A new social enterprise has been launched to publish a series of picture books that help people with learning and communication difficulties tackle challenging and emotional events.
Beyond Words is a spin-out company from St George’s, University of London. It will produce the well-established Books Beyond Words series, which uses pictures instead of words to communicate with adults and adolescents who cannot read, or have difficulty reading or communicating. The books aim to help readers cope with emotions, life challenges and events such as love, relationships, abuse, health, death and crime.
Each book tells stories in pictures – including mime and body language – to communicate simple, explicit messages that help readers explore and understand their own experiences. They are developed in consultation with people with learning disabilities, professional consultants, artists and advisers to ensure their quality and relevance. To mark the launch of the company, three new books have been published; Sonia’s Feeling Sad, Ron’s Feeling Blue, and Loving Each Other Safely – tackle the emotions of sadness and love.
The books are the brainchild of Baroness Hollins, who is professor of the psychiatry of learning disability at St George’s, University of London and has been working with people with learning disabilities and mental health problems for 30 years. “These books actively address the problems of understanding that people with learning and communication difficulties experience,” Baroness Hollins said. “People with learning disabilities have found the books of great benefit in a variety of circumstances, from giving evidence at the criminal court to enabling them to give informed consent.”
All the profits generated from the books will be invested back into Beyond Words.