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Key points

  • Is relevant to everyone and to all forms of communication
  • Should be adopted at individual, organisational and population level
  • Reduces inequality and social isolation
  • Meets human rights, legal, policy and requirements

What is inclusive communication?

Inclusive communication is an approach to communication which enables as many people as possible to be included in that interaction.

This approach:

  • Recognises that all human beings use many ways of understanding and expressing themselves.
  • Encourages, supports and enables people to use whatever ways of understanding and expressing themselves which they find easiest.

It does not relate only to a specific activity for a particular group. It is an overarching approach which is relevant to:

  • Everyone and in all situations, not just people with communication support needs.
  • All communication at individual, organisation and population levels.
  • All modes of communication – face-to-face, telephone, written, online.

Related pages

Why adopt inclusive communication?

There are human rights, legal, economic and policy reasons for adopting this approach. For more information go to: Inclusive communication and the role of speech and language therapy - RCSLT position paper

It is vital to equality of access to services, person-centered care and increased participation and social interaction.

"It lifted my spirits having a full conversation with someone who took the time to listen and wait on me preparing my questions on the iPad.” Through a different door: mystery shopping of health service in Scotland.

Specialists in inclusive communication - Speech and language therapists

SLTs are specialists in identifying and working with individuals with communication difficulties, enabling those individuals to communicate effectively and advising and supporting others to do the same.

With this expert knowledge, they are key players in promoting communication inclusion, both at an individual level and at wider organisational or population levels.

Speech and language therapist have a leadership role to play in supporting the implementation of inclusive communication through increasing the awareness, skills and knowledge of others in the public, private and third sectors.

This can be done through training, and the involvement of speech and language therapists in discussions of policy and organisational development.

Resources

RCSLT Inclusive communication position paper 2016

RCSLT Five Good Communication Standards 2013

Read the RCSLT’s Derek Munn’s article 'An inclusive communication nation' (published in the Bulletin, May 2017)

Talk for Scotland toolkit is a practical online resource published in 2008 for decision-makers and service-providers. It offers key advice and practical resources on how to engage with people who have a variety of communication support needs.

Videos:

For more videos visit the RCSLT YouTube channel