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Communication: Children and Young People

By kploveskp Aug 17, 2012 1457 Words

The main focus of communication is in relation to the health and well-being of the child or young person. Particularly within my workplace, we attempt to establish the most effective methods of communication, and enabling children and young people to participate in communication. As well as communicating with children and young people, we also communicate with other professionals and non-professionals involved in their care. Communication is the sharing of information, ideas, views and emotions with others by speaking, writing, signs, symbols, touch, actions, body language or through the use of equipment. Play is also used to communicate with children and young people and also written communication can be paper-based or electronic. The ability to communicate plays a pivotal role in the promotion of social, emotional and educational development and is a vital life skill for everyone. Speech, language and communication difficulties can have an extremely negative impact on an individual in a variety of areas, including educational attainment, mental health and social interaction – all of which can be factors associated with offending and risk taking behaviours. Values

Rossie is committed to promoting the principles of the UNCRC – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – and providing the highest standard of information, consultation, support and empowerment to the children and young people who are placed in their services. Within Scotland, Getting it right for every child is a national programme to improve outcomes for all children and young people. It threads through all existing policy, practice, strategy guidance and legislation affecting children, young people and families. This includes their policy on Equality and Diversity. Equality and diversity is a term used to define and champion equality, diversity and human rights as defining values of society. It promotes equality of opportunity for all, giving every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination. As aforementioned, language is a powerful tool for communicating. This can be either inclusive or discriminatory. Promoting equality of opportunity, as the law requires, and fully embracing equality and diversity all imply using language sensitivity. Knowing what language to use when talking about sensitive issues, allows the conversation to happen. This is designed to help vulnerable children and young people to feel at ease with the language. It is also a reminder of the essence of equal opportunities: respect for the dignity of individuals and their preferences. Pictures are important in communicating equality and diversity. They can also be highly controversial; most people can relate to pictures and will have opinions on what they see, so when compiling a child friendly report, all pictures must be sensitive to stereotyping etc. This is seen in our Placement Plans which are compiled using carefully selected clip art which encourages the young people to participate. Young people are often stereotyped, with the view of what young people do or fail to do. Stereotyping fails to recognise and value individuals and assumes that there is a single identity for all young people and that they all behave in the same way. Within Rossie I have come across many young people from the same area, run in the same community of people, share some of the same values, but their responses and personalities will be far from identical. For all practitioners involved in the care of a young person, it is often necessary to look over their background records enabling quick engagement with a young person. These background reports have been carefully compiled by a wide range of specialist agencies, all communicating closely with each other, all seeing the child or young person as an individual in their own right. Method

When thinking about communication we must look at a number of differing factors. Receiving and sending information is an important aspect of communicating. As well as communicating information with the young people, social workers and legal guardians also receive regular updates on the young person. This is done as and when anything important or urgent has occurred and also on a weekly basis where they receive transition minutes from meetings which has been held discussing the individual. Care workers predominantly send the information to individuals interested in the care of the young person. Sometimes the method of communication is dictated by the circumstances so if the situation requires an immediate response then you are likely to pick up the telephone and call the recipient or send them an email direct to their personal address. Alternatively you may choose to send a fax, this method is fast, almost instant, but these methods are not considered as safe as a posted document marked ‘Strictly Confidential’ who can only be opened by the person who is named on the envelope. This method may be entirely appropriate for information which is too confidential to be sent by other means. Confidentiality and Data Protection

Good codes of practice, means we are wary of the type of information and to who we send it to. The purpose of reports, or ultimately a file, is to provide an accurate and up-to-date picture of an individual’s situation, and a historical record which can be referred to in the future. Some of this information is required to be disclosed to other professionals so we must always be careful to make sure it is accurate and necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, clear, easy to read and shared security only with those who need to see it. Anyone processing personal data must abide by the Data Protection Act 1998. Confidentiality is an important right for all children and young people because in some situations, the young people and their families may not trust a care worker who does not keep information confidential. Also the safety of children and their families may be at risk if details of their whereabouts are made available, particularly those who gauge media interest. And mainly, children and young people have a right to be valued and not have private and personal information shared with others; although boundaries have to be balanced. As a childcare professional I may have to tell my team leader or duty manager about something learned in confidence. The information is not made public, so it is still confidential to the organisation. With reference to the National Care Standards, it is my intention fully to nurture, keep safe and ensure privacy to all children and young people in my care. Communicating with Children and Young People

In order to communicate effectively we must look into some of the communication difficulties, we as Care Workers, face in our working day, and even closer at the reasons why they have become difficult. It is essential to provide active support to children and young people residing at Rossie, to enable individuals to communicate their needs, views and preferences using their preferred method and medium of communication and language. It is important whilst working with children and young people that I am able to communicate with them and those people who are important to them. Effective communication contributes towards the achievement of all the outcomes for children and underpins almost all of the work I do. Having said this, it is not just about talking – we use touch, facial expressions and body movement when we are communicating with people face to face. Using touch to communicate your care and concern is often useful and appropriate. Many children and young people find it comforting to have their hand held or stroked, or to have an arm around their shoulders. In all of these situations we must remember to always ask the child’s permission first. Being aware of a child’s body language is essential when it comes to communicating through the use of touch as it should tell you if he or she finds touch acceptable. Communication is a two-way process so it is important that we actively listen constantly. For most people, not just the children and young people I work with at Rossie, feeling that someone is really listening makes a huge difference to how confident they feel about talking. Communication is the basis of all relationships, regardless of whether the relationships are personal or professional. When you work with a child or young person, you will get to know that individual and your relationship will grow. This is not an easy process, however, every communication with a child or young person, no matter how small, will be contributing to building a relationship. And this attribute is something that Rossie embraces and encourages with its employees. Relationships are absolutely necessary and beneficial for both employees and children and young people in their care and so, communication is the most important skill I, as a residential care worker possess.

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