Learning Disability

Topics: Communication, Nonverbal communication, Disability Pages: 5 (1416 words) Published: August 29, 2013
Learning disabilities is caused by the way our brain develops. It appears they are triggered by a dysfunction of the central nervous system. For me having an insight into learning disability has provided me with awareness to the causes and the way care and treatment is provided. Markovna et al. 2004 define communication as a difficulty to receive, send and comprehend information as well as process verbal and non-verbal aspects. Communication is identified as one of the essential skills that students must acquire in order to make progress through their education and training to become qualified nurses (NMC, 2010). Communication can be defined as the process of transmitting information and common understanding from one person to another (Keyton, 2011).

The biggest challenge I faced is communicating in a way clients understand and having the ability to alter the way I communicate when dealing with different illnesses. Communication with people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) is vital as well as being aware of the different methods and being able to adjust to individuals needs. The ability to communicate effectively with those who may have different communication requirements enables affective delivery of care and minimizes any potential risks (Jackson et al. 2008). At the end of the day communication is a basic human right and is essential for therapeutic interventions.

I will use Kolb’s model of reflection as a framework to base my experience on. Kolb (1984) devised an experiential learning cycle. His model highlights the concept of experimental learning and looks at the transformation of information into knowledge. It focuses on analysing the understanding of a situation after it’s happened and then testing this knowledge on a new situation by recalling our observations and reflecting upon them.

The study of communication is important, because every activity involves some form of direct or indirect communication. Two common elements in every communication exchange are the sender and the receiver. A problem in any of the elements in the model can cause a disruption to the effectiveness of communication (Keyton, 2011). Nonverbal gestures, facial expressions, body position, and even clothing can transmit messages. Four types of barriers are process barriers, physical barriers, semantic barriers, and psychosocial barriers (Eisenberg, 2010).

Berlow (1960) devised a model of communication called the SMCR model (Source, message, channel and receiver). The main focus is on the relationship between the source and the receiver. One of the major flaws in Berlow’s model is that according to him both people need to same on the same level for effective communication to take place. However his model is seen

I observed that the challenging behavior that is demonstrated in these clients is a sign of not being able to understand what is going on and in those that struggle to communicate their feelings back. It is a demanding field that requires time and a lot of patience and a motivated interest in wanting to understand. I have had to be aware of my how my communication has been interpreted by those by using techniques that require them to confirm their understanding. This included using simple, short sentences and trying to avoid saying something that can be misunderstood. The most common methods I was exposed to on my experience were verbal communication, British Sign language (BSL), Makaton, the use of pictorials and words, making noises, slight aggression and most commonly the use of ‘touch’. I had the experience of learning basic sign language and was able to put this in to use with a member of staff who was deaf. As nurses we need to ensure that everyone’s way of communication is valued.

Facial expressions, body language and gestures are equally important as some clients were unable to understand speech therefore relied heavily on these methods. I was given the opportunity to see...

References: Berlow (1960)
Department of Health (2001) Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century
Jackson, S, Read, J. (2008) 'Providing Appropriate Healthcare to People with Learning Disabilities ' British Journal of Nursing (Learning Disabilities Supplement), 17 (4), pp. 1-10.
Keyton, J. (2011). Communication and organizational culture: A key to understanding work experience. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Kolb D
Markovna, Z., Tupper, D. (2004) Communication disorders and personality. Springer
Mencap (2008) ‘The arts and people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)’ at www.mencap.org.uk/guides
Nursing midwifery council (2001). Introduction to communication skills. Standards for pre-registration nursing education
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