“Inclusive Consultation and Communication with People with a Disability” A critique

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The main aim of writing this article was to objectively analyze the guide “Inclusive Consultation and Communication with Persons with Disabilities” in order to assess its viability by adding specific information to the topic under consideration. The guide was analyzed on the basis of its usefulness and reader-centeredness. During the review, various articles and books on style and writing manuals have been consulted. The findings revealed that the guide met the standards of reader-centredness and success in conveying knowledge to the target audience. However, some errors were made in the papers and the ratification required to improve their usability. Such mistakes include grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and lack of pictures or diagrams to emphasise on the content of the guide. It was concluded that the guide is usable and reader-centred. However, it needs to be proof-read to eliminate several mistakes such as punctuation, and grammatical errors. Moreover, it needs more colours perhaps on the headings and pictures or diagrams to illustrate the texts.

Contents

1Introduction1

2Critical analysis1

2.1 Meta issues1

2.1.1 Marginalisation of people living with a disability2

2.1.1.1 Equal participation2

2.1.1.2 Communication with respect2

2.1.2 Right to Inclusion and Involvement in development projects2

2.1.2.1 Involvement during planning state3

2.1.2.2 Involvement at the promotion stage3

2.1.2.1 Involvement through invitation3

2.2 Macro issues4

2.1.1 Genre4

2.1.2 Structure4

2.1.3 Use of fonts and formatting5

2.3 Micro issues5

2.3.1 Grammar5

2.3.2 Punctuation6

3Conclusion6

4Recommendations6

References8

Appendix A: Redrafted document9

1. Introduction

With the increasing call for equality, integration, and awareness of diversity in the current era, governments and institutions are obliged to establish and adopt appropriate ways of communicating with people living with disabilities. This report critically analyses the viability of the methods of inclusive consultation and communication with people living with a disability as proposed in the guide for Victorian Government Departments and Agencies.

Despite the Victorian government putting in place several laws to promote equal rights and opportunities in the country, individuals living with disabilities are still grappling with inequalities regarding the provision of information and communication. The primary audience of this article is government and non-government organisations. The guide aims at making their written information more accessible to individuals living with a disability and ensuring that the organisations actively involve the people living with a disability in the planning, delivery, monitoring and development of services.

Implementation of an inclusive consultation and developing better communication does not necessarily imply that the organisations have to bear extra costs. Instead, it only requires them to improve their communication strategies by coming up with better ways of communicating with the people in question in a manner that takes their needs into account. The method of approach entails identifying the proposed improvements and analysing them on the grounds of their applicability.

2. Critical analysis

The following is an analysis of the guide “Inclusive Consultation and Communication with People with a Disability” on three levels, namely meta, macro, and micro.

2.1 Meta-issues

According to Atkinson et al. (2014, p. 53), meta-issues cover a broader spectrum in a document including the underlying issues that are not brought out in the text. In the case of this guide, the meta-issues include the marginalisation of people living with a disability in society and the individuals’ right to inclusion and involvement in development projects.

2.1.1 Marginalisation of people living with a disability

Both government and non-government organisation need to consider the needs and opinions of people living with a disability while establishing any initiative in the society. This issue is the central theme of the guide.

2.1.1.1 Equal participation

This theme is derived from the emphasis that the originations need to establish proper means of communication with the disabled people to ensure that the latter participate in the societal activities equally to others.

2.1.1.2 Communication with respect

The article further states that individuals should be respectful while communicating with the people living with disabilities. This is an appropriate guide for the audience. Besides, it provides guidelines on how to maintain respect while communicating to the people living with a disability.

2.1.2 Right to inclusion and involvement in development projects

Everyone, including individuals living with a disability, is entitled to the right to participate in public activities in a democratic society. The guide proves useful by highlighting that individuals with a disability have the same impact and can contribute as much as any other person in the community. It indicates levels in which the individuals with a disability could be involved in a development effort. These include planning, promoting, and invitation.

2.1.2.1 Involvement during planning state

According to the guide, one needs to be creative and flexible while engaging people living with disabilities at the planning stage. Moreover, the organisations may need to consider various factors such as remembering the needs of every individual in the society and consulting widely among other factors. Kerzner affirms that inclusion at the planning stage increases the likelihood of a project’s success (2013, p 12). Therefore, one may argue that this proposal is appropriate. It is because, by involving the people with disabilities from the onset of the projects, they can understand what it is about and have a sense of ownership of the same.

2.1.2.2 Involvement at the promotion stage

The guide has listed some of the factors to consider while promoting an initiative in as far as inclusion of persons with disabilities is concerned. These include choosing a suitable time, using appropriate networks to promote the initiative, and giving people time to prepare for the meeting. One may argue that all these factors are relevant and important to consider and that they are critical in ensuring inclusivity of persons with a disability in a project. Kerzner also outlines that one needs to make sure that all members of the society are well-informed about the development projects (2013, p. 13). The best way of achieving this is by using the media that is accessible to all people.

2.1.2.3 Involvement through invitation

Organisations should involve people with disabilities in the invitations process to ensure their participation. The guide outlines various factors that the organisations need to consider while sending out invitations to people with disabilities. The factors are undoubtedly appropriate to ensure attendance of the individuals in question. However, it would be more useful to pay attention to other factors, such as transporting the people to and from the venue as well as using other means to collect their inputs so that they do not have to attend the meetings. De Freitas et al. (2015, p. 34) suggest that one needs to adopt current trends of communication to maximise the number of individuals who attend and participate in a project.

2.2 Macro-issues

2.2.1 Genre

Scholars categorise the guide under the genre of a handbook. It aims at enlightening the various departments and agencies within the Victorian government on how to ensure inclusivity and consultation while communicating with people living with a disability.

2.2.2 Structure

It is in the form of a presentation which begins by introducing the basic information about communication and the concept of invalidity. It goes ahead to provide information on the factors to consider while conducting a consultation with people living with a disability. The text begins by introducing the topic “What is a disability?” It intends to enlighten the audience on the various forms of disabilities that individuals suffer from in the Georgian society so that they are aware of how to meet each of their needs as far as communication is concerned. This information is well-articulated. One can easily understand the meaning of the various categories of disabilities as outlined in this section. Hibbard and Sofaer (2010, p. 5) argue that one of the effective ways of presenting ideas is putting them in bullet form and using colours, symbols, and simple words. From this perspective, one would argue that the manner in which the texts are presented in bullet form makes it more user-friendly.

However, the subject is not explored at length such that one would not know such important information as what causes the various forms of disabilities from which individuals suffer. The information about the different types of disabilities is laid out in bullet form with each category being bolded and followed by a brief outline of the same. After introducing the various kinds of disabilities, the texts proceeds to discuss the other topics, namely face-to-face communication, consultation, written communication, Koori people who have a disability, and, finally, people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background who have a disability. This structure certainly makes it possible for the audience to acquire the intended information. However, it could be done better by using graphic presentation and diagrams.

2.2.3 Use of fonts and formatting

The text is left-aligned and in CorporateSBQ-Light font of 14 pts. This font size is arguably eligible by most readers, as the letters are not too tiny or too large. However, most readers may not find it comfortable reading the text in a CorporateSBQ-Light font. For that reason, one may improve the guide by using a more suitable font, preferably Times New Roman. According to Sanocki and Dyson, a majority of readers would prefer fonts with upright designs while looking for valuable information in an article. (2012, p. 132). The headings and subheadings are also written in CorporateSBQ-Light font and highlighted in bold. This style makes it quite noticeable and easy for the audience to read. However, just like the rest of the texts, it could be done better by using Times New Roman font. Moreover, since they are the basis on which further information is outlined, it would be better if the font was increased and highlighted in colours different from the rest of the text.

2.3 Micro-issues

Micro-issues entail such aspects as grammar, punctuation, choice of words, and correct spelling in an article or book. This applies to all items and books regardless of the genre or the audience.

2.3.1 Grammar

According to Leech and Svartvik (2013, p. 3), one needs to pay keen attention to the use of grammar while writing either to a specific audience or to casual readers because this determines their understanding of the message. The guide has a lot of grammatical mistakes that include repetitive words such as persons, inequalities, abilities among others. Besides, there are a few unclear antecedents which make the sentences vague and hinders from properly understanding the text. Such mistakes are, for example, in the phrase “this will ensure that the person who is blind or who has a vision.” A better way of writing this sentence would be mentioning what is being referred to so that the reader does not have to guess.

2.3.2 Punctuation

Punctuation marks are a critical component of any written sentence, as it affects the interpretation of the readers (Peck and Coyle 2012, p. 12). One may argue that the guide is well-punctuated. However, it lacks commas in a few places such as in the sentence; …gestures, visual cues and facial. In this sentence and others similar to it, a comma that is referred to as the Oxford comma, is missing after the word “cues”. Such and other punctuation errors are evident within the guide. However, one may avoid this by proofreading the guide, preferably by different individuals.

3. Conclusion

The guide “Inclusive Consultation and Communication with People with a Disability” is usable and meets the requirements of a guide. Readers may find it effective, as it provides the necessary information. Besides, it is reader-centred because it focuses specifically on the subjects that the audiences are concerned with. Moreover, the language used is simple and easy to understand. However, it has a few minor issues that need correction to make it more effective.

4. Recommendations

Consider using a different font that is more user-friendly to the readers, preferably Times New Roman.

• Avoid tautology and choose alternatives to replace such words.

• Use pictures and diagram to illustrate points to enhance readers’ understanding of the content.

• Avoid unclear antecedents, as they may confuse the users.

• Pay keen attention to punctuation, since it affects the readers’ understanding of the information.

References

Atkinson, C., Gerbig, R., and Kühne, T. (2014, September). Comparing multi-level modeling approaches. In [email protected] MoDELS (pp. 53-61).

de Freitas, C., and Graham M. (2015). Inclusive public participation in health: policy, practice and theoretical contributions to promote the involvement of marginalised groups in healthcare. Social Science & Medicine, 135, 31-39.

Hibbard, J. and Sofaer, S. (2010). Best practices in public reporting no. 1: how to effectively present health care performance data to consumers. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Kerzner, H. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Leech, G., and Svartvik, J. (2013). A communicative grammar of English. Routledge.

Peck, J., and Coyle, M. (2012). The student’s guide to writing: spelling, punctuation and grammar. Palgrave Macmillan.

Sanocki, T., and Dyson, M.C. (2012). Letter processing and font information during reading: beyond distinctiveness, where vision meets design. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 74(1): 132-145.

Appendix A – Redrafted Document

Inclusive and Consultative Communication with People Living with a Disability

This document is meant to guide both government and non-government institution on how to include and consult individuals living with a disability in their communication. The organisations ought to adhere to the following factors to achieve inclusivity:

Ensure that everyone in the society participates in the equally in the societal activities.

Communicate with respect while interacting with the people living with a disability.

Involve the individuals in question in every stage or level of a development project.

Use the appropriate communication strategies that are suitable individuals suffering from any type of disability.

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