This section includes information for people who work in attendant services. It also has suggestions for people who have speech and language disabilities and who use attendant services.
The following information is intended to provide a starting point to improve access to services for people with speech and language disabilities (SLDs), not caused by hearing loss. It is by no means a full comprehensive list of barriers or accommodations. It presents some of the unique challenges that people with SLDs may experience within this situation.
Contact us for more information on making your services accessible.
Sample Communication Access Barriers to Attendant Services
Many of us who have Speech and Language Disabilities (SLDs), experience the same barriers as people who have mobility, sensory and other disabilities. In addition, we may experience unique communication barriers due to our speech and language disability. These barriers may include:
- Attendants not having adequate communication training and knowing how to communicate with us
- Attendants not understanding our directions when providing services
- Not being able to communicate and negotiate our attendant bookings with attendant service managers
- Not being able to call for attendant services in an emergency
- Getting fewer services because our communication takes longer and there is less time in the booking for the tasks we need done
- Not having or being given an appropriate method of communication in the shower, bed or other situations where our usual communication device or display might not be practical
- Attendants not trained and/or not available to provide communication assistance in face-to-face interactions and over the telephone
- Lack of policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality when attendants provide communication assistance related to confidential matters such as financial matters, healthcare and personal matters
- Attendants not having the time or ability to trouble shoot about technical support for our assistive devices
- Attendants not being able to accompany us in the community where we may need assistance
Suggestions for improving access to Attendant Services
In addition to generic communication access accommodations, people who work in attendant services should know about:
- Respecting our privacy and not questioning our ability to make decisions related to healthcare, finances, relationships and personal matters
- How we want our services to be provided and how to communicate with us during these routines
- How to communicate with us when we don’t have our device or display with us (e.g. in bed or in the washroom)
- How to assist us communicating with the public, in essential service providers and over the telephone
- Basic ‘troubleshooting’ techniques when something goes wrong with our assistive devices.
- Giving us access to an emergency pager or cell system to contact attendants in an emergency. The system should be available for use in all rooms, as well as when in bed.
- Giving us extra time in a booking to communicate during service routines.
- Responding to our alert signals (e.g. vocalizations, body language) that we may use to get their attention if something is wrong
- Communicating with us over the telephone and via the emergency pager/cell phone.
- Giving us multiple ways to connect with management and staff about our bookings including text, email, SMS
- Respecting our choices with regards to how we choose to allot time in a booking to various tasks.
Resources for people who work in attendant services
Suggestions for people with SLDs
Depending on the situation and our personal communication requirements, we may want to consider:
- Preparing a message or having a written note to tell attendants what we would like to have done during a booking.
- Having a binder with sections explaining regular routines for new staff and sections for troubleshooting when your communication system is not working. We might want to include photos for certain tasks, such as where to find the power button on a communication device or the lever to put a power chair into manual.
- Creating a list of emergency contacts and instructions for emergencies. We may want to include instructions to bring our communication device or board in an ambulance, as this often gets left behind when a person is transferred to a stretcher.
- Using a label maker to help attendants quickly understand what an item is and how to use it. For example, labeling which electrical cord goes with which device.
- Having supplies available and organized in logical places to make the most efficient use of booking time.
- Discussing our preferred ways to book, cancel, confirm attendant arrangements with our manager (e.g. text, SMS, email)
Resources for people with SLDs