Communication Access UK

Two faces looking at one another with arrows forming a cyclical flowInclusive communication for all

Communication disability affects millions of people. Up to 14 million people in the UK (20% of the population) will experience communication difficulty at some point in their lives, with more than 10% of children having a long-term communication need.

Communication Access UK is a partnership between charities and organisations that share a vision to improve the lives of people living with communication disabilities. It includes the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Communication Matters, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Stroke Association, Headway – the brain injury association, Disability Rights UK, the Business Disability Forum and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.

Together, we are working to give a voice to people living with a communication disability. By raising awareness, providing training, and through the introduction of a new communication access symbol, we hope to increase confidence and independence in those living with communication difficulties.

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 or ask for help, while others may have speech difficulties that make them difficult to understand. 

Others may have problems processing information and difficulties with reading and writing. Some may use communication devices and require time to create their message.

Communication disabilities leave millions without a voice, denying them equality of access and opportunity.

A symbol for equality

The wheelchair symbol is widely recognised across the world. Similarly, there are symbols for hearing and vision difficulties that denote support is available.

We believe that people living with communication difficulties also deserve help and support as they go about their daily lives.

A new communication access symbol has now been developed to identify businesses and organisations whose staff have undergone training to help them to better support the needs of people with communication difficulties.

An accessible training programme, based on a set of standards, has been designed and is currently being trialled by a number of early adopters. Feedback from these organisations, and people living with communication disabilities, will help to shape the wider roll-out and public launch of the scheme in late 2019.

How to get involved

If you would like to register interest in your business or organisation becoming an early adopter, or if you would simply like more information about the project, please send an email to info@communication-access.co.uk

You can also download the early adopters prospectus here.

The partnership

The Communication Access UK steering group is chaired by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and comprises the RCSLT and the following charities and organisations:

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