We’ve been awarded the Communication Access Symbol
17 May 2022
We’re proud to announce that Ability Consultants has been awarded the Communication Access Symbol.
At Ability Consultants, making Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) accessible is vitally important to us. Gaining accreditation to use this symbol is one way we can make PBS accessible to more people who need support. Being awarded the use of the symbol is a reflection of our passion for helping people to experience freedom and social connection.
What is the Communication Access Symbol?
Here is the Communication Access Symbol. You can see it in our website footer and in our email signatures. When you see this symbol, it means the organisation will do their best to communicate with you, and also that people in the organisation have had training to help them know how to engage meaningfully with people who experience significant communication difficulties.
The Communication Access Symbol recognises that:
- our team is welcoming towards all clients and stakeholders
- people with communication difficulties will be given time to get their message across
- important written information is available in different formats
- communication boards are available on request
- our phone service is communication friendly and our team is confident using the National Relay Service.
What is communication access?
Communication access is about making sure everyone can communicate their message.
Not all communication methods are suitable for every person — for example, if a person is deaf or hard of hearing, they may not be able to hear the audio in a video, but if we provide captions, subtitles or a transcript, we are providing better communication access.
For more information, including an easy-read version, please see our article What is communication access?.
How did we gain accreditation to use the Communication Access Symbol?
We applied for accreditation through Scope. Scope is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit disability service providers. They provide a number of services including communication support to help people and organisations — for example they help develop communication aids and provide resources about Key Word Sign.
Our team takes part in communication access training, with courses including:
- See the Person - Disability Awareness,
- Communication Access, and
- Easy English.
Scope’s accreditation process
Until this year, the Communication Access Symbol was primarily used in Victoria and administered by Scope. Northcott partnered with Scope to provide training and resources about the symbol in New South Wales.
Following our initial round of training, our team took part in a number of assessments with Northcott, including four face-to-face role plays, four phone calls and four phone calls with the National Relay Service.
Some feedback from the assessors about our staff include:
“He was very respectful. He would write down the question he wanted to ask and wait until I finished typing before asking. He never interrupted.”
“She used yes/no and open questions really well and tried to choose her questions to make it easier for me to answer.”
“He often checked he understood by repeating and rephrasing and made sure I could see the communication book.”
Each year we complete Communication Access Self Review Checklists and we also take part in assessments with Scope/Northcott annually. Ongoing training opportunities are provided for all staff joining the Ability Consultants team.
Communication Access at the AGOSCI Conference
We look forward to learning and sharing more about our communication access journey at the 2022 AGOSCI Conference in Tasmania later this year. The AGOSCI Conference is an opportunity to learn more from industry experiences and evidence-based practice. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share some of our key takeaways with the AGOSCI community.
It’s important to us that we can communicate effectively and respectfully with our clients and their support teams. If you have positive or negative feedback about our communication, please get in touch by phoning 1300 694 625 or sending us an email.
For more information about the Communication Access Symbol, please visit our webpage about Accessible Communication.