Thursday, 9 December 2021

ASID 2021 and Easy Read. Choice and power. Part 1

Day 2 of the ASID conference offered 2 presentations in the keynote session about Easy Read. 

First up Dr Deborah Chinn presented her findings and thoughts about Easy Read in the UK.

The presentation identified that some of the Easy Read documents reviewed in the health topics in the UK were very directive and often did not offer choice and power to the reader. This was identified as an issue and raised the question about the purpose of the Easy Read documents. Deborah observed that some documents may have been designed to make the experience easier for staff, rather than assist the reader to make decisions.

This is an important point. Human rights legislation upholds the right of people with disabilities to plan and make decisions about their own lives. There is an emphasis on supported decision making rather than substitute decision making (where others make a considered decision on behalf of another person).

I reflected on this point and our use of Easy English in Australia. Easy English (and Easy Read) can be used to give information, but can it also used to describe choices and options. 

Easy English can be designed for any type of document.

One obvious application is an Easy English version of a goal planning document. This should be all about choice – choose what you want to do, choose what help you want, choose who, when and where.

Contracts and agreements may offer choices of who to share information with, how a person would like to receive information. When we do consent for research in Easy English, it is important to include statements about

- why the research is being done

- where the information will go

- who gets to see your personal information 

- can you stop being part of the research. 

There are yes/no questions about each of these key statements. Is this providing choice and power to the reader? 

Look at these examples of Easy English to see how choice is included and described:

Establishment and your choices – this describes part of the court process in Child Protection. It offers and explains choices available to parents. 

(Note: Establishment is a Court word that had to be part of this title)

You are pregnant. What can you do? – a WWDA fact sheet. Explains all choices available to women who are pregnant.

Rachel Tozer 

Access Easy English

Telephone: 0466 579 855



Twitter: @accesseasyengli

LinkedIn Cathy Basterfield

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