Communication as is an interactive, two-way process that includes both understanding and being understood. Communication involves a range of communication methods in face-to-face interactions, over the telephone, online and via reading and writing. Communication methods include speech, gestures, body language, writing, drawing, pictures, symbol and letter boards, speech-generating devices, as well as human services such as ASL/LSQ/ISL interpreting, captioning in real time, informal and formal communication assistance.
Communication occurs in all service entities and employment situations.
Communication access refers to policies and practices within service entities to ensure that people understand what is said or written and can communicate what they want to convey in face-to-face and telephone interactions, teleconferencing, online learning, meetings, conferences, public consultations, reading (print, websites and digital), and writing (forms, signatures, surveys and notetaking).
Communication access occurs when people can:
- understand what is said
- have their messages understood by others
- use their preferred methods of communication, such as speech; gestures; body language; writing; pictures, symbols, letters; sign language, selecting items on a communication device and/or having someone they trust assist with communication.
- get the time and opportunity to communicate
- get written information in ways they read and understand
- sign documents, take notes and complete forms in ways that are accessible to them
- use an organization’s website and social media
- connect with an organization via telephone or other more accessible ways
People who have disabilities that affect their communication may require communication supports in:
- Face-to-face interactions
- Telephone communication
- Group communications such as meetings, conferences and public consultations
- Online events
Communication access includes:
- Things that service providers can do when interacting with a person who has a communication disability
- Use of appropriate communication tools to support understanding and/or expression
- Access to an authorized, trusted person who can assist with communication and/or a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist or Augmentative Communication Clinician.