Facilitation should be about finding ways to make learning easy for everyone.
Everyone has abilities, and limits to those abilities. Nobody should be excluded because of their needs or a disability.
Participation and inclusion is one of the core values of the Active Citizens programme, for both facilitators and participants. With that in mind, here are a few things to remember when considering diverse needs in relation to disability.
Applying a disability lens to Active Citizens
We are working hard to ensure the Active Citizens programme is a model of inclusivity. In practice, this means that everyone involved in the design and delivery of the programme should take the needs of all into account.
For facilitators, this means being proactive about current guidance around disability, inclusion and mainstreaming approaches. Read more about our approach in the social development themes section of the toolkit.
Make your workshop accessible for everyone
Physical or motor disabilities
Always think about how long people have been sat down. Try to avoid participants needing to be seated in a session for too long without a break. This won't just benefit people with impairments, it will benefit everyone involved in the training.
Be sensitive to participants that might find moving around a room, having to move between rooms, climb rough terrain or take long walks difficult. Consider this as part of your workshop pre-planning.
When using the Gallery Walk activity, make sure posters are displayed at a height accessible to everyone’s eye line and ask whether people are comfortable standing for necessary periods.
Vision and hearing impairments
If there are visually impaired people participating in your workshop, anything written down on paper should also be visually described.
Be sensitive when using visual aids and capturing information. For example, during mind mapping sessions. It is good practice to vocalise and recap what is being written for people who do not wish to rely on text or visuals.
Equally, it can be helpful to write down or pictorialise any points for participants who may be hard of hearing or learn more effectively visually.
Remember, participation and inclusion needs extend beyond just the physical:
- Consider any potential participation issues in advance. For example, around gender, language and participants from minority groups.
- Discuss participation and inclusion on the first day, and agree how everyone will support one another to fully participate. Think about barriers together and how you will overcome them.
- Being strong about upholding what was agreed. This will give strength to participants who might be feeling unable to participate fully and encourage to others to share their concerns too. If there are dominant participants, discuss the issue with them in private.
- Think about how you can engage and support those who are not participating fully. It might help to ask one or two volunteers to monitor participation. Do not address anyone in public who you think is not participating. Wait to talk to them in private.