AB4D members are currently looking at the topic of 'accessible information' and will report to the Forum about their findings. Before this we want to take a deeper look at the topic.
What is Accessible Information?
In 2016 the government introduced the Accessible Information Standard. The standard aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand, and with support, so they can communicate easily with health and social care services; The Equality Act 2010 legally protects the rights of people with disabilities to have information made accessible to them.
With the help of Clacton AB4D members Brian and Tania, we will be looking at some of the areas that prove difficult for people with a disability and some of the ways that these difficulties can be improved.
'Jargon' is when professionals use words that they understand, but that lots of people who don't do the same job do not understand.
Tania said she finds it difficult when doctors talk to her about medication, but only use jargon-she will often leave the appointment confused about what she needs to do. Brian agreed, he stated that he relies on support when talking to professionals to help him work out what they are saying to him; often when he has to go to an appointment alone, he won't understood what has been said. Both members said they prefer to speak to people (face-to-face or on the phone) rather than receive written communication (letter/email), but they need simple language to be used-not jargon or other 'hard' words.
As well as jargon, people with disabilities struggle with written communication in other ways. Tania talked about letters with lots of information on the page and says they are 'too cluttered' which makes it confusing and hard to read. Brian said that he is 'put off' by long letters which means he might miss out on important information. Here are some ideas from disabilities charity Change about how to send out written information that's accessible:
Go through your text and pick out the important facts
Summarise what you want to say
Simplify complex information and explain it using examples from everyday life
Break information up into smaller chunks and maybe give them out separately
Leave out what is of little or no use to people
Easy Read Documents
Easy Read documents bring together simple statements and pictures/photos.