At MacIntyre we communicate with people who draw on our support in a way that makes sense to them.
When we begin forming a relationship with someone new to MacIntyre, we work with them, their families and others involved to find out how best to support them.
This includes developing a Communication Profile, detailing the person’s expressive and receptive communication. When we begin supporting someone who is Deaf or has hearing loss, we will establish several key facts:
- The degree of hearing loss – is the person profoundly deaf?
- Do they wear hearing aids?
- Do they use signing, and if so, do they use BLS (British Sign Language) or Makaton?
Staff at MacIntyre have Makaton training (a form of sign language). But this will not help if someone we support uses BSL. So we would probably need to recruit staff who know BSL.
But when it comes down to it, every person’s communication needs will be different, affected by a wide range of factors.
Whether or not someone has hearing loss, we have a number of resources to help everyone communicate.
For example, we use Easy Read documents extensively. You'll find many of them on our website. They are written in plain English, with minimal punctuation, good spacing, and a picture, photograph, symbol or drawing to illustrate each written point.
Books Beyond Words are another good resource that MacIntyre use. These are
...award-winning wordless picture stories covering topics including physical and mental health, lifestyle and relationships, abuse and trauma, grief and bereavement, employment, and criminal justice.
Each story is co-created with and for people who find pictures easier to understand than words. This includes people with learning disabilities and/or autism, people with cognitive or communication difficulties, such as Dementia, people who have difficulty with reading, including some Deaf people, and people who do not use the language of the country where they are living.”
Best practice in communication
These are the key points we always remember when someone is Deaf, hard of hearing or has limited communication:
- Gain the person’s attention
- Ideally choose a quiet and comfortable environment
- Have open body language
- Speak clearly
- Don’t shout
- Don’t speak too fast or too slow
- Only one person to speak at a time
- Repeat yourself when necessary
- Write the information down
- Use easy read or pictures
- Use objects of reference
- Use gestures where appropriate
- Never say “It doesn’t matter”
Remember: everyone can communicate. We find creative approaches that make sense for each individual.