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Physical disabilities: Visual Impairment

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A situation could be that you are trying to give directions or instruction to a young person but they are unable to use verbal communication for example:

• Hearing Impairment- A young person that has a hearing impairment in
one or both ears.
• Learning and speech impediment- A young person that finds it hard to communicate through speech and gets frustrated because they are not understood.
• 0ther languages – you may need an interpreter or find other means of communicating with young people that do not speak the same language.
• Visual sight- A young person that has no visual sight or poor vision in one eye.
• Disability/learning difficulties- A young person that might have Autism might stop them from communicating effectively and might need visual aids to help them communicate.

Good communication with young people, work colleges and other professionals is essential to build up good working relationships. If relationships are strained between the young person and practitioners then two-way communication will be difficult to achieve and that is needed to support the children in our care, therefore the child will not communicate effectively and this will affect the child in the long term.

All staff and young people need to communicate to get things done. If communication was absent, things would not get done because people would not understand what was expected of them and more importantly what was needed to be done, so the setting would probably become dysfunctional. We need to have access to information of the young person and communicate or share information when a young person is new to the setting, this will enable us to get to know the young person and form an attachment with them and work effectively to help them.

We can gain knowledge of the young people in our care by reading the young person’s care plan. These would include information about their identity, their likes and dislikes, any medical concerns, any development issues and risk assessments.

In my setting we communicate any physical concerns to the school nurse and the house manager. This is to help get the best for the young person that is in our care.
Important information can be shared with other professionals. In our setting this can be done via a handover meeting, and by keeping accurate up to date logs. Or by the telephone or emails.

The usual ways young people communicate are:

Speech- using their words to express themselves, ask for things, disclose things, to make accusation and apologise. Body language- reading body language is an indicator to how a young person is feeling. A young person can also use their body language to hide how they are really feeling. They may attack somebody using aggressive gestures while on the inside being afraid. Eye contact – to look at some one in the face, to look at some one longingly or to look away. Reading eye contact can be an indicator of shame, embarrassment or distress.

Touch- to reassure or to move away.
Young people today communicate via Mobile phones, laptops and tablets. By sending messages using text message or use of messenger services through Facebook, Twitter, snapchat, WhatsApp or Instagram. Using these social media channels young people can communicate both positive and negative expressions and feelings to a wider audience of “friends”. Using such tools as photographs and emojis they can communicate their emotional state or share activities and personal news and receive feedback from family, friends and their wider social network.

Physical disabilities such as Visual Impairment – can have a huge impact on a young person’s communication and social skills. Many conversations begin when people make eye contact (look each other in the eye) or use some type of signal, such as a welcoming smile or a wave. People who have vision impairment may not always recognise our efforts to communicate with them because they may not be aware when we are looking, smiling or waving at them. People may need to work out ways of getting their attention by sound or touch. Parents, teachers and friends can assist by using words in place of gestures. For example, it is important to say ‘goodbye’ rather than to wave, or to answer ‘yes’ rather than respond with a nod.

Emotional barriers. Some people may find it difficult to express their emotions and some topics may be completely ‘off-limits’. Certain words or situations may trigger memories. Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver. can have an impact on a young person taking part in a conversation or taking direction. Differences in perception and viewpoint. Can have an impact on communication and learning. Having a different point of view could lead to arguments and not and not contributing to communication.

Physical barriers to non-verbal communication. Not being able to see the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general body language can make communication less effective.
Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents could lead to misunderstandings. Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping. People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is said and jump to incorrect conclusions.

Cultural differences. The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings. The use of jargon. Over-complicated, unfamiliar and/or technical terms. Or the use of slang or words that the other person does not understand. This can make a conversation disjointed and make no sense to the receiver.

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