sitting with others who don’t drink alcohol. 

Introductions -  for those attending a WMS Congress for the first time or on their own, we are happy to make introductions and help delegates grow their networks and feel more comfortable. Attendees can let us know by email in advance or visit the welcome desk if they would like to be introduced to other attendees. 

Quiet Room, family-friendly room and multi-faith room – in 2023, we introduced three separate spaces within the Congress venue to support delegates with different needs. 

  • Our quiet room is a space where delegates can take some quiet time to make the busy Congress more manageable. No electronic devices or food are allowed so the space is truly welcoming and calming for all. 

  • Our family-friendly room enables delegates to travel to the Congress with young children and have a safe, fun space to care for them where the Congress sessions are streamed live. 

  • Our multi-faith room is a space where people of all faiths have a quiet space to observe their rituals and prayers.

Social distancing - not everyone likes close contact with others, especially in busy environments. This might be because of physical injury or disability, neurodiversity, or just personal preference. We offer a "social distancing" lanyard, which delegates can select at the registration desk. It's a gentle way of asking others to respect your personal boundaries and avoid standing too close during conversations or offering physical contact, such as hugs or handshakes, that might be unwelcome. 

Translation – in 2023, we also trialled a translation app, Wordly, alongside the Congress app. Wordly was available for in-person and virtual delegates and provided live translation for every session. 

Transport – travelling around big cities is simple for some, but less straightforward for those with additional mobility needs. We work hard each year to make sure we have the right kind of transport to meet the needs of all delegates. Please tell us when you are completing the registration form if standard transport will not suit you and we’ll arrange a conversation with you to make sure we understand what you do need so we can make sure we support you.

Venues – our Congress venues vary enormously. Some are purpose-built conference centres, while others were designed by the architects of days gone by. When we are planning a Congress, accessibility is at the heart of our venue decisions. At the very least, they must be fully wheelchair accessible, including full access to the stage so speakers as well as delegates can move around easily. We also ensure regular seating is available, even in corridors, for those for whom walking is a challenge and provide seating at different heights to suit different levels of mobility. 

If you have any additional ideas about how we can make either the WMS or our Congresses more accessible, please contact us using the feedback page on our website

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