What type of communication strategies can be used to address an audience comprising both physically impaired people and healthy people combined together?

Expert Answers
carolynosborne eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Physical disabilities can influence people's interests and their abilities to take in information. Communication strategies that address both realities are most effective. 

Physical impairments can strongly influence how someone gains access to information. For example, a person who is hearing impaired may not get much from a lecture while a person who is visually impaired might struggle to understand concepts that are presented in a visual diagram. Fortunately, with technology these issues can be overcome. The concept of Universal Design for Learning (cast.org) helps communicators develop multi-faceted ways of presenting information so that all audience members can access it. 

A live presenter can leverage visual image and sound so that all information is presented in both media. Using a sign interpreter can help with people who understand sign; providing text in the form of notes can help with those who cannot hear a lecture well enough to understand it but do not use sign. Providing audible descriptions of visual images can help people who have visual impairments. The point of Universal Design for Learning is that these accommodations assist audience members with obvious physical disabilities, but they can also benefit people without disabilities through making the information clearer. 

A good communicator knows his or her audience--their interests and their motivations. People with disabilities vary greatly, as do people without disabilities, although having a disability might make certain presentations less attractive to some people. A person who is blind from birth may not be interested in the history of painting and might need some extra reasons why this topic might be important to him or her. Effective communication requires the presenter to build a bridge between the audience and the topic. 

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