Communication environment

A set of resources to support the many people who sail who may also face communication barriers in a world that relies on a large extent to being able to see, hear and use speech

Communication can be very individual to a person and can take a long time to tune into. With the right approach these resources can support communication partnerships.

Getting communication right means people can experience the world to the full, connect with others and fulfil their potential.

The download resources consist of:

  • An explanation of the various strategies that can be implemented and the tools available
  • Printable photos, resources and templates for clubs, centres, instructors and volunteers to use – these are embedded in the document as objects
  • Links to videos and further information

The web tool that follows highlights the explanation of the various strategies.

The resources are a start point and are there to be adapted, built on and developed to make them specific to the individuals you work with and the location you use to get on the water. Remember to use the approach of asking, not assuming, listening well and learning as you go.

Genuine partnership with the person, with those who know them well will be at the heart of developing good communication and meaningful conversations.

  1. Take the time to find out how a person communicates and be empathetic to how they make choices and express preferences, and the aids and technology they may use to help. Some people may have a communication passport that contains details of how they communicate, what they like and don’t like. Asking if they have one may be a good start point to establishing meaningful conversations.
  2. Take an active interest in the person – learn about their communication and what motivates them
  3. Adapt the learning and communication environment – the resources in this pack will help

Next - symbols can convey ideas, and visual timetables can help communicate what is going to happen in a session

Symbols and visual timetables
Symbols and visual timetables

Symbols can convey ideas, and visual timetables can help communicate what is going to happen in a session

Choice boards

Supporting people to make choices is vital – it is a crucial part of how we express ourselves and exercise autonomy

Social stories

Social stories are a great way to introduce a new situation, outline how and why people may react in different situations and explain why people may be feeling a certain way

Signs, badges and information boards

Signs can help new participants find their way around whether they are new to a location or regularly attend but find orientation and recognising places difficult

Communication tips

Tips for communicating with Deaf people and Blind people

Accessible information

It is important to present information in a format that people can read, understand and that makes them feel included. Not having information in the right format can be the difference between participating or not.



These resources have been collated by Blaire Hannon, who has been involved with Sailability since she was 15 when she learnt to sail herself and then became a volunteer and instructor/coach. She raced nationally and internationally in the 2.4mR for many years, and benefitted from the life skills and qualities that sailing brings. A couple of years ago she graduated as a Speech and Language Therapist and has since worked with a local Sailability site to provide training and create the essential resources and aids to ensure everyone could communicate effectively and all voices were heard.

Download the resources. The word document has a number of embedded templates you can use to create your own communication tools.

Improving the communication environment
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