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Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, has confirmed that simplified reading, or so-called in English language (Easy Read) is a method the city seeks to establish in the Arab world as a method of easy reading such as Braille or Physical or audio books, etc. This method aims to provide information to people with intellectual disabilities and those with learning difficulties and enable them to have easy access to knowledge using simple and uncomplicated vocabulary and pictures that help to understand the content.
This came in the speech delivered by Sheikha Jameela Al Qasimi on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at the opening of the Al Manal Forum (Simply. Easy Read and Disability), which the city organized to celebrate the entry of Al Manal magazine in its new year.
International specialists from 12 Arab and foreign countries participated in the forum to address the challenges facing accessible books through capacity building, formation of a network of partners, and implementation of initiatives.
On this occasion, Sheikha Jameela announced the launch of the Arab Standards Document for Easy Read from Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services after returning to different international standards. This document came because of the workshops in which a group of specialists from different Arab countries participated. She confirmed that the document is available on the city’s website, in addition to a number of Easy Read documents for use.
At the conclusion of the forum, participants emphasised the importance of (Easy Read) and raising awareness of the need to include it among the means of easy access to knowledge for people with disabilities in local and federal laws. They also asked to provide a service for preparing simple reading documents in Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services to support government departments and institutions in Sharjah and the state. This would support accessible content and simplify government documents and transactions, instructions and laws
The recommendations also affirmed the training of workers with persons with intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties or institutions that direct their services to people with intellectual disabilities to acquire skills for preparing simplified reading documents. They should publish the Arabic standards for simple reading that Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services worked on for reference in preparing Arab simplified documents. They should update it periodically, which will be available on the city website.
In addition to empowering persons with intellectual disabilities and self-advocates of their role in the process of preparing simplified reading documents, and inviting publishers’ unions and associations in the Arab world to find and create mechanisms and means of support for publishing houses and institutions working to produce accessible books. Especially in the simplified reading method.