“Easy-to-read benefits all people.” This was one of the main messages our easy-to-read editor Soufiane El Amrani and Policy Officer Guillaume Jacquinot brought to Moscow when they met Inclusion Europe’s Russian member Perspektiva and representatives of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. They had come by invitation of the museum to share their knowledge of easy-to-read and on how to make information accessible for people with intellectual disabilities.
At the seminar held for Perspektiva’s members, Soufiane and Guillaume introduced the key concepts of easy-to-read (one example being Inclusion Europe’s easy-to-read newsletter Europe for Us) while underlining how it can empower people with intellectual disabilities to make informed decisions. But easy-to-read is beneficial to other groups as well: “It can also help older people, immigrants, or people with low reading skills”, as Soufiane pointed out.
However, easy-to-read does not fix everything: Some people would prefer spoken word or other forms of expressing themselves. And easy-to-read cannot be limited to texts, it must spread to other situations such as meetings: In this context, Guillaume and Soufiane presented Inclusion Europe’s accessibility cards, which can be used to show how to involve people with intellectual disabilities in meetings, conferences and other events.
Alternative communication and sensory spaces
When taking part in a conference organised by the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Soufiane and Guillaume could learn about how the museum experience for visitors with intellectual disabilities can be improved: for example, through augmentative and alternative communication – especially relevant for people with complex support needs -, or sensory spaces which can make inclusive interactivity between museum visitors possible. But they also had the opportunity to hear first-hand from visitors with intellectual disabilities and their parents, who spoke about their experiences when visiting museums.
In the framework of the conference, Guillaume and Soufiane held another two workshops on easy-to-read, specifically focused on its use in museums. Soufiane assessed the level of accessibility of the easy-to-read materials created by the participants during the workshops, and gave some tips on how they could improve. Participants were very interested in this way of ensuring accessibility, not yet very well-known in the context of arts.
In addition to their visit to Perspektiva and the Garage Museum, Guillaume and Soufiane also went to the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and met with Russian policy-makers to raise awareness about easy-to-read and accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities. The visit had been organised by Perspektiva. They furthermore met Igor Shpitsberg, a member of Autism Europe’s Council of Administration, and discussed with him how easy-to-read could be better promoted in Russia.
Soufiane and Guillaume came back with a greatly increased knowledge of the state of accessibility for people intellectual disabilities in Russia, lots of good memories and reinforced ties to our Russian member and other professionals in Russia interested in the topic. Thank you to the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art for the invitation and до свида́ния – we hope to see you again soon!
This was the message of our staff members
Guillaume Jacquinot and Soufiane El Amrani
when they went to Moscow.
Moscow is a city in Russia.
Soufiane El Amrani is Inclusion Europe’s easy-to-read editor.
Guillaume Jacquinot is Inclusion Europe’s policy officer.
They went to Moscow for different things.
They went to a conference organised by a museum.
The museum is called Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
They met with Russian politicians.
The meeting at Perspektiva
When they met with Inclusion Europe’s member Perspektiva,
Guillaume and Soufiane talked about easy-to-read.
They gave some examples for easy-to-read.
For example, Inclusion Europe’s newsletter Europe for Us.
They also talked about how putting things in easy-to-read
helps people with intellectual disabilities.
Soufiane said in his presentation that easy-to-read can help
other groups of people too.
It can help people who do not speak English well, older people
or people who have a hard time reading.
But easy-to-read does not fix everything.
Some people prefer to hear things read out loud to them.
Other things must also be made easier.
Not just texts.
For example, meetings need to be easy to join in
for people with intellectual disabilities.
To make meetings easy for people with intellectual disabilities to join in we have accessibility cards.
These cards which you can see in the picture
are red, yellow, and green.
The red card means stop.
The yellow card means you don’t understand
what the speaker is saying.
The green card means you agree with what is being said.
People can hold up these cards to show how they feel
about the meeting and the speaker.
Guillaume and Soufiane talked about the cards
and showed people how to use them.
Denise is the director of Perspektiva
and a board member of Inclusion Europe.
The conference at the museum
Guillaume and Soufiane were invited to a conference
by the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
The conference was about accessibility.
The museum is in Moscow.
Guillaume and Soufiane were invited to the conference to talk about easy-to-read and how to make information accessible
for people with intellectual disabilities.
When they were at the conference Guillaume and Soufiane learnt about how to make a museum better for people with disabilities.
For example, a museum can show information in different ways
to help people with different kinds of disabilities.
At the conference, people with intellectual disabilities and their parents
spoke about their experiences when visiting museums.
Guillaume and Soufiane also gave presentations about
how easy-to-read could be used in museums.
Participants in the workshop tried to make some writings
into easy-to-read and Soufiane helped them.
The participants found this very interesting and useful.
Meeting with politicians
Guillaume and Soufiane also went to some other places in Moscow while they were there.
They went to the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.
The Civic Chamber helps people talk to the Russian government.
It is made up of government workers and different organizations.
The Chamber also helps the people have a say in government.
There they talked to some law makers about easy-to-read
and how to make things accessible
for people with intellectual disabilities.
They also met Igor Shpitsberg and talked about how to put
more things into easy-to-read in Russia.
Igor is a member of Autism Europe’s Council of Administration.
Guillaume and Soufiane enjoyed their time in Moscow and learnt a lot!
They both made new friends in Russia.
They thank the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art for the invitation.
And they hope to see them again soon.
[:nl]Our easy-to-read editor Soufiane El Amrani and Policy Officer Guillaume Jacquinot went to Moscow to meet with our Russian member Perspektiva and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art to raise the awareness on the necessity to make information accessible for people with intellectual disabilities.
On the first day of their meeting, they gave a webinar to Perspektiva’s members and presented our work on easy-to-read and the way we can make all type of information accessible. For example, our accessible newsletter Europe for Us has been introduced to show how written information can be made accessible. Moreover, they explained the way accessibility cards can be used to show how to involve people with intellectual disabilities in meetings, conference and other events. We also discussed with many Perspektiva staff members who talked about many ongoing projects on inclusive education, employment, self-advocates training. They told us for example about their summer camp aiming to improve independent living skills of people with intellectual disabilities.
They went during the same day to the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and met with Russian policy-makers to raise the awareness about easy-to-read and accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities. They had the pleasure to meet Igor Shpitsberg who is member of the Autism Europe’s Council of Administration and was really interested in our work. Most of the discussion focused on the blatant lack of easy-to-read materials in Russia and the lack of interest of the Russian Government on the topic. They were very interested in learning how easy-to-read was used in the other European countries and the importance of the European Accessibility Act in ensuring minimum standards across Europe regarding accessible products and services.
The other 2 days, we took part in a conference organized by the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. The conference focused on the experience of Museum for visitors with developmental and learning disabilities. Many interesting topics have been discussed such as the use of augmentative and alternative communication very relevant for people with complex support needs. Also, Australian speakers highlighted their dance troupe experience with Russian people with intellectual disabilities.
We organised at the occasion of this conference two workshops on the way easy-to-read can be used to make museums more accessible for visitors with intellectual disabilities. Our easy to read editor judged the level of accessibility of the easy to read materials created by the participants during the workshops. People have been extremely interested in this type of accessibility that is not well-known in the context of Arts as in many other domains. However, it was challenging to explain easy-to-read to people speaking another language as the complexity of words and their meaning change from a language to another.
Our two colleagues were delighted to meet many different Russian people and from abroad who showed a genuine interest for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Explaining the accessibility was also an opportunity to raise the awareness on the exclusion of people with intellectual disabilities from society in many aspect of their life advocate for a better inclusion in society.
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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