Have you ever stopped to think about what is needed to hear and understand a spoken question from a loved one or a teacher? Or what needs to happen in order to respond? How about how your balance system works to keep you walking in a straight line? Or how eating and swallowing your favourite dessert just seems to happen?
We often take our hearing, speech and language, balance and swallowing for granted. It all seems to work, until it doesn’t. That’s where the Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia (HSNS) team comes in. More than 100,000 Nova Scotians have a communication disorder and last year, roughly 27,000 clients reached out to us for help. On this week, National AccessAbility Week, we’re recognizing the importance of providing accessible services to all Nova Scotians.
In Nova Scotia, the Accessibility Act was passed in 2017 and outlines what we need to do to improve accessibility to ensure that every Nova Scotian can participate in our society. The Act identifies accessibility as a human right and sets a goal of an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030.
As a result, one of our goals was to ensure that our new website was more accessible. We reached out to more than 35 community partners, stakeholders and clients and families to better understand their needs. One thing was clear: we needed a better website and one that was more user-friendly and accessible for all.
Earlier this year we were thrilled to launch our new website, designed with accessibility top of mind. Our website adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), making our website more accessible for individuals with disabilities. Because HSNS provides service to all Nova Scotians, our website is also built with enhanced features to assist in accessing the information more easily. These features are meant to help those with visual, language, cognitive, learning, physical and neurological conditions access our website more readily.
Here, you can find hearing and speech resources, learn about our audiology and speech-language pathology services, our 35 locations in 25 communities throughout Nova Scotia or how to connect with us to book an appointment. You can learn about our Partners in Care Committee (PIC), comprised of Nova Scotians who have received our services and volunteer to work with us to make our services better. Or you can meet our volunteer Board of Directors – and so much more! This is so much more than a website. And at any time, you can always reach out to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-888-780-3330.
Our services are provided for free with a valid Nova Scotia Health card, without the need for a doctor’s referral. We encourage you to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about our services, and to drop by our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages to see what is happening next.