People with learning disabilities driving social change

For a while at CHANGE we have been mindful of the fact that people with learning disabilities are in danger of becoming more isolated when they have their own easy read information that is produced just for them. It is also sometimes the case that if professionals think that the information will only be used by people with learning disabilities the standard of the easy read can be very low.

We also know that easy read information isn’t just something for people with learning disabilities. Over 60% of people struggle with literacy and are from marginalized communities.  Many people from these communities don’t have access to any easy read information.

At CHANGE, like other organisations, we are passionate about inclusion but we are aware of the dangers of the learning disability sector becoming too inward looking.

If the easy read information we are creating is only relevant for people with learning disabilities and not the wider community of people with low literacy skills, is this as inclusive as we’d like it to be. Or is a more inclusive approach one that creates easy read that is co developed with people from all marginalized communities that includes those with low literacy skills.

I am interested in the connections and commonalities between marginalized communities. What do people share across communities and what are the shared barriers and solutions to inclusion and empowerment.

When people have the opportunity to share their feelings of the shame, frustration and embarrassment of not being able to read, new possibilities emerge of deeper more authentic connections across communities. This is where the magic happens, stories are shared, new understandings and relationships happen and new ways forward start to appear.

Recognizing the wider issues marginalized communities face around lack of access to information, creating easy read information is an opportunity to address inclusion more broadly.

CHANGE and NHS Business Services Authority are working together to use the expertise of people with learning disabilities to benefit the wider community. People with learning disabilities from CHANGE have the knowledge of how to create high quality easy read information and they can use their knowledge and expertise to work with and support people from other marginalized communities.

As part of our work with NHS Business Services Authority, we are working in partnership with organisations and people from different communities exploring what we have in common and how we can work together. We are sharing our experiences and our ideas on developing high quality easy read information that is accessible for all.

Ii is here that people with learning disabilities , who are passionate about equality and inclusion, can take the lead  and the opportunity to be the drivers of  social change for other marginalized groups as well as their own.