The communication access symbol is the final piece in the access puzzle. Whilst most people are familiar with vision, hearing or mobility access, communication access is a relatively new term within our community.
It’s difficult to imagine a world without wheelchair ramps, elevators or ACROD parking bays. This shows that the importance of planning for mobility access is commonly accepted within our community. Communication difficulties may sometimes be hard to recognise but ensuring our community is communication accessible is just as important. Speech Pathology Australia estimates 1.1 million Australians have a communication disability – and that, over the course of their life, one in seven Australians will experience a communication difficulty.
Communication access is about creating a world where people with complex communication needs can communicate successfully with everyone, a world where everyone can get their message across.
People with complex communication needs may communicate using a variety of methods including electronic speech devices, word-based or symbol-based communication boards or books, sign and gesture, spelling, and/or speech. Communication is a two way street which means we can all play a part in facilitating communication access. This could be as simple as allowing time for someone to respond, checking you’ve understood them correctly or using writing, gestures or symbols to help get your message across.
To make services at the Independent Living Centre WA more communication accessible our speech pathology team has created a communication resource kit. Key staff based at our Nedlands site have also attended a training session with our speech pathology team on how to use this kit and other strategies to support people with complex communication needs.
What does this communication kit contain?
- Symbol-based communication board on the range of services accessible at our Nedlands site
- Symbol-based communication board on the range of assistive technology (AT) options
- Spelling board with letters arranged in a QWERTY format
- Tip sheet for facilitating communication with people who have complex communication needs
Who are these communication boards for? These boards can be used with anyone who has difficulties using speech and/or understanding what someone is saying. They can be used with people who can read and spell or people who have literacy difficulties.
Where can I access them? These communication resources are available for use at our Nedlands and Cockburn sites. They can also be downloaded and printed from our website here.
These communication resources are already receiving positive feedback from ILC clients with one mother stating it was “extremely heart-warming as a mother to go to an organisation and see such resources to support people with disabilities” like her son to participate.
One of the aims of ILC’s speech pathology services is to build greater awareness and understanding of complex communication needs as well as the communication aids and strategies that can support effective communication.
ILC has a wide range of assistive technology options for communication on display and can provide information and advice about suitable options as well as offering assessment, training, therapy support and equipment available for hire. Follow this link for information about our technology and communication services.
Would you or someone you know benefit from finding out more about these communication options? You can contact one of our speech pathologists when you call us on 9381 0600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s all work towards communication access for all!