Communication Access Symbol UK Project































The story so far….

Over the last year, a consortium of national organisations in the UK, including Communication Matters, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Stroke Association, have been working to develop a symbol for communication access, akin to the wheelchair, hearing and visual impairment symbols. 


The facts

Communication disability in the UK affects millions of people. With up to 20% of the UK’s population experiencing communication difficulty at some point in their lives and up to 10% of all children starting school having some form of language disorder.


The impact of communication disability

Communication is not simply about the ability to speak but also the ability to hear and understand what is said to us. This lies at the very core of human dignity. The impact of communication difficulties and disabilities is varied; some people may find it hard to ask a question, name an object they seek or ask for help, while others may have speech difficulties that make them difficult to understand. Some may use communication devices requiring time to create their message. Others may have difficulty understanding what is said to them and problems with processing information.

Communication disabilities leave millions without a voice, denying them the opportunity to have equal access to forming connections and opportunities to learn and progress.


A symbol for equality of communication access

The wheelchair symbol is one of the top 10 most recognised symbols in the world. The symbols for hearing and vision are also well known. Yet there is no universal symbol for communication access in the UK. We aim to have a symbol in the UK for communication access with underpinning standards which will become as widely recognised as these symbols.






Following an extensive consultation process, we aim to launch a nationally recognised symbol to represent Communication Access. If an organisation displays this symbol it will show they are meeting defined standards and that people with a communication difficulty are welcome and will be treated with dignity and respect.

We held a consultation in early 2017, the results of which allowed us to identify two concepts upon which the symbol would be designed as well as a number of standards that would underpin the symbol.

We have now initiated another consultation, designed as a streamlined survey, to refine a specific concept and standards upon which we would develop the symbol, with the aim of engaging as many service users as possible, as well as family members and professionals.

We would encourage participation in the consultation by all members and request that members also assist in facilitating responses from as many service users as possible.

A request to members from Kamini Gadhok MBE, CEO of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

The survey can be accessed through the following link:

Download the hard copy of the survey

For further information please contact Naj Hussain (  or Catherine Harris (




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Norbury, Courtenay Frazier, Debbie Gooch, Charlotte Wray, Gillian Baird, Tony Charman, Emily Simonoff, George Vamvakas, and Andrew Pickles. "The impact of nonverbal ability on prevalence and clinical presentation of language disorder: evidence from a population study." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 57, no. 11 (2016): 1247-1257.

Enderby, Pam, Simon Judge, Sarah Creer, and Alexandra John. "Examining the need for, and provison of, AAC in the United Kingdom." (2013): 1-168. 



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