First Project Success!

Our first project has appeared online 😊 I’ll share the testimonial at the end of the post!

Check out our easy English policies on the St John Ambulance Australia website. Scroll down to Child Safety then the policies are listed under –Easy English–

Child Safety Code of Conduct

Child Safety in St John

Complaints

Statement of Commitment

“Karen from Next Level Inclusion has been fantastic to work with. The project was completed on time and their prices are very competitive – which for a not-for-profit organisation, is an important factor. The documents received were all of a high quality and met the needs of our target audience and organisation. The Australian Office of St John Ambulance Australia won’t hesitate to use Next Level Inclusion again should we have a future project requiring (easy English).”

Huge thanks to St John for the opportunity to work together ⭐

(Image from Learning Disability Service Leeds)
[2 people looking at each other across a table. There are 2 arrows pointing from one to the other. Text above says 1 to 1 meeting.]

Feeding it back

It has been very exciting around Next Level Inclusion lately.

I got my first ongoing contract – taking over the social media (SM) for a previous boss. It’s a disability related social enterprise and a lot of fun to work on. I’ve been catching up on my SM skills and pushing myself to see a gradual climb in their stats.

Then a week or so ago, I got my first one-off contract! A national health & wellbeing organisation had a try at writing their own easy English policies. I’m so impressed that they they had a go, and did so well! NLI has been contracted to complete consumer review of the policies and editing as needed.

I put the word out for members to join our (brand new) NLI Feedback Group and have 5 interested people so far! It is just beyond exciting to be the instigator of a group where disabled people are being paid as independent contractors because of the expertise their disabilities give them. I am working incredibly hard to make sure I am ticking every box for this to be an amazing experience for them, so they are happy to join me in future jobs!

Please get in touch any time if you have questions about easy English, easy read or plain English, or consulting our Feedback group.

Image has a woman sitting with a laptop in her lap. Text says Feedback group. Easy read and easy English. Get paid for your feedback!
email Karen: NextLevelInclusion@gmail.com

So how YOU doin?

So I kind of disappeared. It’s felt like a year and a half already and it’s only April!!

Let’s see, other than the usual birthday, Christmas, new year thing, I had huge changes at work which led to the loss of my team and the end of my contract. Luckily I have found an amazing new opportunity and will be doing basically everything that Next Level Inclusion offers and stands for!

Personally we were given notice to vacate, before our 12 month lease was even up, and applied for nearly 20 houses before ending up in a cute little ‘cottage’ – on the southside of Canberra! South vs north is quite the thing here, and I have never lived south in the 23 years living here! We’ve had multiple surgeries for family members, tooth and medical dramas and just a lot, a lot, a LOT of drama for one disabled single mum and her neurodiverse kids to handle!!

Now though, now we have a cute cottage, larger than our previous house, I have a new job I’m loving so far, and GUESS WHAT….?! Next Level Inclusion is in business baby!!

If you need any inclusion or accessibility support or advice, you know who to contact!

Joey from Friends is smiling and holding a spoon. Text says "How you doin'?"

three by two

I thought it might be interesting to share a little about my disabilities by doing a couple of top 3’s, so here goes…

Karen in the middle of co-facilitating a workshop. She's wearing glasses and a black dress, and holding a marker.

Top 3 things I need others to know about my disabilities

  1. At times I have problems with memory and processing speed. Give me time and the information I need and I will catch up fairly quickly. My brain is a powerhouse once you get past the brain fog!
  2. My intentions are often more than my body can handle. As much as I’d LOVE to work on inclusion 24/7 I just can’t. At the moment 20-24 hours per week is what I am able to do and still achieve high quality work. I need to schedule in plenty of time to rest and recuperate.
  3. I’ve only considered myself disabled for around 5 years now and my main chronic condition is degenerative and changes all the time. This means that I’m not always sure what supports or adjustments I will need on any day. I can also be too determined to appear like everyone else, to my detriment. Working on that!

Top 3 benefits my disabilities give my work

  1. Lived experience! Add that to my 30+ years of working with people with disabilities and my kids having autism and social communication disorder, and I see things from a dodecagon of angles ! (a dodecagon is a 12 sided shape, and possibly a slight exaggeration, maybe)
  2. My neurodiverse brain helps me create inclusive written information and design. If I can’t understand the message at a glance, or within the first sentence or two, it’s really not inclusive. I actually had no idea until last year that the way my brain works isn’t the same for everyone!
  3. A less well-travelled perspective. Having a combination of invisible disabilities; being a single mum – these are things that are often overlooked when thinking of disability inclusion. Most people know about people in wheelchairs, people with autism and Down syndrome, and they know they need to keep an eye out for them. What about the hundreds of thousands of others, who you can’t see at a glance are disabled? This is where making everything you do as inclusive as possible is a winner!

What would you share about your disabilities?

fun or function?

Keep calm and do the Christmas shopping is written in white over a Christmas tree decorated with baubles and ribbons. There are wrapped gifts in front of the tree and it looks like it is snowing in the background. The tree and background are a mix of a little light and dark and mostly midtones.

This image above popped up for me a few weeks ago on Facebook. A fun image, but oh boy is it hard to read!

So what’s the problem?

The image in the background makes the text very difficult to read. There are a number of reasons why including the amount of detail in the picture distracts from the text and there isn’t enough contrast between the text and image (contrast is the difference between dark and light).

The main issue with the text is that capital letters are harder to read (especially at a glance) for many people than lower case.

It’s a cute message, so I had a go at making the more inclusive, accessible versions below. Would you change anything else?

An image of a decorated Christmas tree with gifts in front is on the left. On the right it says KEEP CALM and do the Christmas shopping in white on a dark red background.
There is a Christmas tree icon at the top. Below that in dark red text it says KEEP CALM and do the Christmas Shopping. The background is red glitter with a white shape behind the text..

a sense of style

One of the most important things you can do to write accessible documents is to use Styles.

Styles allows you to set up a collection of fonts and settings for your text, headings, bullets and more. They do take a few minutes to set up, but you can then use them as a short cut to format your text, ensuring consistency throughout your document.

Styles are available in most word processing (document creation) programs and are super easy to find in Microsoft Word – where they sit toward the right of your Home tab in the ‘ribbon’ across the top of Word. You can find out more about how to use Styles on the Microsoft website.

Using Styles correctly – especially ensuring you use Heading styles in the correct order from 1 descending – allows you to build useful Contents lists, as well as enabling screen readers to read your text in a logical order for blind and vision impaired people.

the whole package

Most people think of easy read as a way of using language and words. It is, but it’s so much more!!

Which words you use in easy read can make and break it – but other things are just as important, such as:

  • Images
  • White space including line spacing
  • Order of the content
  • Which content is necessary for including
  • and much more.

In the next few posts I’ll discuss these more in depth. Let me know if you have any other questions I can help answer 😊

Example of an easy read policy explaining what a service agreement is.
Easy read policies from Carers ACT.