We asked People First (Scotland) to tell us about the work their Easy Read Group has done to produce accessible materials for parents with learning disabilities. This blog, the group shares their thoughts.
The Easy Read Working Group was set up in May 2016.
Parents were very aware how difficult letters and reports were to understand, so we set up the group to try and change that and to make more easy read information available.
‘If we don’t get easy read information then we can’t read or understand it and we get left behind and so do our children. Parents can feel blamed for not turning up at meetings – but we couldn’t read the letter inviting us in the first place’.
‘If you get letters from your child’s school and don’t understand them, how are you supposed to know what is going on? Like parents’ nights or important school meetings or even school trips?’
‘If schools send out letters that we can understand then we can be a better parent; talk to our children about what is happening; make sure they can take part in school trips and other events and make sure we get to important meetings about their education. It is our right’.
‘Big decisions are made at child protection meetings. The decisions affect our rights and the rights of our children. Parents would get a letter through the post that was too difficult to understand and full of jargon and too much writing. We didn’t understand what the letter said and what the meeting was about. So either we missed the meeting, or we had the date and turned up hoping for the best but totally unprepared’.
So the easy read working group worked with Edinburgh Council Review Team to create easy read templates for letters and agendas for child protection meetings. These resources help parents to understand and to take part in the meetings as an equal and to feel valued as a person.
We also worked with SCRA to create easy read letters about children’s hearings. They are going to start using these in Edinburgh.
The group has also worked with NHS Health Scotland on an easy read guide to bottle feeding. Too many babies were in hospital because of poor bottle feeding, so NHS wrote some advice to parents and wanted to make sure they had an easy read version.
Now we are trying to get the easy read letters and resources out so they are used throughout Scotland. We feel it is really important that schools use easy ready letters, but we haven’t managed to get any schools to use the easy read letters yet. If you can help with this please get in touch.
We hope that one day parents will automatically get easy read information when they need it. We mean all information from school and from all professionals about everything to with our children’s health and wellbeing. So we can be the best parents we can be for our children.
Access easy read information from People First Scotland below.
Information for parents from schools
Child protection resources for parents
You can contact The People First (Scotland) Parents’ Group Easy Read Working Group through Jane Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org