Method – The best way to communicate, text, email, face-to-face, or a phone call ?
Audience– Who are they & how well do I know them?
Purpose – Why am I doing this?
Self-Reflection – Am I in the right headspace to start communicating?
The first step before I send an email or make that phone call is to run this checklist in my mind.
Most of us feel okay when it comes to communicating to different people, however, in the disability space right now, things are changing, as there are more players from different backgrounds who have different agendas.
We maybe advocating, promoting or simply looking for services that meets the needs of people with disabilities.
Whatever the reason is for communicating, it has to be effective.
Communicating from a wheelchair, being a Justice of the Peace & my interest in multiculturalism has been a great way for me to build on my effective communication technique.
A friend of mine Zen, & I have set up Empower Your English (EYE).
Our initial thoughts were that EYE would benefit culturally diverse consumers, however we are noticing that there is an interest from others who want to hear our individual communication approach that we use.
Our website eyenow.melbourne will give you more information about our workshops & when they are.
Do disability service providers try hard enough when getting feedback?
I’m suggesting more creative thinking is needed when communicating with individuals who are non-verbal or communicate in different ways.
I recently formed this view after a friend asked my opinion on how VALID’s Having a Say Conference went this year (a conference for people with disabilities within Australia).
I know it’s just a feeling, and traditionally we rely on evaluation forms being completed for evidence, but I personally felt that the conference had a real positive energy.
Service providers need to think “outside the box” when capturing feedback from those they are supporting who communicate in alternative ways.
We know that a person’s behavior can be a key element in communication, but let’s not just focus on “Behaviours of Concern”- there are other behavioural aspects & indicators that can still tell us a lot.
Like many of us, people who communicate in alternative ways often have a key person in their life that really has a sense of what’s going on and how they’re feeling.
Are we talking with these people?
What about the different types of communication aids that are used such as Comprehensive Expressive, Targeted Expressive & Visual Supports (see Scope for more details)?
I’m going to back off now because I’m sounding a bit academic and I fully respect there are gurus out there that all over this.
I’m just putting it out there to those service providers who may need to tweak their approach when getting real feedback from the people that they support.