Inclusive Communication Event helps to Give Voice


Over 200 service users, carers and staff gathered to celebrate ‘Inclusive Communication’ at a recent event in Belfast. The event aimed to highlight to individuals with learning disabilities, speech, language and communication needs; as well as their carers and staff how ‘Inclusive Communication’ can help to achieve successful outcomes towards independence and community participation.

Director of Adult Social & Primary Care of the Belfast Trust, Catherine McNicholl, opened the event emphasising why it is so essential for everyone to help ‘Give Voice’ for Adults with learning disabilities to improve communication and remove barriers faced by people who have communication difficulties.
The event was organised by the Learning Disability Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT). Experienced staff, carers and service users worked in partnership with SLT to co-design and co-deliver ‘Inclusive Communication’ workshops. Staff who attended the event were impressed by the variety of workshops available.

Angela Crocker, Lead Clinical Speech and Language Therapist with the Belfast Trust, said: “this event allowed the voice of the service user to be central in planning and delivering training. Listening to service users talk about their experience helped bring the subject of communication to a human level. It is a great example of what can be achieved when service users, staff and carers work together.”

Adults with learning disabilities shared what they feel helps their communication in a speech bubble competition. Their inspiring entries were on display at the event and prizes were awarded to the winners by acting co-Director Bryan Nelson and Speech and Language Therapy Manager Cathy Jordan.

Partners supported the event by exhibiting resources that help support communication. Partners included Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), sensory support team, health improvement, oral health, Crafted Hands, parenting, Alternative and Augmentative Communication AAC, Equality, Stroke association, hospital passports, Department of Justice, Tell It Like It Is Tilli ARC, NOW, Action Ability, Promote and Action for Mental Health. The sensory support team scooped a prize, awarded by a service user, for the best exhibition stand.

Attendees were treated to excellent entertainment from the very best of our local learning disability talent Guys and Dolls and the Edgecumbe band. This event was only made possible through the financial support of the Health Improvement Consortium BHSCT. The RCSLT also provided financial support by funding a Giving Voice leaflet for people with learning disabilities, an easy read information booklet on the new RCSLT 5 Good Communication standards and bags for all attendees.