Using verbal and non-verbal communication to support people with learning disabilities
Intended for healthcare professionals
CPD    

Using verbal and non-verbal communication to support people with learning disabilities

Éilish A Burke Ussher associate professor in ageing and intellectual disability, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Sandra Fleming Assistant professor, intellectual disability, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Carmel Doyle Assistant professor, intellectual disability, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Karen Henderson Speech and language therapist, Cheeverstown House, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Paul Horan Assistant professor, intellectual disability, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Paul Keenan Assistant professor, intellectual disability, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Kathleen Byrne Clinical tutor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the communication needs of people with learning disabilities

  • To appreciate how non-verbal communication can usefully complement or replace verbal communication

  • To contribute towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

People with learning disabilities may experience communication difficulties and it is essential for nurses to develop the necessary skills to support them, from being attuned to a person’s gestures and vocalisations to using sign language and assistive technologies. Supporting people with learning disabilities involves adopting a person-centred approach to communication, developing a communication passport that describes their communication abilities and needs, and providing written materials in easy-read format. When interacting with people with learning disabilities, nurses can also make effective use of non-verbal communication to complement or replace verbal communication.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2022.e2196

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@EilishBurke15

Correspondence

eburke7@tcd.ie

Conflict of interest

None declared

Burke ÉA, Fleming S, Doyle C et al (2022) Using verbal and non-verbal communication to support people with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2022.e2196

Published online: 27 October 2022

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