How To Effectively Communicate With People Who Have Developmental Disabilities
There are over 6 million intellectually disabled individuals in the United States. If you are in charge of providing care for a friend or family member with a developmental disability, you need to learn how to communicate with them effectively. The approach you need to take when communicating with a developmentally disabled person will vary based on the individual.
Generally, people who act as a caregiver for a developmentally disabled person will have to try a number of approaches before they find an effective way to communicate. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when trying to develop a way to communicate with a developmentally disabled person.
Provide Clear Explanations
In the beginning stages of your job as a caregiver to a developmentally disabled person, you will be presented with a variety of questions. Generally, the individual in question will want to know why you need to do things like brushing their hair or help them get dressed. When confronted with these questions, you need to provide clear and decisive answers to avoid confusion.
For instance, if you are trying to brush the hair of a developmentally disabled person, display the motion you will use to accomplish this task on your own hair. If the person wants to know why you need to do this, simply explain to them it is to help them look nice and presentable. This clear explanation and visual representation of what you have to do should be enough to get the developmentally disabled person to comply without any problems occurring.
Avoid Using Abstract Language
As the caregiver for a developmentally disabled person, you will be in charge of helping with everyday tasks. You also need to help them express how they feel by using concrete language. Rather than asking a developmentally disabled person how they feel, simply ask if they are sad, happy or angry. If the person you are providing care to is attempting to explain something, ask them to show you if you are having a hard time comprehending.
You also need to provide clear instructions when trying to get a developmentally disabled person to get dressed for an outing. Instead of telling the person to get ready, you need to lay out what they have to do step by step. This will help them clearly understand what is expected of them and will remove any confusion from this situation.
Visual Aids Can Come in Handy
If you are having trouble communicating with a developmentally disabled person using words, you need to think outside of the box. One of the main things you should try when faced with this problem is visual aids. A developmentally disabled person should be able to grasp a concept better if they have a picture or a gesture to use a reference
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