Publication - Advice and guidance

NHS Scotland learning disability employment: tools and guidance - easy read version

Easy read version of tools and guidance to support NHS Scotland to increase the number of the people employed with learning disabilities.

NHS Scotland learning disability employment: tools and guidance - easy read version
2. Creating an Accessible Organisation

2. Creating an Accessible Organisation

A diverse group of NHS staff

Employing people with learning disabilities will help to create a more accessible organisation.

A woman wearing a name badge, looking thoughtfully at a board with ‘Organisation’ written on it

Thinking about hiring people with learning disabilities gives an organisation the chance to look at how the organisation is run.

A happy face and a thumbs up symbol

Organisations with a diverse workplace see positive effects in the whole organisation.

Reasonable Adjustments

A hand holding a document with ‘Equality Act 2010’ written on the cover

The Equality Act 2010 says that all employers have to make 'reasonable adjustments' if employers need them. This is to make sure that that all disabled workers, including people with learning disabilities, are not disadvantaged when doing their jobs.

A man in a wheelchair looking happy. Next to him there is a ramp leading up to a door

Reasonable adjustments might include equipment and changes to the place where the person works. They might also include changes to how work is done and the times worked.

A woman wearing a name badge looking thoughtful. There is a thought bubble coming out of her head with a question mark in it

It is very important not to think you know best about a person's ability to do a job.

A hand holding a sheet of paper with pictures of nine people on it. All of the people look different from each other

Everyone is different, which means that not everyone will need the same adjustments. Adjustments should be looked at regularly to make sure they are working properly.

Changing the way things are done

A woman wearing a name badge, looking thoughtfully at a board with ‘Organisation’ written on it

Changing the way things are done can make it more accessible for a disabled worker.

For example, changing the way training is given could make a real difference for an employee with a learning disability.

Outside Support

A man with a name badge talking on the phone. Below is a hand offering some money

Some employers think that employing people with a disability will cost a lot of money and need a lot of work when reasonable adjustments will need to be made. But there is a lot of support available to employers. The UK Government Access to Work scheme can help pay for reasonable adjustments.

Inclusive Communication

A man and woman wearing name badges, facing each other and talking. There is a speech bubble coming from both their mouths, with arrows showing that communication goes both ways

Everyone needs to communicate to take part in daily life, whether at home, school, work or going to a café. Some people face barriers in doing this because other people:

  • do not know how they communicate
  • do not know how best to support them.

A woman talking with a speech bubble. A man talking on the phone.  A hand holding a sheet of paper with words and pictures on it. A man looking at a web page on a computer

Inclusive communication includes spoken language, written language and all kinds of non-verbal communication. It can be face to face or by telephone, written information or online. Inclusive communication gives people equal access to the services and care they need, as well as taking part and enjoying social activities.

A woman wearing a name badge looking thoughtful. There is a thought bubble coming out of her head with a question mark in it

Organisations should think about how to support staff to communicate in ways which are more accessible and inclusive. This will support colleagues with learning disabilities.

A woman talking with a speech bubble coming out of her mouth. Under her there is a happy face and a thumbs up symbol

Some general tips when communicating either verbally or through written means include:

  • use plain English
  • do not use special words or 'jargon'
  • use clear, short sentences.

Face-to-face Communication

A woman wearing a name badge, pointing at herself and smiling

Here are some 'top tips' for good face-to-face communication with people with learning disabilities:

  • say who you are clearly - explain who you are and what you do
  • find a good place to talk, away from noise and distractions if possible
Two men in a room behind a closed door, sitting at a table and talking happily
  • speak clearly and maybe a little slower than usual, but do not shout
  • use your hands and face to support what you are saying

A man talking with a speech bubble coming from his mouth. He is also pointing with one hand and waving with the other

  • if necessary, repeat what you say, say it in a different way or use simpler words or phrases
  • check if the person has understood what you are saying - look at their face to see if they are confused, and ask if they have understood
A man looking confused
  • tell people it is OK to ask questions if they need to know more - ask if they would like anything in writing as a reminder or reference

A man holding his hand up and speaking. There is a speech bubble coming from his mouth, with a question mark in it

  • try different ways of getting your point across, for example writing things down, drawing or using symbols or objects to support your point.
A hand holding a piece of paper with words and symbols on it

Written and Printed Communication

A woman reading a booklet with an information sign on the cover. Next to her there is a happy face and a thumbs up symbol

It is important to make sure that written or printed communication is accessible. Some 'top tips' for accessible printed communication are:

  • do not use a font size smaller than 14 point
  • use a clear, simple font like Arial
A hand holding a sheet of paper with writing on it. There is not too much writing and it is well spaced
  • align text to the left margin and avoid 'justifying' text
  • make sure there is plenty of 'white space' on documents, especially between sections and avoid 'squashing' text onto a page; if possible, include a double-space between paragraphs
  • print on matt, not shiny, paper

A hand holding a sheet of paper with writing on it. There is not too much writing and it is well spaced

  • use page numbers
  • if printing double-sided make sure that the paper is thick enough so that text does not show through from the other side

A hand holding a sheet of paper with pictures and words on it

Think about making all letters and documents easier to read.

Many people with a learning disability will need written information in 'easy read' format. 'Easy read' refers to information which is written using simpler words and phrases, supported by images, symbols or photographs.

A man and a woman sitting at a table with lots of pieces of paper on it. The man is pointing to one of the pieces of paper

It is a good idea to involve people with learning disabilities in the development of easy read documents.

A man looking at a website on a computer, and smiling. Under him there is a happy face and a thumbs up symbol

Organisations should make sure that their internet sites are accessible.


Contact

Email: emma.weedon@gov.scot