People with an intellectual disability experience high levels of social exclusion and a range of health inequalities. Increased inclusion and participation in healthcare decision making have been identified as key to promoting inclusion in health and social care. However, achieving these objectives requires increased recognition of the communication and health literacy needs of individuals with an intellectual disability and consideration of the appropriateness of the information currently provided. In this article, we report the results of a pre-COVID-19 qualitative study exploring the provision and use of accessible information to support the healthcare inclusion of individuals with an intellectual disability. A total of 35 clinicians participated in focus group discussions, and 10 people with intellectual disabilities and 10 carers were interviewed regarding their experiences of using accessible health-related information. Qualitative data analysis using a framework approach highlighted the crucial role of communication partners when using accessible information, deficits in current National Health Service (NHS: UK’s publicly funded health care system) information provision in the UK, and possible broader relevance of accessible resources. The implications of these findings for the provision of accessible information in a post-COVID-19 environment are explored, and recommendations are made for the increased integration and theory-driven research to inform the provision, content, and use of health-related information, especially the provision of online information, in the future.


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Terras, M., Jarrett, D. & McGregor, S. 2021, 'The importance of accessible information in promoting the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability', Disabilities, 1(3), pp. 132-150. https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1030011

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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