Supporting People with Complex Communication Needs to Negotiate Their Communication Access Rights

People who have communication disabilities have a legal right to equal access to all goods, services and opportunities within their communities. Their rights are protected by strong legislation that obligates businesses and organizations to accommodate an individual’s accessibility requirements when using their services. While some disability groups are benefiting from this legislation, many people with complex communication needs (CCN) experience inequitable access to services because their accessibility requirements are not well understood, inadequately represented and frequently omitted from guidelines that tell organizations about what they should do to be accessible to everyone.

In the absence of these guidelines, the onus for educating and negotiating accessibility often rests on the individual with CCN. Yet many people with CCN are not aware of their communication rights and they may lack the information, skills and tools to negotiate their accessibility requirements.

This presentation will provide an overview of the key elements in communication access and how these can be applied in different community sectors. The presentation will focus on what people with CCN can do to improve communication within the organizations they use. A range of resources will be shared to support them in learning about their rights, defining their accessibility needs as well as educating and negotiating their accessibility requirements.