Essex Care Consortium - Individual Empowerment

All types of communicating
All types of communicating

How we plan
How we plan

Clive using his communication device

Easy Read Documents

Contact details

Lakshmi Thotapalli – General Manager

Tel: 01206 330308
Fax: 01206 331811

Speech and Language

Our overall objective is to make essex care consortium a service provider that is a centre of excellence in communicationCommunication is a primary focus across our organisation and we aspire to become a leader in communication for those with learning disabilities.


We are an Inclusive Communication environment, which means we use speech, Makaton (sign language), gesture, photographs, symbols, drawings and objects of reference to interact with each student. Our staff are trained in Makaton and Tac-Pac, and we work with staff, students and relatives to make communication as effective as possible.
Principles in practice logo
Regular training allows our staff to develop their skills and improve communication for everyone. We develop our own resources using a wide range of tools and a library of materials collected over many years. These resources ensure greater consistency for effective communication and staff, family and visitors are always encouraged to discuss the communication needs, abilities and barriers of our clients.

‘We spend a lot of time working on getting people to understand things, getting service users to understand their world. Once they are familiar with appropriate communications tools they can use those same tools to express themselves further, to indicate preferences and to plan their time

We have a person-centred planning approach and identify the best communication methods for each client. Our staff set and review communication objectives for each client and these are reviewed quarterly. To ensure that information is accessible to clients and those caring for them, we have practical ways to support this including: communication profiles and passports, individual timetables, photographic menus and photographic staff rotas. Families are invited to attend speech and language sessions so that they too can improve their skills.


We are particularly excited about one of our projects ‘Plain Talk’ which addresses the way we communicate ideas with people who have leaning disabilities. We have produced leaflets, brochures, client guides and information booklets and these have been shown to be very beneficial in encouraging and developing communication skills for our clients.

When we are presented with material that appears to acknowledge our place in the world, to reflect our experiences, abilities and even how we appear, this can confirm our sense of self, our right to exist and our self-esteem. Family histories, popular culture, education, politics etc. – all these discourses provide opportunities for us to recognise ourselves and our place in society.

If we are part of a minority group, then there may not be sufficient representations within our society for us to recognise and affirm our sense of self. People with learning disabilities are often structured out of social imagery and have no capacity to control their representations or lack of them.

Material created for people with learning disabilities may have been researched and conform to Accessible Information Standards; however, it may still fall short of enabling adults with a learning disability to engage in a meaningful way with information provided for them. The visual vocabulary that is frequently used does not acknowledge the individual, using instead generic representations of learning disability that fall short of clients’ experience.

For many years our research has investigated how to produce materials that will ‘speak to’ people with learning disabilities so that they feel confident in being properly acknowledged in these communications and are able to identify their place in society.

Person centred care is at the core of our philosophy and critical information is not only what we need to know about the client, but also about what the client needs to know to understand their life and feel safe in their home. To this end we have gradually developed materials that use new ways of informing and empowering people with learning disabilities.


This new development is part of our ongoing strategy to promote excellence in communication and we are currently developing new training materials and methods, both for own staff and for external professionals to achieve our aim of becoming a leader in this field.