Accessible written information for people with intellectual disability

Scope has co-authored a Research to Action Guide published by National Disability Services.

Providing information that is accessible to people with disability is important as it enables people to be informed and in turn to exercise choice and control in all aspects of their lives. Often though, information is provided to people with intellectual disability in ways that they can’t use because it is difficult to understand.

Scope, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Melbourne, The University of Sydney and Western University Sydney, conducted research to determine the key factors that need to be included in guidelines for written accessible information for people with intellectual disability. The researchers focused specifically on Easy English (sometimes also called easy read), and how a document needs to be prepared for it to be accessible. They also reviewed the research to determine if there was evidence to support the recommendations about how documents should be prepared.

The research was funded by a seeding grant from the University of Melbourne. The researchers also received funding from NDS’s Centre for Applied Disability Research to write a Research to Action Guide (Good Practice Summary) and a Rapid Review of the evidence. The Research to Action Guide provides information about how to create accessible written information for people with intellectual disability. The Rapid Review provides an overview of the research about accessible written information.

In addition to these publications, the researchers published an article in Pursuit, a University of Melbourne publication, and Caroline Livanos, Rebecca Gallo (Scope), and Julie Anderson (University of Melbourne) gave a presentation ‘Applying Evidence to Writing Accessible Information’ at the National Disability Practitioners ‘Working with the NDIS’ virtual conference on 27 June.

Where to from here?

The researchers are now seeking funding to test whether preparing a document using the recommendations identified in the literature makes information more understandable for people with intellectual disability.