Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Competing factors in Easy Read: producer perspectives.


Deborah Chinn's paper, "Talking to producers of Easy Read health information for people with intellectual disability: Production practices, textual features, and imagined audiences," (2019) was recognised with an Australasian Study of Intellectual Disability award at the 2020 AGM. The paper discusses the development of accessible information from the creators point of view by looking at

·      what influences the priorities of those creating Easy Read health information;

·      how the creators saw the Easy Read health information being used in real-world settings;

·      the role Easy Read Health Information plays in providing people with Intellectual Disability with accurate medical information;

·      how people with Intellectual Disability see Easy Read health information.

Being from the UK, the paper is specifically discussing Easy Read only. You can read more about on the similarities and differences with Easy English here. Chinn specifically investigates Easy Read in the context of health information and the study also looks at how the medical staff and others used the Easy Read materials.

 The paper touches on the lack of standard practice in the creation of Easy Read and how it can mean a lack of consistency from different creators. This means that end users may benefit from the content produced by one creator but not another. 

Chinn also considers how health staff may influence the outcomes for the end user by their engagement with this health information. For example, health staff may not want to provide the end user with options they do not consider to be in the patient’s best interest. The paper raises the need to remedy biases concerning public institutions by enabling the independent participation of those with low English literacy within these institutions  This highlights the need to ensure Easy Read health information supports the independent participation and decision making of people with Intellectual Disability.

Chinn recognises need for collaboration between the creators and the end-users. People with Intellectual Disability have diverse ranges of capabilities and needs and they cannot be treated as a homogenous audience. However, the detached 'on demand' nature of commissioned Easy Read content magnifies the risk of presumption relating to the end-user.

 Creators share the concern that a lack of collaboration can push the creator to produce for imagined audiences rather than the real-world end user. This limits the ability of the accessible communication to reach those whose needs do not conform.

 The research shows that while progress is being made, there is still work to be done.

 What do you think?

Do you see the same issues with Easy English?

Are we providing only positive options?

What competing needs have you found to be involved in Easy English?

Do you think there is a difference when creators work with different people who are the intended readers?

We would love to know your thoughts.




Chinn, D. 2019. "Talking to producers of Easy Read health information for people with intellectual disability: Production practices, textual features, and imagined audiences." Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability 44 (4): 410-420. 

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