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Promoting positive communication environments: a service evaluation.

Harding, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5192-2027, Patel, K., Roche, L. , Coward, N. & Meek, J. (2018). Promoting positive communication environments: a service evaluation.. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 23(4), pp. 192-200. doi: 10.1108/TLDR-04-2018-0009


The purpose of this paper is to present an evaluation of a programme of training and support provided to staff, which aimed to encourage supported communication environments for people with learning disabilities.

Training, monitoring and support for communication, specifically augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies, was provided by speech and language therapy staff to two residential services over 46 weeks. Staff and service user communications were observed pre- and post-intervention.

In one provision there was an increase in service user initiations and the use of some AAC strategies by support staff. In the other provision there was no change in service user initiations and a decrease in the range of AAC strategies used. It appears that some forms for AAC remain challenging for staff to implement.

This evaluation explores ways of using specialist support services to improve communication environments for people with learning difficulties. Possible reasons for differences in the outcome of the intervention are discussed. Future research into the types of communication interactions experienced by people with learning disabilities across the range of communication styles may be useful so that support staff can be better helped to provide sustained and enriched communication environments.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited
Publisher Keywords: Learning disabilities, Community living, Training, Augmentative and alternative communication
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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