1 in 5 of us in the UK will experience understanding and/or speaking difficulties in our lifetime, and significant barriers to the life we take for granted. (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists – RCSLT 2019)
Barriers to community inclusion, good health, social care and employment lead to isolation, loneliness, mental health needs and economic and health inequalities. It is hard for individuals to navigate this maze of linked issues. In addition, parents and carers worry about the lives their children will lead when they leave education. Families often fear for the lives their parents or siblings will lead if they need external care. Include.org works creatively with people with communication needs to break down barriers and alleviate worries through awareness raising, training …and song!
In the Community: The Include Choir not only provides opportunities for social inclusion and improved well-being through singing, but also teaches inclusive communication skills, like Makaton signing and other evidence-based approaches, to build a more welcoming community. Lucia (aged 20) has cerebral palsy and learning disabilities; since joining the choir together, her mother, says 'I feel I can now step back and just be her friend, rather than her mother and carer.’
In Social Care: People with communication needs are often reliant on the social care workforce for support, but access to communication training for staff is limited. Lack of inclusive communication skills in the care environment leads to frustration, anxiety and even serious self-injury. Through the choir and our innovative communication programmes, we help care staff to value and use inclusive communication, and we see the difference it makes. Support worker, Danni said ‘I came away feeling as though I’d been given a glimpse into a better world – one where people with different communication needs are valued, respected, and able to find their voices.’
In Health Care: You may recently have seen the tragic news story of the death of 22-year-old Laura Coombs. The coroner ruled that her death could have been avoided if the hospital staff had had better communication skills and had understood and applied the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) - the law protecting the rights of people who find understanding or speaking difficult. Tragically, Laura’s is not an isolated story. On average, people with learning disabilities die between 16 and 27 years earlier than the general population. Communication support is always essential in diagnosis, treatment and care.
To break down this barrier to equal healthcare, we provide unique training in inclusive communication and the MCA for health and other professionals which, according to Court of Protection Barrister, Alex Ruck Keene, ‘conveys the principles of the Mental Capacity Act better than I’ve seen done in any professional training sessions.’
Everywhere Else All organisations benefit from more inclusive communication. We provide training and activities which not only empower our members and help businesses better support customers and potential employees – but are
Include is working to build a more welcoming world for people with understanding and speaking difficulties and our members say we are really succeeding. A survey of our members found that 95% said that being part of Include helps them feel much happier and make new friends, and 87.5% said that Include makes them more able to speak up for themselves.
Three Reasons to support us 1. We are expert and care passionately about our work 2. Because of COVID, the inequalities facing people with communication needs are greater than ever before 3. Include.org is a well-run and efficient charity – 83% of expenditure is directly spent on practical assistance.