Supporting People with Communication Needs: Embedding Inclusive Communication in Your Practice

This event will consider the principles of inclusive communication and the practical actions required to ensure that people with communication support needs are effectively supported by services and included in society. 

Meeting Scotland’s communications needs

Having a communication difficulty can result in individuals being misunderstood and experiencing exclusion from events, activities and relationships. This can lead to a range of problems including increased vulnerability to abuse and hate crime, low mood, anxiety and depression, reduced employment and housing opportunities and a lower standard of care.

It is estimated that over a million people in Scotland have some form of communication support need. Inclusive communication means sharing information in a way that everybody can understand. It can save both time and resources for service providers and the people who use these services, as well as improve outcomes for both people with communication support needs and the wider community. 

Key issues we’ll examine with you

  • Inclusive communication: what is it and why does it matter?
  • Taking a personalised, multisensory approach to communication
  • Assessing how well we are meeting people’s communication needs
  • Communication between partners: working together to give people a say
  • Enabling participation: consultation, environment, education and technology

Who should attend

This event is for anyone working with those with communication needs or developing inclusive spaces where those with communication needs can have their say in issues that affect them, such as speech and language therapists, access and inclusion workers, social workers, teachers, carers and healthcare professionals amongst others.



09:15 Registration and refreshments

10:00 Opening remarks from the chair

Morag Alexander OBE, Chair, ELCAP; Co-Chair, Scottish Commission on Older Women; Former Convener, SSSC; Former Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission; Former Director, Equal Opportunities Commission

Session 1: The Communication Challenge

In this opening session we will reflect on the lived experiences of those with communication needs and what we can do to help them overcome the barriers they face and empower them to be engaged in society.​

10:05 What is Inclusive Communication, Why Does It Matter and How Communication Inclusive is Scotland?

  • Inclusive Communication at level of the individual and the community and real world indicators of good practice
  • Legislative, policy, economic and social benefits of inclusive communication practice
  • How far has Scotland got in creating a communication inclusive world

Kim Hartley Kean, Head, Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists Scotland

10:25 Partners in communication

Dr Paul Hart, Head of Research and Practice, Sense Scotland

10:45 The inclusive communication hub

Morven Brooks, Chief Executive Officer, Disability Equality Scotland

11:05 Questions and discussion

11:20 Refreshments and networking

Session 2: Interactive session: getting your practice right for people with communication support needs

11:40 Interactive session 

In this session you will:

  • Learn about the links between inclusive communication, the Equality Act 2010 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People.
  • Discover the barriers and enablers for people with communication support needs engaging with your services through interactive exercises and individual examples
  • Explore creative and affordable approaches which will make your service more accessible and help you meet your statutory duties

Dr Paul Hart, Head of Research and Practice, Sense Scotland

Tina Yu, Policy Officer, Sense Scotland

Jackie Reid, Sense Scotland

Dawn Fraser, Sense Scotland

The session will be co-faciliated by Gillian Suttie, Brian Adam and Craig Pope who will share their experiences of living with communication support needs.

13:00 Lunch and networking

Session 3: Enabling Participation Through Communication Support

In this final session we will share good practice examples where individuals have been empowered through inclusive communication to be an active part of Scottish Society.

13:45 Accessible Hospitals For People With Communication Needs

  • Description of hospital passport use in mainstream hospital
  • The success of passport implementation
  • Continuing promotion of shared information within mainstream hospitals

Jake Cowan, Assistant Manager, Learning Disability Service, Borders General Hospital

Alan Lawson, Learning Disability Liaison Nurse, Borders General Hospital

14:05 Creating inclusive public spaces

Aneela McKenna. Equalities Manager. The Scottish Parliament

14:25 Creating communication friendly learning environments for young people

  • The benefits and key features of a Communication Friendly Environment
  • Implementing a Communication Friendly Environment within your setting

Gillian McNeill, Specialist Speech & Language Therapist, CALL Scotland (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning)

14:45 More than pictures

  • Why inclusive communication involves far more than just adding pictures
  • The  impact of the Talking Mats visual framework that grew from research at the University of Stirling  
  • Why other people are looking to Scotland to provide leadership in this field 

Lois Cameron, Co-director, Talking Mats 

15:05 Questions and discussion

15:25 Closing remarks from the chair

15:30 Close of event

*Subject to change


Novotel, 80 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9DE | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

26 June 2018
United Kingdom



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