An online course to help individuals and services achieve quality standards in communication with people with learning or communication challenges.
Who is this course for?
This course is for support workers who work with people with learning disabilities. It is also suitable for employees in public facing roles, for example working in a hospital, clinic, cafe, shop or leisure setting.
If your job brings you into contact with people who have learning or communication difficulties, it is essential that you properly understand the difficulties.
People with learning disabilities are known to be disadvantaged when accessing services or receiving care and support services. This also applies for leisure, hospitality and retail. A recurring theme is that frontline staff, key workers and support workers feel out of their depth if the person to receive services has communication difficulties.
Many people with learning disabilities have unclear speech or may not communicate with spoken words.
A very important part of getting communication right is helping people understand information. People with learning disabilities often need particular support here.
Services have a duty to know what they can do to provide support to help people understand and to apply best practice approaches.
Social situations and pressure to join in can be very difficult and unwelcome for some people and services must be understanding of this and be aware of ways to provide services and support which respects these communication difficulties.
Learning outcomes for the course
- to understand some of the communication difficulties the people you support or come into contact with may face
- to develop essential skills in communication so that you know what you can do to help get communication right with the people you support or come into contact with
- to enable you to create communication friendly environments by making simple adjustments to your approaches
The course has been divided into 6 modules. Each module focuses on a particular aspect of communication and is divided into two sections;
- Identify the potential difficulties
- Consider practical solutions that can be used, to offer ongoing support.
Better confidence to support people with communication support needs
Each module ends with a short task to consolidate what you have learnt.
The desired result of this course is that staff will reconsider the communication needs of the people they work with, and feel confident to make some practical changes to their approaches.
Solution focused learning
This course has been developed by Speech and Language Therapists in partnership with people with learning and communication difficulties, their families and support workers.
Speech and Language Therapy delivered directly to an individual with learning or communication difficulties, can of course be of immense value; however to achieve best outcomes, everyone who comes into contact with individuals with communication difficulties should have a baseline level of understanding about speech language and communication needs.
Strategies that can be implemented immediately
This course is designed to provide individuals and services with essential baseline knowledge and skills which can be put into practice straight away. The course also references various interventions which are accessed by people with learning and communication difficulties. The aim is not to endorse any specific intervention, but rather to raise awareness of organisations whose work and resources have relevance for people with learning and communication difficulties.
Course participants receive feedback and encouragement from a specialist advisor
Learners enrolling to this course are allocated a personal tutor who will acknowledge their enrollment and provide encouragement and support as each module is studied.
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: 5 Good Communication Standards
As members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists the practitioner contributors to this course acknowledge the influence of the standards guidelines published by RCSLT.
Originally published in 2013, the 5 Good Communication Standards have become an established guide for services seeking to achieve the essential quality standards that individuals with communication support needs are entitled to.
RCSLT 5 Good Communication standards:
- There is a detailed description of how best to communicate with individuals
- Services demonstrate how they support individuals with communication needs to be involved with decisions about their care and their services
- Staff value and competently use the best approaches to communication with each individual
- Services create opportunities, relationships and environments that make individuals want to communicate
- Individuals are supported to understand and express their needs in relation to their health and wellbeing.
Follow this link for more information about the 5 Good Communication Standards.
This course is intended to help individuals and services access information to help them gain a better understanding of communication difficulties and to gain confidence in the use of recommended approaches.
Read more about ways speech and language therapists work within the field of learning disability here:
This course has been shaped by contributors with personal experience of the importance of getting communication right.
This includes service managers who have communicated their desire to be able to offer staff clear, simple, practical and realistic training to help them better understand communication difficulties and practical ways to achieve best possible communication with the people accessing services.
The true experts in this field are individuals with learning and communication challenges, their families and carers whose input and advice has helped shape this course.
The intention is for the course to be completed in approximately 6 weeks. This is based on the assumption of 1 hour per week study and task submission time, with a total learning time of approximately 6 hours, however it is understood that with shift patterns and other commitments learners may take longer to complete the course.
Course Aims and Objectives
This course will enable you to:
- Develop your awareness of the communication difficulties experienced by the people that you support
- Provide you with some of the resources that you need to be able to create communication friendly environments
By the end of the course you will:
- Have a greater understanding of the importance of the role of the communication partner
- Have a better understanding of how people develop their receptive, expressive and social communication skills
- Be able to develop some simple resources that can be used to enhance the communication experience of the people you support
- Recognise the importance of taking a practical approach to communication development.
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