As a carer it is my role and responsibility to support individuals to express themselves. The way in which I 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 service user 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 I am supporting their rights. Analyse features of the environment that may help or hinder communication. It is difficult and frustrating to communicate effectively when there is background noise, therefore arranging the environment to aid communication is very important step to achieving effective communication with individuals. I should arrange the individual’s environment to facilitate effective communication and promote understanding. This can be done by ensuring privacy and going into a quiet room.
Some factors that can hinder good communication are: •Poor lighting, individuals with poor sight are unable to see you •Background noise from the TV, radio, other individuals •Obstacles between you as a care worker and the service user e. g. furniture •Insufficient distance between myself and the individual, leading to encroaching on their personal space. Analyse reasons why an individual may use a form of communication that is not based on a formal language system Sensory disabilities Disabilities which affect an individual’s senses, and in turn affect communication, include hearing loss and sight loss.
These are the two main senses on which humans rely to interact with their environment. Without sight or hearing (or indeed both) communication will be affected and alternative methods will need to be used. Hearing loss The term ‘hearing loss’ can mean someone who is profoundly deaf, as well as individuals who are hard of hearing (someone who can hear but has difficulty). Individuals with pre-lingual deafness (born deaf) will have usually learnt sign language in order to communicate. However, individuals with post-lingual deafness normally only have verbal speech as a means of communication.
It is for this reason they will need support in order to communicate effectively. Sight loss Sight plays an important role in communication. More than 90 per cent of what we communicate is through non-verbal communication. This is communicated through our body language – how we stand, our facial expressions, movements we make with our hands. If what we communicate is less than 10 per cent verbal, then an individual without sight will miss out on a huge amount of information needed to make the communication effective. Much like hearing loss, sight loss can occur before birth (congenital) or after birth.
Individuals who lose their sight after birth may experience different difficulties in communication to those who were born without sight. Losing your sight at a later stage in life can create acceptance difficulties and the need to learn a new method of communication. Learning disabilities Up to 90 per cent of individuals with a learning disability have some form of specific communication need. Many individuals with a learning disability have no identified cause of their communication difficulty. Individuals with learning disabilities can be affected mildly, moderately or severely.
Four out of five individuals with severe learning disabilities have no effective verbal speech. Down’s syndrome Down’s syndrome is a chromosomal disorder where the foetus is developed with an extra chromosome at pair 21. Approximately 75 per cent of individuals with Down’s syndrome have difficulties with their hearing. Combine this with a learning disability and these individuals have an increased difficulty in communication. Individuals with Down’s syndrome can have difficulty in forming words and speech sounds, resulting in their speech being difficult to understand. Autism
Individuals with autism have Communication disorders which can make it difficult for the individuals to communicate and interact with their surroundings for example; •echolalia (repeating words spoken to them without knowing or understanding their meaning); use of phrases out of context; misreading others’ non-verbal cues. •a lack of eye contact, a difficulty initiating and sustaining interactions due to limited concentration span. Physical disabilities When the physical disability affects the individual’s facial muscles or vocal cords their verbal communication can be affected.
If it affects their bodily movement or head control it can affect their non-verbal communication. Cerebral palsy The causes of this condition are vast, all leading to damage of the individual’s brain. Cerebral palsy can cause differing disabilities depending on the part of the brain affected. The individual with cerebral palsy may have difficulty communicating or developing recognisable speech. Other physical disabilities which can affect communication are cerebral vascular accident – stroke (CVA), motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkism.