Learning Disabilty - Reflective Case Study

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This essay is a reflective account, I will be talking about communication in regards to learning disabilities, and it will explore needs of the client or clients, styles of communication and effectiveness of communication in creating advocacy, empowerment and choice for the client. ‘Reflective practice is something more than thoughtful practice. It is that form of practice which seeks to problematize many situations of professional performance so that they can become potential learning situations and so the practitioners can continue to learn, grow and develop in and through practice.’ (Jarvis 1992). Communication stems from the Latin word communicare, it is ‘imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium.’ (Oxford Dictionaries, 2005). The Gibbs reflective cycle will be used throughout the essay. Gibbs (1988) has five stages to his to his reflective cycle; it includes a description of what took place followed by feelings about it, and reflection on what thoughts and feeling were at the time. Then it is evaluated, has it been a positive or negative experience, the happening is then analysed and conclusions are made whether there could have been an alternative or what you could have done differently. Finally an action plan is thought of, what you would do if a similar experience ascended again in the future. Gibbs Reflective Cycle:

Communication is fundamental to nursing and can be used by nurses to encourage, inspire, educate clients and families by explain procedures or describing side effects of medication etc., facilitate mutual support, and acquire essential information necessary by performing client interviews for the overall well-being of the client. Along with communication, interpersonal skills will help establish verstehen and build a rapport with the client, it is important to be able to empathise and support your client to reduce their anxiety and stress. Therefore it is essential to establish and maintain competent communication and interpersonal skills. Interpersonal communication can be verbal and non-verbal, used as exchange of content or ideas between people or peoples. But it is only effective if the listener can interpret the context of the exchange and how they can act upon this new information. (Hoffman and Husband). According to Gould (1990), most non-verbal behaviours we use to reassure service users, for e.g. clam, soothing voice, touch, close proximity, paraphrasing, use of questions are all sub skills with the totality of empathy. Hence it is vital to have these skills when caring for clients with learning disabilities as they can’t always communicate successfully. (Antai-Otong 2007) Learning disability is a ‘delayed or incomplete intellectual development combined with social malfunction, such as education or occupational failure or inability of individuals to look after themselves.’ (Oxford Minidictionary for Nurses, 2008). Therefore it is a condition which hinders the learning capability of a person to acquire skills and knowledge to that of the normal level of a person the same age. This reduces a person’s ability to cope independently; it usually starts before adulthood and has a lasting effecting on their development. As a result they experience difficulty in understanding new complex information or learning new skills. Most people with learning disabilities will also experience social and communication skills or associated physical and sensory disabilities which will affect them carrying out their activities of daily living independently for e.g. health and safety, self-care and awareness.

To maintain confidentiality the client’s names will be replaced with pseudonyms, in accordance to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, (2010). Ben is a fourteen year old boy who has a learning disability called Asperger’s Syndrome, this is ‘a mild form of autism characterised by aloofness, lack of interest in other people, stilted and pedantic styles of speech, and...
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