Elena Bulfone - Cultural life and museums of people with cognitive disabilities from Ranofilms on Vimeo.
What are the most useful and effective things to promote participation in the cultural life and museums of people with cognitive disabilities or learning difficulties? Compared with other disabilities, people with cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties are not sufficiently taken into consideration.
This approach has historical reasons, since the focus has been addressed primarily on people with mobility impairments, on wheelchairs, and therefore on physical accessibility, and on people with sensory disabilities, like blind and deaf people. Today, people with cognitive disabilities are more numerous than all other types of disability and express a wide range of needs.
It is important to take care of this reality, because, by taking care of people with cognitive disability, we actually open up accessibility to all those people who in everyday life have these kinds of cognitive difficulties and disorders, and I think for example of people with learning difficulties. I also think of all those people with an educational gap, to foreigners, to nursery and primary school children, and to the elderly, or to people with dementia.
Therefore, it is really important to use plain language. And when I talk about plain language, I actually talk about something extremely complex. Simplifying language is not simple. It cannot be done by anyone. It is a job that needs to be done by experts. And I'll give you an example: if I want to simplify a sentence, I mustn’t use pronouns, but the proper names of the things I want to mention; and then I must use simple verbs and objects so that they can be understandable for people with cognitive disability.
This kind of work takes a lot of time and it isn’t often accepted by people who deal with culture, because this plain language adopts sentences too simple and with “no frills”, maybe even a little redundant in its prosody, but it is fundamental to do this work if you want to be really accessible.