New universal symbol for communication access

The Communication Access symbol is good thinking. Disability services organisation, Scope led the development of the new Communication Access symbol (see right) which lets you recognise businesses and facilities providing access for people with a disability.

You get the right to display the Communication Access symbol by completing a Communication Accessibility Assessment and by being ready to work with people with communication disabilities.

I believe the symbol is an important aid to communication for two reasons: one is practical (for people with a communication disability) and another is ethical(for everybody).

The practical reason is simple. Businesses and services connect quickly and easily with people with special communication needs. It saves time, energy and money. It builds trust. It also sets the standard and, let’s assume for the moment, best practice for public interaction and support for disabled communicators.

(I’m looking forward to more detail on how it will be applied to web communications.)

Everybody’s problem

The ethical reason is an issue for us all. Stated simply:

Unless we understand each other, and understand each other as comprehensible, we won’t treat each other with the proper respect.

We’ll only solve our communication problems if we see them as human problems in the context of a particular situation – disability.

We can’t solve these problems if we see them as merely “disability problems”; they come about when we see “them” (disabled communicators) as being somehow unlike “us” (able communicators). It’s sloppy thinking and it’s not good enough.

The Communication Access symbol is one step in addressing everybody’s communication problems.