Support individuals with specific communication needs
1 Understand specific communication needs and factors affecting them 1.1 Explain the importance of meeting an individual’s communication needs It is therefore important for the carer to be aware of the individuals preferred method of communication and also to support the individual to use their preferred method. Individuals have the right to communicate through their chosen method and their choice should be acknowledged and respected by supporting them. The individual’s right are particularly important when using specific communication methods and language because it’s their major way of communicating their needs and preferences. Communication is a basic human right. Without communication the individual is unable to realise or exercise their rights. Under the Human Rights Act 1998 all individuals have the right to ‘freedom of expression’. If unable to communicate they would be denied these rights 1.2 Explain how own role and practice can impact on communication with an individual who has specific communication needs The way in which you can do this is by assessing their needs, access information regarding their communication needs, providing the appropriate support, aids or equipment, encouraging and motivating communication, working with others and by monitoring the effectiveness of that support. Without the appropriate support the individual would be unable to express their needs or how they are feeling which can lead to both emotional and physical difficulties. By fully supporting individuals with specific communication needs you are able to support their rights 1.3 Analyse features of the environment that may help or hinder communication Support individuals with specific communication needs:
Features of the environment that may help or hinder communication include: Visual Factors
Lighting conditions: light should be on the talker's face
Interfering objects: visual noise
Distance: no further than 6 feet from the talker
Talker's Face: face/mouth should not be covered
should be well-lit
no eating, chewing, smoking
moustaches and/or beards
Viewing Angle: best to be seated in front of the talker
Vision: use of corrective lenses if needed
Noise: air conditioners, fans, TV, radio, other talkers, etc. Distance: no further than 6 feet from the talker
Echo: too many hard surfaces
Fatigue, illness, stress: make concentration difficult
Inadequate ventilation: makes concentration difficult
Attitude: can affect success or failure
Preparation: can affect success or failure
Situation some situations are easier than others
1.4 Analyse reasons why an individual may use a form of communication that is not based on a formal language system Reasons an individual may use a form of communication that is not based on a formal language system include the fact that they are not trained or taught in formal language systems, for example, if a person could not talk or write but could hear, and either you or they didn't know sign language then you could ask a question and say "press once for yes and twice for no", hence you are using a form of communication that is not based on a formal language system
Here are some examples of ways a person mite communicate and why deaf person who uses sign language where signs, facial expressions and gestures are used to convey meaning visually instead of orally (eg British Sign Language, finger spelling). Or pictures and symbols of common or everyday objects and situations that allow people with compromised speech to point at what they need, eg flash cards.
They may not share a language system with the recipient of the communication.
They may not be able to speak for some medical or physiological reason. E.g stoke or brain injury
They may not be able to access their normal language skills (e.g following a stroke).
There may be a barrier to normal methods of communication (distance or a noisy environment).
They may be operating in a dangerous situation in which the sound of speech would increase their danger e.g. military or police.
They may be operating in a situation where sound would alert a prey animal or target, enabling it to escape e.g. a hunting trip or police trying to catch a suspect.
The form of communication may be behavioural e.g. body language, picture drawing or acting it out using different materials .
The communication may take the form of an image in which symbolism communicates the message.
An individual may use a form of communication that is not based on a formal language system because they might not have been taught the right way or not at all, might have found it hard so made their own way of communicating up. 1.5 Identify a range of communication methods and aids to support individuals to communicate A range of communication methods and aids that support individuals to communicate include writing, reading, talking, sign language, body language, hearing aids and speech aids etc Be prepared to accept various ways of communicating from people who have communication disabilities (e.g., devices, displays or a communications assistant.) • Do not assume that a person has difficulty understanding what you are saying. However, be aware that some people do have these additional challenges. • A person with a communication disability usually needs more time to communicate. • Find a quiet place to talk with minimal distractions so that you can concentrate on the conversation. • Ask the person: “Is there anything I need to know or do that will assist us when communicating?” You should not ask the person to tell you why they have a communication disability. Focus on finding out what she/he wants you to do to assist. • Follow the person’s instructions and, if necessary, provide any communication supports she/he requires (e.g., more time, a communication assistant, a sign language interpreter or alternate text formats). 1.6 Describe the potential effects on an individual of having unmet communication needs A communication disability can be a hidden disability. This lack of recognition can be a barrier to effective participation. Lack of understanding can result in people's behaviour being misunderstood. A person may be described as 'challenging' mood swings etc. They may become withdrawn from other people. But their behaviour may be a result of an unmet communication support need 2 Be able to contribute to establishing the nature of specific communication needs of individuals and ways to address them 2.3 Explain how and when to access information and support about identifying and addressing specific communication needs In my work setting we get an assessment plan before the individual arrives. This tells us of any specific needs the individual has on all aspects of their care. We then complete care plans, with the individual, to support them during their stay. Observing their interaction with others is a good way of finding out information also. Talk to the individual, their family/carers, other professionals involved in their care. If aids are needed (hearing aids, picture cards, pen and paper) make sure that these are available. If language is a barrier maybe learning a few words of their language would help. If their needs change you need to adapt to the changes. 5 Know how to support the use of communication technology and aids 5.1 Identify specialist services relating to communication technology and aids Communication aids include:
charts with pictures, symbols, letters or words
electronic voice output devices
specially adapted computers
You may be able to obtain communication aids from:
your local Health and Social Care Trust (HSC) speech and language therapy services local education authorities
schools and colleges
Speech and language therapy (people with disabilities section). Equipment is available through the Access to Work programmer. To find out more about communication aids go through your doctor (GP) to contact your local HSC speech and language therapy service. Staff at this local service will, if necessary; refer you to HSC regional centres which are staffed by speech and language therapists, and sometimes occupational therapists. The therapists can assess your needs and advise on the most suitable aid
5.2 Describe types of support that an individual may need in order to use communication technology and aids People with conditions like Motor Neurone Disease may benefit from use of alphabet or topic boards to help give cues to those around them about what they are saying.
People with Acquired Brain Injury have found taking pictures of their therapy sessions via a smart phone a great way to remember what they did in a day and an easy way to share this information with their family & friends. Modern smart phones and apps are being used by people with a variety of cognitive and communication problems to support them to recall what they did in a day, to share pictures of events with loved ones and to communicate via a device that the general public also uses. Choosing the right system to suit individual strengths and needs Arranging trial periods with electronic aids
Training on use of signs, symbols and writing to communicate Training on use of the communication aid
Programming and updating of the communication aid
Supporting use of the device at home and in the community
5.3 Explain the importance of ensuring that communication equipment is correctly set up and working properly It is important for individual to be able to communicate so ensuring that there equipment is set up by the correctly by the right person and the individual so shown how to use it. It must be pat test every 12 month