A Quick Guide to Effectively Communicate to Adults with Developmental Disabilities [PART II]

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As initially discussed in the first part, there are a number of general ways on how you can effectively communicate to your loved ones with developmental disabilities. Developmental disability is a group of long-term conditions that are characterized by mental and physical deficiencies. It can be detected early on but it persists throughout a person’s lifetime.

Bright Horizon Homes, where families recommend for developmental disability care services in Kanabec Dr. Wasilla Alaska, perceives one utmost concern for people with developmental disabilities and that is communication. It is laid down that they have communication problems; so what we can do now is to develop the rest of the family members’ capability to effectively communicate with them.

When you want to establish rapport:

  • Speak directly and avoid sugarcoating
  • Know the level of understanding and language-efficiency of the patient
  • Determine how the patient communicates – “Yes”, “No” etc.
  • Show positive comments, reinforcement, and regard
  • Gain the patient’s full attention thru eye contact, calling out their name, or by non-verbal gestures such as touching his/her arms prior to speaking
  • Encourage them to use “comforters”
  • Focus on the patient’s abilities
  • If the patient uses a communication technique or device, involve a caregiver who is familiar with it.
  • When choosing the right language:

  • Avoid shouting
  • Use concrete language
  • Use plain language
  • Use short, simple sentences
  • Be more direct with your commands– Say “Put your coat on” instead of “get ready” or “Are you upset? Are you sad? Are you happy?” instead of “What are you feeling?”
  • Use examples from daily and familiar routines
  • When listening:

  • Allow enough time
  • Listen to what the patient says
  • Be sensitive to tone of voice and nonverbal cues
  • Let the patient know when you do and do not understand
  • Several consultations may be required to complete a full assessment
  • When explaining:

  • Explain what will happen before you begin
  • Speak slowly. Do not shout.
  • Tell and show what you are going to do and why
  • Give the patient enough time to understand
  • Pause frequently, so as not to overload the patient with words
  • When communicating without words:
    Act or demonstrate

  • Use visual aids, pictures, patient’s communication book or familiar objects
  • Use familiar routines and environmental cues to understand or anticipate what will happen next
  • Use simple diagrams and gestures.
  • Let them write. Some people can better express in writing.
  • When possible and safe, allow the patient to handle and explore equipment
  • Point to body parts then act out procedures (e.g., checking ears, tongue, etc).
  • Some patients need auxiliary aid/service which varies from one case to another. These are some examples of aids and services but are not limited to the following:

  • Braille materials
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Simplified language documents
  • Large print documents
  • Computer Assisted Real Time text (CART)
  • Developmental disability care services

If you think you have to know more on how you can acquire the necessary aids and services that your loved ones need, call Bright Horizon Homes to get the quality developmental disability care services in Kanabec Dr. Wasilla Alaska today!

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