Barriers and enablers to communication with people with intellectual disability
Do not assume a person with an intellectual disability cannot communicate.
Barriers to communicationBarriers to communication impact on the ability of the person to navigate the many facets of life; from doing their own shopping, to attending a medical appointment. These barriers can be described as internal or external to the person.
What does good communication look like?
- Building rapport and keeping the individual central to decisions.
- Don’t forget, you communicate more through non-verbal means than through the spoken word. So, being sensitive to non-verbal language, feelings and displaying empathy builds the relationship of trust with the person. This can show the person with an intellectual disability you are keenly interested. We will be exploring this in more detail later on this week.
Key communication skillsTake some time to review these key communication skills.
- Allow time to have a conversation with a person with an intellectual disability. Not being rushed and not rushing the person are key to ensuring an appropriate pace.
- Recognising and flagging the need for reasonable adjustment instead of allowing the need for adjustment to arise speaks volumes for a positive approach. It also focuses on the communication need itself, rather than highlighting the impairment.
- Being person-centred demonstrates that you are serious about getting it right, and you want to build and sustain patient involvement. Person-centredness is about keeping the person with the intellectual disability at the centre of all communication, decisions, and planning, and ensuring they are consulted throughout their journey through the health service.
Improving Health Assessments for People with an Intellectual Disability
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