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Inclusive communications overview

Promoting and implementing inclusive communication

By adopting inclusive communication, a society shows how it values, respects and includes people with communication support needs. This approach recognises that people communicate in many different ways and the environment must support this.

RCSLT has identified promoting and supporting the implementation of inclusive communication as a priority area for action in the RCSLT strategic plan, 2015-2018, with a new position paper published in September 2016.

Our aim is to highlight:

  • what RCSLT means by inclusive communication and why its implementation is vital
  • professional, regulatory, legal and human rights reasons why you have a responsibility, wherever you work, to promote and support its implementation at individual, service and population levels
  • evidence and resources you can use in collaboration with others to make sure inclusive communication is put into practise.

View inclusive communication sections

Due to the structure of the current RCSLT website we are unable to make these webpages as accessible as the authors’ content suggests. The RCSLT is currently undertaking a major review of its website and this review will include addressing accessibility issues.

Other relevant section on RCSLT website

See also the RCSLT Policy Twitter handle @rcsltpolicy.

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:

IC logos 

Workforce

APPG on Speech and Language Difficulties meeting – July 2017

The work of No Wrong Door, North Yorkshire County Council’s model around ‘Rethinking care for adolescents’ was the theme of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Speech and Language Difficulties meeting on 12 July 2017.

The presentation about No Wrong Door was delivered by Janice Nicholson, No Wrong Door’s Group Manager, and Anne Elliott, the Professional Lead for Speech and Language Therapy at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

More information about No Wrong Door is accessible here and here.

The Department for Education has recently published an evaluation of No Wrong Door undertaken by Loughborough University.

Among key findings, the evaluation reports that the estimated cost savings associated with the work of the communication support workers (speech and language therapists) to carry out speech and language assessments and provide support to meet speech, language and communication needs is just over £300,000 per annum.

For more information, please contact us.

Publications

Factsheets

A series of factsheets about how speech and language therapy transforms lives in different settings and clinical areas.

SLT work settings

Speech and language therapists work in the following settings:

  • Education - mainstream and special schools - courtrooms, youth offending teams, prisons, young offenders' institutions.
  • Justice - courtrooms, youth offending teams, prisons, young offenders' institutions.
  • Health - community health centres, hospital wards, outpatient departments.
  • Children's centres
  • Day centres
  • Care and residential home
  • Clients' homes
  • Independently/in private practice

Speech and language therapists work with babies, children and adults:

Babies

  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties

Children

Adults

Communication or eating and swallowing problems following neurological impairments and degenerative conditions, including: