Communication Support

Some people find communication hard. Some find it difficult to understand things, some find it difficult to talk, or to say what they mean. This can mean that they are not able to learn about ways to stay healthy, and can find it hard to explain if they are not well.

Shetland Islands Council and NHS Shetland have been working together to help people with learning disabilities get healthier, by supporting good communication. To do this, we have been working with volunteers from the learning disability community on a project called “We Are Equal!”

To learn more about why we are helping people with learning disabilities get healthier click here for the Scottish Government's Learning Disability strategy, The Keys to Life.

Communication Aids

Communication is not just talking!

There are lots of different ways to communicate. You can use...

body language, expressions, gestures, pictures, symbols, writing, signing, objects, iPads, computers... and much more! You can learn more at Oxfordshire Total Communication. Total Communication is about communicating in the most accessible way for someone, which might not always be talking.

Through the "We Are Equal!" Project, we have created a Communication Toolkit using pictures and symbols to help everyone communicate better with each other.

The toolkits contain visual aids, symbols, information, activities, Talking Mats, visual timetables as well as guides on other ways of supporting communication.

Anyone can ask for a Communication Toolkit: professionals, teams, or people with communication difficulties. We make them to suit you, so you can pick what you would like included in your toolkit and what symbols you need.

If you would like to know more about the toolkits or would like one made for you please get in touch.

If you already have a toolkit and would like something changed or added just let us know .

Have trouble saying what you mean? Look for the Communication Toolkit Poster for support in local health and community services:

You can ask for communication support with a toolkit in these places:

  • Audiology Department (Gilbert Bain Hospital)
  • Boots the Chemist
  • Health Improvement
  • Market House
  • Physiotherapy (Gilbert Bain Hospital)
  • Supported Living and Outreach
  • Gilbert Bain Hospital Pharmacy


As part of the We Are Equal! Project we have been training people in how to communicate better with people who have difficulty in understanding things or saying what they mean.

Our volunteers created a poster presentation for our training sessions:

If you are a professional, and want to improve your communication, we are happy to provide tailored training sessions for you and your team. We will look at ways to support good communication in your workplace and some tools and strategies you can use.

NHS Education for Scotland have made an online learner's workbook which is a good place to start if you want to learn more.



We have worked together with NB Communication to create this website. We want the website to be easy for everyone to understand and to let people know how to stay healthy in Shetland. For more easy read information on staying healthy, you can explore NHS inform's Easy Info Zone or find easy read leaflets on the Easy Health website.