Free visual resources for children with a disability

The Say Less Show More (SLSM) initiative arose in response to the rollout of the NDIS and the increased expectation that mainstream services such as health would provide services that are more inclusive of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Supporting individuals with disabilities and their families and carers to participate in routine medical procedures such as physical examination and blood testing can contribute to better health outcomes for this population. SLSM seeks to support all children including those with a disability, their parents and carers with a series of simple photo stories (visuals) that illustrate what will happen during a physical examination or blood test. Adults with a disability are also likely to benefit from similar tools to improve communication between them and their health professional.

A set of resources is freely available on the ACI website and all health professionals, especially those in primary care, are encouraged to use them. Some work is being undertaken to develop resources for adults with IDD, and these are likely to include visuals for perioperative period as well.

Visuals were introduced to the emergency department at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Parents and staff reported favourably on their experience with SLSM visuals for a range of children including those who were from a non-English speaking background or were anxious. Parents wanted them to be used more widely within the health system so that their children could better understand what was going to happen.