No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.
—Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
The practice of communication offers incredible opportunities for creative-minded professionals. One rewarding area of the creative communication discipline involves innovative approaches to reach individuals who have sensory impairments. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “360 million people live with disabling hearing loss” (2013, p. 1). The organization also reports that “285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide” (WHO, 2014). Although these statistics represent communication obstacles for a significant portion of global audiences, ongoing advances in technology combined with creative approaches provides a solution.
Communication professionals have a responsibility to communicate with all individuals in a community. New modes and formats of communication make it easier for professionals to reach all audiences. A commitment to include those who speak, hear, and see differently enriches lives of everyone involved in the communication process. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) provides professionals with a chance to serve in their communities and promote positive social change.
This week you explore how communication tools are used to deliver messages to individuals with special needs. You also consider creative strategies to overcome communication challenges for these target audiences to achieve organizational goals.
Book written in only braille. (2014). Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=braille&ex=1#ai:MP900427668|
Sign language representation of the letter “A.” (2014) Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=sign+language&ex=1#ai:MP900385724|mt:2|
|Learning Objective||Associated Weekly Activity|
|Analyze augmentative and adaptive communication tools||Collaboration Activity|
|Evaluate augmentative and adaptive communication strategies||Collaboration Activity|
|Evaluate communication challenges for special needs audiences||Practitioner Assignment|
|Analyze augmentative and adaptive communication tools and strategies to support corporate social responsibility efforts||Practitioner Assignment|
Schectman, T. (2011, February 7). 7 assistive communication Apps in the iPad App Store [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2011/02/07/7-assistive-communication-apps-in-the-ipad-app-store/
Health Care for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Toolkit for Primary Care Providers. (n.d.). Communicating Effectively. Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://iddtoolkit.vkcsites.org/
Books of Hope, LLC. (n.d.). Speaking books: Our story. Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://speakingbooks.com/healthcare-audio-books/
This web article provides an example of how audiobooks were used to deliver health information in South Africa.
Jahnich, M. (2014). 2014’s top 4 trends in CSR communication. Retrieved from http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/stakeholder_trends_insights/mathieu_jahnich/2014s_top_4_trends_csr_communication
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Design thinking: Alternative and augmentative communications [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 4 minutes.
In this interview, a practicing communication professional, Cliff Bridges, stresses the importance of increasing access to communication for audiences with special needs. He also touches on addressing access concerns associated with the digital divide.
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