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Coming of Age- The Australian Communication Access Symbol

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Disability policies internationally focus on the importance of community inclusion and the right to access local services. A pre-requisite of community access for people with complex communication needs (CCN) is the extent to which their communication is effective and successful in unfamiliar settings. Creating communication accessible environments means that the responsibility lies both with the individual and with people they communicate with.

‘Communication access occurs when people are respectful and responsive to individuals with communication difficulties, and when strategies and resources are used to support successful communication,’ (Solarsh, Johnson, West and Rezzani, 2013). The Communication Access Symbol CAS) identifies places where the appropriate standards have been met though an audit process by trained Communication Access Assessors who have CCN.

Since the launch of the Australian CAS in November 2011, over 150 Communication Access Symbols and licences have been awarded. Places that have been awarded a communication access licence include small retailers, small organisations such as the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission, and large organisations such as V/Line Regional Rail.
This workshop presents the coming of age of communication access in Victoria, Australia. It outlines the strategies, policies and procedures for the roll out of a standards-based CAS to our national and international community. It will present the experiences from a pilot project with Communication Matters to introduce the CAS in the UK. Participants will have the opportunity to share what we have learnt and explore ways to work together to build an international movement for communication access.


Barbara Solarsh    

Katie Lyon    

Meredith Allan    

Catherine Harris    
Communication Matters (ISAAC UK)
United Kingdom

Denise West    


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