Tips for communicating with:

  1. PAY ATTENTION!!! Look, listen; wait until the person is finished.
  2. Encourage the person to initiate communication and to meaningfully indicate their needs, desires, thoughts, and ideas.
  3. TALK!! Whether or not the person is verbal.
  4. Speak clearly.
  5. Use age-appropriate language.
  6. Ask questions, open-ended ones, rather than those that require only a yes/no response.
  7. Offer choices and options.
  8. Talk "with" a person, not "at" them or "about" them.
  9. If you don't understand what the person is trying to tell you, ask questions, ask them to repeat the message, clarify message, and ask them to "show" you if possible.
  10. Accept a person's right to express feelings, even if they are not always positive - and be honest in sharing your feelings, both positive and negative. React to ideas, not to the person.

WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN:
  1. Keep it FUN!!
  2. Keep it short and simple.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly, repeat if necessary.
  4. Be a good speech and language model.
  5. Know what is reasonable to expect from a child.
  6. Avoid pressuring the child to talk or "perform".
  7. Follow the child's lead.
  8. Label objects and people around the child, as well as activities occurring within the child's immediate environment.
  9. Facilitate communication and play with peers.
  10. Keep it relevant!

WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARING IMPAIRMENTS
  1. Be sure to have the attention of the person you are speaking to before conversing.
  2. Let your face be seen; do not stand in front of a window or light source when speaking; check to see if mustaches or beards are blocking a clear view of the mouth.
  3. Keep your hands away from your face.
  4. Avoid chewing gum, etc., while talking.
  5. Speak clearly and not too fast.
  6. Use a lot of facial and body expressions.
  7. Use a normal tone of voice.
  8. Be relatively close to the person when you are talking.
  9. Don't assume that a person with hearing aids can hear you clearly or distinctly.
  10. Avoid situations in which there is a lot of background noise.
  11. Rephrase or repeat when necessary.
  12. When assisted by an interpreter, always look at and talk to the person who is hearing impaired -- NOT THE INTERPRETER.

WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS
  1. Teach turn taking.
  2. Use statements more than questions.
  3. Sit face to face and encourage eye/face contact.
  4. Label everything.
  5. Be descriptive -- talk about details of objects, people, etc.
  6. Allow time for listening and touching.
  7. Identify yourself and what you are doing. Describe what is happening, what is going to happen next, etc.
  8. Add auditory and tactile cues to play.

WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE MOTOR IMPAIRMENTS
  1. Offer choices.
  2. Ensure proper body positioning for eye contact, vocalizing, optimal handling of toys, etc.
  3. Always assume that the person understands what is being said.
  4. Be a good observer! Look for even the slightest postural, vocal, or facial changes that may be communicative attempts.
  5. Give extra support and guidance to facilitate exploration of the environment. Bring the environment to the child.
  6. Allow enough time for the person to respond.

WHEN CARING FOR A PERSON WHO IS NON-VERBAL OR WHOSE COMMUNICATION SKILLS ARE DELAYED

  1. Obtain information about the person's communication techniques -vocal, gesture, verbal, signs, picture boards, computerized systems.
  2. Obtain information about the person's overall abilities - what is/is not reasonable to expect in terms of comprehension expression, behavior, etc.
  3. Obtain information about how are they likely to respond in an unfamiliar setting.
  4. Determine what environmental factors can be modified to promote positive interactions and effective communication (lighting, noise/activity level, etc).
  5. Discover what the person's particular interests, likes, dislikes are.
  6. Obtain information about the person's routine.
  7. Obtain information about how the person should be prepared for any change in routine.
  8. Obtain information about what effect, if any, does the person's medication have on his ability to interact with others and to comprehend what is communicated to him/her.
  9. Find out how the basic needs are communicated (hunger, pain, thirst, etc.)
  10. Obtain information about what behavioral changes are likely to occur if the person is not able to communicate effectively or be understood by the caregiver.

 

Funding for this program provided by the Department of Health and Human Services