As part of the Level Playing Field 'Weeks of Action' this evening we are pleased to announce that this evening we will begin the use of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to assist people who are unable to communicate through speech. This may be due to a learning disability, autism, or following a stroke for example.

The system uses picture cards for communication. It is one method that a person with a severe speech disorder can use to indicate their basic needs, likes and dislikes. This may reduce frustration and social isolation and promotes inclusion.

Within the stadium it can be used to signpost facilities, such as toilets, refreshment areas, or the medical room for example. It can enable a person to express their feelings or needs to staff on a matchday, or to ask for help if required. It will also be accessible at food and refreshment outlets within the stadium to assist with making choices & ordering.

This evening we will be utilising the system in the Bridge McFarland Stand and members of staff at catering points and key members of staff will also be utilising the system.

This will be done through symbols on grids, that can be specially adapted to each area of the stadium. There will also be packs available through the Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) , that can be borrowed for use on a matchday, that include grids that aid conversation about the game, these can be pre-booked by e-mailing dlo@lcfcstaff.co.uk prior to a matchday, or by asking the DLO or a Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) upon arrival at the ground. There is only a limited number of these available so pre-booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.

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“I have worked on this project with the help and support of Michelle McCourt a teacher at a local Special school. Michelle pointed out to me that this system is used in specialist education and care settings around the country and children with communication difficulties are taught to express themselves in this way.” Said Heidi Langham, Lincoln City’s Disability Liaison Officer.  

“However, when not in these settings, this method of being able to communicate may not be available, even more so when a young adult reaches school leaving age, so their ability to interact effectively may be cut off.

“Inclusion for all is so important and if this initiative helps to make a person feel that their matchday experience has been improved, and their autonomy respected then it’s invaluable and therefore as DLO I shall continue to look at ways to build upon the work we have done with this at the club and any user feedback or comments would be welcomed.”