Videotapes were made of 43 staff-client dyads in small-scale residential and day service settings. Frequency counts were made of carers’ communicative acts, and two experienced speech and language therapists rated these for appropriateness. Recommendations for enhancing communication were also noted. The results showed that clients were presented with few opportunities to engage as equal partners in the conversational interchanges: staff overly relied on verbal acts, even when they were communicating with predominantly non-verbal clients; they tended to favour the use of directives and questions, and the majority of staff failed to adjust their language to the client’s level of understanding. The most commonly recommended changes for staff were to use simpler sentences and words, to increase their use of non-verbal signals and open questions, to provide more opportunities for clients to initiate topics, and to increase their responsiveness to client’s non-verbal signals. The explanations for staff behaviour are reviewed and the implications for changing practice are discussed.
|Journal||Journal of Intellectual Disability Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 1999|