We recognise the importance of effective communication for  people we support in a way that is accessible and meaningful to each individual.

Our Speech and Language Therapists (SLT) support over 50 adults with learning disabilities. After an initial assessment process they may put together individualised pictorial timetables, checklists or charts to help with making choices, giving structure and helping understanding. They prepare communication profiles and guidelines to help staff communicate in the most effective way possible with the people we support. They also set up signing, ‘Intensive Interaction’ or ‘Objects of Reference’ programmes. As well as working with the people we support, they also teach staff the most appropriate ways to communicate with each individual.

The team help to set up and run communication groups such as sensory communication groups for people with little or no verbal communication and social skills groups to enhance communication and increase confidence.  They  work closely with our Technology for Independence Manager to determine how peoples’ their lives can be enhanced by technology or communication aids – which may demonstrate a need for specialist assistive technology, which would increase quality of life and improve their mental well-being. Our Some beneficiaries will have severe and complex learning disabilities whereby their only means of communication is through moving their eyes.

Technology for Independence is designed to ensure the people we support have access to all suitable technologies that will enhance their lives and increase their independence.  Our assessment tool seeks to identify technologies that will enable our beneficiaries to communicate better.  We currently run Technology for Independence weekly sessions for 17 people.  The support being delivered includes sessions using Eye Gaze, SoundBeam and Omi-Vista.  Several individuals have weekly sessions to develop their skills to use IT on touchscreen, tablet and the PC, which can lead to an ASDAN award.  We run a weekly Computer Club at T2, teaching people to use all types of computer and software programs.

Contact: Michelle Staniforth – Speech and Language Therapy Manager,  Keith Thornton – Technology for Independence Manager