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The purpose of this report was to carry an analysis of the Tips and Strategies to Promote Accessible Communication by the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health. The study focused on the content of the document and the impact on the reader-centeredness, usability, and persuasiveness. The problem could be attributed to the increased disability awareness causing many professionals to search for resources and ways to improve their interaction and communication with people with disabilities. To address the problem, the North Carolina Office of the Disability and Health came up with a guide to ease the communication and the relationship with each other. The method used was based on the easy and quick references to address the basics of communicating with people with disabilities. The document was limited in that it was designed for people who have more visible disabilities such as hearing, sight, speech, mobility, and cognitive limitations. The recommendations made were that the document should recognise other invisible disabilities such as mental illnesses. The report suggested universal best practices to apply in the communication process to enable the interaction with others, especially those with disabilities.
1. Introduction 1
2. Critical analysis 2
2.1. Meta issues 2
2.1.1. Inclusive language. 2
2.1.2 Patronising language. 3
2.2. Macro issues. 4
2.2.1. Information listing. 4
2.2.2. Sections and sub-sections. 5
2.2.3. Language. 5
2.3. Micro issues 6
2.3.1. Consistency. 6
2.3.2. Proofreading. 7
3. Conclusion 8
4. Recommendations 9
5. References 10
Appendix A – Removing the inconsistency in writing 12
Appendix B – Sections and sub-sections 13
This report examines the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health guide, Tips and Strategies to Promote Accessible Communication. The purpose of this document is to develop important insights that may assist people especially the professionals in communicating with persons with disabilities. The given guide focuses on creating the awareness on the peculiarities, outlining the communication aids as well as the alternative formats that can be used to facilitate interactions with individuals with impairments. Again, the paper supplies the role of the media relations in the issue (Business Disability Forum 2014, p.1). The report further considers the effectiveness of the guide by considering the meta, macro, and micro levels of the issues discussed in the document. The aforementioned three levels target a specific aspect of the file that is present in the report. The identification of the issues takes a consideration of disability awareness among the professionals in the workplace (State of New York Department of Health 2009, p.1). The recommendations formed in the report will focus on three concepts of reader-centeredness, usability, and persuasiveness.
2. Critical analysis
The report critically analyses the methods in which the document and the content are based on. The meta, macro, and micro levels of analysis will discuss if the guide fulfils the purpose of promoting accessible communication.
2.1. Meta issues
Meta issues relate to the content of the guide that focuses on the hidden agenda, social, and ideological position that helps promote accessible communication with people with impairment. Such concerns also cover the aspects underpinning the subject matter as well as disability communication (Kailes 2002). It considers the pathos associated with persuasion and values that appeal to the reader motivating them to take an action in addressing the problem.
2.1.1. Inclusive language
Using inclusive language is important when communicating disability awareness. The guide emphasises the use of ‘person first’ and not disability to describe the individual – for example, ‘people with disability’ and not ‘disabled people’. Besides, mentioning the impairment should only be relevant where it impacts communication (Katz 2014, p.26). The document also emphasises on the issue of the people with disabilities considering themselves as deaf and capitalising on the issue. Inclusive language will enable the affected feel a part of culturally diverse community (U.S. Department of Justice 2006, p.2).
The guide uses inclusive language which can be considered an area it has succeeded in the most. The document provides a glossary to guide people on the communication and names they should use to ensure inclusive language of the person first is promoted (Business Disability Forum 2014, p.2). The purpose of the report has been achieved by the provision of communication tips and strategies that the readers can read and relate to. Therefore, the document enhances reader-centeredness and achieves persuasion in convincing the people to employ an inclusive language when communicating disabilities.
The only place where the report contradicts the view is when it talks of asking the person what they prefer (Business Disability Forum 2014, p.2). It may not apply to some disabilities such as people with hearing impairment and could become a challenge. Even though it may not be the intention of the guide, the readers may interpret the message wrongly.
2.1.2 Patronising language
Speaking in a condescending manner may imply superiority to the orator. The speech and application of body language in this way may not be appropriate when dealing with people with disabilities. For example, using words such as impaired, challenged, or disabled may alienate them, and thus, this kind of the communication must be averted whatsoever the case (McCormick 2002, p.3). Speaking negatively to someone with disabilities is downgrading them and often disability awareness has focused on sensitising the public on the importance of avoiding condescending communications (Boardman, Bernal & Hollins 2014, p.29). The choice of language in the guide is perfect and emphasises the significance of using tips and strategies when dealing with impairments.
2.2. Macro issues
Macro issues are the considerations that are specific for the document in question. They are dependent on the design and language that is expected in the analysis. They are focused on the target audience (Centre for Persons with Disabilities 2009, p.7). Therefore, the report is intended for all people, specifically the professionals, who may interact and communicate to people with disabilities.
2.2.1. Information listing
Communicating issues in list format are important in summarising key points of a document. It is critical in highlighting the main points of a guide to avoid the reader missing important information when they are reading through a given text. Many people are using information listing to communicate their ideas fast and in a format that increases the reader’s accessibility and readability (Kailes 2002). The audience is likely to spend little time in identifying the main points the author wants to pass through. Therefore, the design of information listing has been embraced by many publishers to enhance reader-centeredness and as a persuasion strategy to enable the audience study their work.
The document has successfully utilised the information listing design. Important issues have been listed in point form to enable the reader to capture the ideas quickly and easily. However, the problem is the inconsistency in the use of numbering in some points, while other parts are employing the bullets (Business Disability Forum 2014, p.4). The authors would have maintained a specific format to avoid improper construction of some sections and inconsistency.
2.2.2. Sections and sub-sections
Writing documents that major on communicating disabilities must utilise the style of sections and sub-sections that explain to the reader important concepts of the publication. The audience may not be familiar with notions in disabilities, and thus, a guide must provide a brief introduction in every section to enhance the further comprehension of the people (Sharkey, Lloyd & Tomlinson 2016, p.741). The readers may be naïve or ignorant in understanding some disabilities, and therefore, giving them the tips and strategies for communicating a disability that they do not even comprehend may be of no help.
The guide does not provide sections and sub-sections to introduce the audience to important disabilities and concepts discussed in the document. Although the intentions of the authors may be out of goodwill, it is inappropriate to assume the readers understand all types of impairments without taking the responsibility of providing a brief introduction to the notions. It is recommended that the publication should provide a short background information and elaboration of concepts outlined in the guide to enhance the reader’s comprehension (The National Connection for Public Health 2011, p.3). All documents published for creating awareness to the audience must be reader-centred for effectiveness to be realised.
The choice of words and phrases to use when writing a guide on communicating disabilities must be conscious and well-structured. Offensive and degrading language must be avoided because the audience may vary. The guide can fall on the hands of a person with disability, and thus, they should feel that they are not humiliated in the choice of words. Language must also focus on the intended target group (Kailes 2002). Respect and courtesy in the way disabilities are addressed should be evident. The document in this case follows etiquette, and the choice of language is appropriate making it an available source to both the people disabilities and those interacting with them.
2.3. Micro issues
Micro issues are the considerations that are problematic in a document and focus mostly on formatting concerns. They include listing, sections, and consistency. They affect ethos of the publication in that it is concerned with the credibility and the professional code of the author to ensure that the persuasion has been achieved. The physical quality of the document emphasises on the formatting issues may influence the audience (McCormick 2002, p.3). Therefore, apart from the message the writer wants to pass to the readers, one should also ensure physical appeal to the people.
All publications must have a particular order that conveys consistency in the presentation of ideas and information in the document. If the flow of concepts is not consistent, it may divert the audience attention or bring boredom when reading the text. The pages, spacing, and the text elements must be aligned in a particular order to ensure uniformity. The headings and subsections must be properly aligned with the set intent. Formatting is a problem in the guide (Katz 2014, p.27). The text adjustment is not properly done. It is difficult for the reader to differentiate between sections and sub-headings. Some headings are labelled, while others are not. The audience may be confused between what is to be given emphasis when reading the document.
Proofreading a text is critical because it helps identify errors in spellings and grammar. The structure of the content is important because improper use of words may alter the meaning of the sentence. Proofreading must take place after the editing and reviewing of the document is accomplished.
The document has several of the aforementioned errors. For example, the page numbering is wrongly done. Some are placed on the right top hand side, while others are numbered on the top left side, which is incorrect. Page numbering must have order and specific format. The line spacing between paragraphs is inconsistent as well (Business Disability Forum 2014, p.5). The recommendation given is that the author ought to have proofread the work to rule out errors.
The report clearly provides an analysis that the document has successfully fulfilled the purpose of providing tips and strategies for communicating disabilities. The meta, macro, and micro levels of the analysis indicate the author’s achievements in communicating disabilities and how the communication aids and media relations can be integrated into the awareness. The formatting of the text requires major revision to solve the readability issues. The report provides the strengths and recommendations that must be considered to promote accessible communication to people with disability.
Remove the inconsistency in information listing. For example, one ought to not use bullets and numbering within the same document. The solution to the problem is to ensure there is consistency and order in the listing of information to bring forth order and increase readability.
Include sections and sub-sections. It will help the audience to understand important concepts when reading the document. A publication with headings and sub-headings is considered to be reader-centred.
Number the pages well. It limits the micro issues dealing with formatting issues. It also creates some order that is associated with aesthetic value presenting the document as well organised.
Remove underlined texts. Some areas in the guide are underlined without a vivid implication. The author ought to remove the formatting because it makes the reader have an implication that the issue should be given preference. In this view, the audience may miss out important concepts in the document.
Boardman, L, Bernal, J & Hollins, S 2014, ‘Communicating with people with intellectual disabilities: a guide for general psychiatrists’, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, vol. 20,no. 1, pp. 27-36.
Business Disability Forum 2014, Top tips for accessible communications: accessible communications guide, viewed 29 May 2018, <https://members.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/media_manager/public/86/Resources/Top%20tip%20for%20accessible%20communications_Final_Dec14.pdf>.
Centre for Persons with Disabilities, 2009, Communicating effectively with people who have a disability, viewed 29 May 2018, <http://www.ndcpd.org/projects/medicaid/publications/pdf/Communicating.pdf>.
Kailes, JI 2002, Providing information in alternative formats, Harris Family Centre for Disability and Health Policy, viewed 29 May 2018, <https://hfcdhp.org/briefs/brief6a-alt-formats/>.
Katz, A 2014, ‘Emergency communication excludes people with disabilities, report finds’, The Hearing Journal, vol. 67, no. 7, pp. 26-27.
McCormick, S (ed) 2002, Tips and strategies to promote accessible communication: removing barriers, The North Carolina Office on Disability and Health, viewed 29 May 2018, <http://fpg.unc.edu/sites/fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/other-resources/NCODH_PromoteAccessibleCommunication.pdf>.
Sharkey, S, Lloyd, C & Tomlinson, R 2016, Communicating with disabled children when inpatients: barriers and facilitators identified by parents and professionals in a qualitative study’, Health Expect, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 738-750.
State of New York Department of Health 2009, People first: communicating with and about people with disabilities, viewed 29 May 2018, <https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/0951.pdf>.
The National Connection for Public Health 2011, Tips and strategies for successful integration of people with disabilities into local public health promotion programmes, viewed 29 May 2018, <http://archived.naccho.org/topics/HPDP/healthdisa/resources/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=198707>.
U.S. Department of Justice 2006, Model policy for law enforcement on communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, viewed 29 May 2018, <https://www.ada.gov/lawenfmodpolicy.pdf>.
Appendix A – Removing the inconsistency in writing
The author has to focus on maintain order in the document to avoid inconsistency associated with information listing. The ideas must be represented in a particular manner to create a positive image to the readers. The document provided major insights that should be incorporated into the workplace by professionals, educators, and advocacy agencies including the media and the people with disabilities. The report concluded that professionals should develop strategies for accessible communication with the disables and also the people with disability must also share the guide with others to facilitate improved communication. Therefore, the information listing must be made consistent to make it exciting and interesting to the reader.
Appendix B – Sections and sub-sections
Using headings and sub-headings in the document would be appealing to the audience. Therefore, the author ought to have utilised the style to enhance the readability and persuade the reader to comprehend the report easily. The solution to this issue will be focusing on the goals of the intended work and thus strive to communicate and make the audience understand the context. Therefore, the author should explain to the people the meaning of some words by creating headings and using sub-sections to further develop their comprehension.
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