Accessible information isn’t easy: shifting practice and production perspectives of information accessibility

Melody M. Terras*, Dominic Jarrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

If self-determination, inclusion and participation are to become a reality for individuals with intellectual disabilities then accessible information must be provided to support them. However, current policy and practice concerning information provision have become stagnated and developmental progress is lacking due to a narrow focus of the perception and definition of the nature and format of accessible information.
Easy Read information is frequently viewed as the most appropriate and thereby the preferred format. However, a rapidly developing empirical evidence base indicates that the perceived high face validity and reliability of Easy Read information is unfounded, with emerging evidence indicating that many of the aspects of Easy Read assumed to support accessibility such as the use pictures and simplified text may actually make the comprehension of the information more difficult, and thereby undermine the aim of accessibility. Therefore, in this article we recognise the difficulties associated with the production of accessible information; and offer a critical discussion and reflection of the current evidence base concerning Easy Read and accessible information, and consider how it may developed in the future by recognition of the wide scope of accessible
information; increased multidisciplinary working; more meaningful participation of individuals with intellectual disabilities; and increased recognition of the cognitive load involved in comprehending information resources, to best support the health and wellbeing of individuals with intellectuals disabilities in the post Covid-19 environment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalGlobal Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilites
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • intellectual disabilities
  • accessible information
  • inclusion
  • easy read
  • comprehension
  • psychology
  • multidisciplinary working
  • evidence-based practice

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