Learning Disabilities Week took place from 20th-26th June, and in recognition we’re looking at learning disabilities in an internal communications environment.
The term learning disabilities covers a wide array of disorders, and it can sometimes be hard to get it right when trying to be inclusive. Learning disabilities can include dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia, as well as more physical conditions like down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy, amongst others. Because conditions often affect how your brain works, they can’t always be immediately seen, classing some as hidden disabilities. This makes natural inclusivity all the more important, and it’s something that should be on your mind when creating internal communications.
Learning disabilities in the UK – did you know?
people have dyslexia
people are neurodiverse
of those with learning disabilities also experience mental health problems
Ensuring that colleagues have a supportive network in work is key to giving them a great employee experience, and there are lots of things you can do to ensure that individuals feel included and can be open with their disability.
• Be aware of your workforce. If you know there are people around you with specific disabilities, then make sure you cater for them in the creation and design of IC content and build this into your internal guidelines
• Encourage open conversation with those around you. Staying quiet on subjects like disability can often encourage feelings of judgment or misunderstanding – and no one wants that. Being a good communicator with people who do have learning disabilities can also make the world of difference – think about how you communicate with your teams and try to use accessible language and different comms tools, if possible, like screen readers and face-to-face presentations.
• Encourage education. There are plenty of resources available to use as a base for learning more about diversity and inclusion. Providers like LinkedIn Learning and FutureLearn have a variety of courses where people can learn more, from D&I in the classroom to inclusion in technology
• Challenge your bias. When working with people who are different to us, our biases and stereotypes may come to a head. If this happens, remember to be mindful, reflective and welcoming. Talk about bias and stereotypes too – it’s important for people to see that their employer is aware of topics like this and are promoting active discussions
• Be inclusive in your storytelling. If you’re sharing colleague stories, then make sure that everyone is represented fairly
As internal communicators, we set the benchmark for colleague’s employment experiences, and it’s vital that everyone feels included, supported and understood. If in doubt, it never hurts to ask how you can support people or how you can be more inclusive.