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Users who have difficulties communicating with others

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Speech, language, communication and learning are all closely related and all affect each other. People can experience difficulties in communication through written, spoken or kinaesthetic language. Difficulties may also arise due to aspects of vocabulary range, expression, reception and comprehension skills, ability to accurately interpret semantic and syntactic ambiguities in language.

Users who have difficulties communicating with others can cover a wide range of conditions including deafness, speech impediments, autism and many others. Since the range and nature of these conditions is so wide, the range of appropriate and reasonable adjustments is also very wide. Some user needs will be covered by very modest adjustments whilst others may pose considerable challenges.

Among the most important outcomes of the following advice and guidance is the recognition that:

  • There is no single solution for accessibility
  • The optimum "reasonable adjustment" may depend on the nature of the learner, the nature of the impairment, the nature of the resource, the learning objectives and the context of use
  • The most time-consuming and expensive adjustments are not always the most effective
  • Staff supporting learners often have a range of alternative adjustments they can make in discussion with the learner.

This information has been divided into several sections (as listed below), in each case moving from general points to more specific examples.