For more accessibility in communication
Published on 04.02.2021
What do stairs and language have in common? Some people may find this to be a difficult question to answer — because it has never been relevant to their own lives. For others, the question may be so pertinent that hardly a day goes by where they don’t have to think about it: Stairs and language are barriers.
Our world is laid out in such a way that people without disabilities are able to navigate it easily. Stairs, curbs, high supermarket shelves — who would think of these as barriers? Inclusion, however, means exactly that: The ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and take into account other perspectives.
To be fair, wheelchair ramps, lifts, etc. are increasingly helping people with disabilities feel less restricted in their daily lives. For our team members, on the other hand, language is one of the biggest obstacles they face on a day-to-day basis. In order to support them, we use “Leichte Sprache” (a simplified version of the German language, literally “Easy Language”) when communicating with them. It was developed by the German organisation “Netzwerk Leichte Sprache”, founded in 2006 and aims to enable people with linguistic and cognitive impairments, as well as people whose native language isn’t German, greater linguistic participation.
Concretely, the language and spelling rules dictate that...
- short sentences should be used.
- every sentence should contain only one statement.
- active sentences should be formed.
- word combinations should be made clear, for example through hyphens
- and much more.
A visual example of this is our Valeriana Codex, which we have created for our team members.
Getting used to Easy Language can feel a little strange at first. But if it helps other people to get through the day more easily, then it’s well worth it, isn’t it? :)