#AskForChange: Jacob’s rallying cry for businesses to be accessible

Meet Jacob, 22-year-old student, mentor, and advocate.

He’s studying and hopes to start a business. Jacob loves the footy (he barracks for St Kilda) and has a black belt in free form martial arts. At home, he loves nothing more than playing with his niece and nephew.

Jacob has cerebral palsy, which affects his mobility and impacts his speech. And as he says, “It does not affect my understanding and is only one part of who I am.”

Getting this message across is extremely important to Jacob, especially with the treatment he recently received in a tech store.

“Imagine that you are an adult with a tertiary qualification. But, when you step into a shop, people speak down to you as though you’re a child. To help paint a picture of what this can be like for those of us living with a communication disability, I would like to share a story with you,” Jacob says.

‘I felt angry and completely powerless’

When he screamed out of frustration, the sales assistant called security.

It’s time to ask businesses and services to change

Now imagine a different outcome. If that staff member had the knowledge and skills to really hear Jacob’s voice, they could have helped him get his new tablet without humiliating him. If that staff member had the confidence to try and speak to Jacob, he would have received the customer service he deserved.

For Jacob – and indeed the 1 in 7 Australians who will have a communication disability at some point in their lives – this can be life-changing.

It’s why Jacob is passionate about getting businesses to change. He knows that better communication is possible with a little time and some basic skills. Jacob is on board with the #AskForChange initiative and he’s challenging businesses to become communication accessible.

You can show your support, too. You can sign our online pledge and #AskForChange – calling on Australian businesses large and small to achieve Scope’s Communication Access accreditation.

Sign the pledge now