Communication is important in ensuring that people are able to express themselves, especially if they have a learning disability and struggle to interpret the world around them as easily as others. There are various forms of communication that you can use when conversing with somebody with a learning disability. Continue reading our helpful guide to discover the importance of inclusive teaching and learning, and how communication can help.

How to be a good communicator

For some people with learning disabilities, it can be difficult to express themselves and hold a conversation. However, there are proactive steps you can take to try and make them feel comfortable with you.

When communicating with someone who has a learning disability, try to use accessible language and avoid longer words that they might struggle to follow. Shorter, more precise wording can help a lot. Also, allow the person you’re talking to go at their own pace and you follow their lead.

It’s all about making them feel comfortable and free to express themselves.

Many people can struggle with expressive language and receptive language too. What do they mean, though?

Expressive language

Expressive language is the use of words to form sentences. If someone experiences difficulties understanding this then they’ll struggle to converse. It will mean that they may get their words mixed up and lead to frustration setting in because they’re unable to express themselves and communicate exactly what it is they’d like to say.

Receptive language

Receptive language is the understanding of expressive language. However, the use of receptive language is not dependent on someone’s expressive language abilities. Some individuals who struggle to form sentences themselves can still understand expressive language.

It varies from person to person, with some people better able to understand certain keywords and phrases. Others may only be able to understand when words are spoken slowly.

Communication techniques

For people that struggle with expressive or receptive language, there are certain communication techniques you can use to make them feel more comfortable, such as:

  • Communication systems like Widgit, Makaton (based on British sign language), PECS (Picture Exchange communication system).
  • Easy read symbols.
  • Speech and language therapy.

Body language and non-verbal communication can often help people with learning difficulties. What is important is always ensuring to give the person you’re communicating with time to comprehend what’s being communicated to them. Also, communicate slower than you normally would in order to allow them time to process what you’re saying.

Inclusive teaching

Good communication skills are essential when it comes to inclusive learning for people with learning disabilities. So places like Seashell’s Royal School Manchester provide a wonderful opportunity for individuals to improve their learning skills in a safe, calm learning environment.

Inclusive learning allows students to feel like they belong with their peers, and using specialised communication techniques, like easy read symbols and speech and language therapy, can help them feel more comfortable.

This type of attention to detail and care when communicating with people with learning disabilities can greatly help to potentially improve their expressive and receptive language abilities.

Communication training at Seashell

At Seashell, our speech and language therapy team is able to provide expert training for families and professionals on a range of alternative and augmentative communication approaches.

The training we offer includes:

  • Makaton courses
  • Elklan training
  • Communication partner training
  • Early communication skills

All of these training courses are designed for families or professionals living or working with children with complex learning difficulties.

Seashell is dedicated to providing a creative, happy, and safe environment for children and young people with complex learning disabilities and additional communication needs.

Here at Seashell, we offer a holistic approach with Seashell Royal School Manchester, Seashell Royal College Manchester, and our 17 home-from-home care houses. All of which provide a safe, supported environment, and high-quality sports, health, and wellbeing facilities.

If you require any assistance or guidance, please get in touch with us.