Can I have a word? How often do we say that in our everyday lives? From the moment we wake up we’re communicating, speaking, getting our voices and choices heard. It’s the everyday – getting to work on public transport, deciding what to have in the coffee shop, dropping the children off at school – we talk in order to communicate with others.
As well as everyday living – the ability to communicate empowers us to express our own choices around important issues, such as care and medical treatment and life decisions including finances and personal relationships.
Communication is central to our human rights – our right to work, to vote, to have an education and to be part of a community. But at Ace Centre, we know that there are many people who have the potential communicate – but are not being empowered or enabled to communicate effectively. They are silent and they’re hidden. Their voices are unheard. Their opinions unnoticed.
- Voices unheard
The reality is we don’t actually know how many adults are living in England with communication needs.
It’s estimated that a third of stroke survivors have some difficulty in speaking – but stroke is only one of a broad range of causes of speech and communication loss.
Figures estimated by the Adult Communication Coalition showed that at least 2% (1.24m) of the adult population find it difficult to communicate their needs effectively without support. But that research was conducted nearly a decade ago, and with an ageing population and people living longer with complex needs, it’s increasingly likely that that estimate is now significantly out of date.
As the largest and most established Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Assistive Technology charity working in the field we help thousands of people with a wide range of conditions including Motor Neurone Disease, Cerebral Palsy through the delivery of our advice, information, assessment and training services
The NHS will provide support for only those with the most complex needs. But reduced health budgets and increased pressure and demand on resources means that too many people have communication needs that are unmet. Those that fall short of the threshold, who don’t have the financial or advocacy means to access support or technology themselves, face challenges and barriers to access communication support and technology that could transform their lives.
- Our vision – our mission
We’re calling for greater awareness of communication needs in adults. Over the next year we’ll be working with users, families and practitioners, to build a true picture and scale of communication disability within our communities.
Our campaign will increase the visibility of communication needs – developing research, collaboration and technology to break down barriers.
We’re providing a platform for people with communication needs to have their say, share their experiences and call for change with a new ‘In Our Own Words’ blog.
We’re strengthening our commitment to provide access to practical support and technology for our clients, their carers and professionals in health, care and education.
We’re updating our resources hub with free communication toolkits. You can find ‘Being a Communication Partner’ – the first of our free help guide series here.
To learn more about our services and the impact of our work visit our website www.acecentre.org.uk