Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

5.2 Getting the communication right

The next activity asks you to consider good communication between families and support workers, when the person has profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities.

Activity 5 Ask the family

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Watch this video of people with profound or severe learning disabilities taking part in performing arts.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 5
Skip transcript: Video 5

Transcript: Video 5

WILLIAM
Hello. I'm William. And this is Ahmed. We come here every Friday.
WOMAN
What I enjoy about this, it makes me, even if I'm not feeling happy, the minute that I come here, my sadness is taken away. It's full of joy.
CIARA BRENNAN
It's a session that uses the performing arts through music and movements and dramatic exploration to allow participants to be able to communicate and connect with each other and with their carers.
JESSIE PERCIVAL
We spend a lot of time working with them, kind of understanding how they move, what they can do, what they enjoy, how they want to relate to each other in the space.
CHARLENE LOW
It's a very personal experience, very openly social as well. You get to know who likes what, and you tailor something so magically, it's personal to just that one person.
[DRUMMING]
[CHANTING]
CHARLENE LOW
Fantastic. So really try to point that foot [INAUDIBLE]. Give it a little wiggle round your ankle.
End transcript: Video 5
Video 5
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Now imagine you are one of the drama workers.

  1. Write down four questions you would ask a family carer about the person you are working with.
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Answer

Questions you could have asked include:

  • What does s/he enjoy doing?
  • What does s/he like to eat and drink?
  • Does s/he have any particular medical problems?
  • Is there anyone in the group s/he particularly likes to be with?
  • Does s/he have any special talents to build on?
  1. Write down two ways to share with families what their relative has been doing in the drama class.
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Answer

Methods for sharing their experience with their family might include:

  • A written diary, maybe one where the family member can respond.
  • Using an iPad or mobile phone to take photos and share them using social media, email or text. This could also invite response from the carer.

Maintaining positive communication between families and support staff can be time consuming for everyone, but getting it right can have huge benefits.

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