Communication Skills Essay

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COMMUNICATION SKILLS: INTRODUCTION Communication is a complex verbal and non-verbal two-way process between partners (Dettmer, Dyck, & Thurston, 1995). An understanding of the communicative process involves a consideration of the total communicative environment, and strategies to promote communication need to focus on the learner, the partner and the environmental context (Siegal-Causey & Bashinki, 1997). In addition, it is essential to ensure not only the means, but also the opportunity for communication exchange to take place (Sigafoos, 1999). This essay will describe and analyse a specific case then suggest ways of enhancing communication skills by implementing appropriate strategies. CASE STUDY An eight-year-old client with Rett syndrome was referred to me for case management and the development of communication skills, following assessment by the Royal Far West Health Scheme. An ecological approach was used to develop strategies to enhance communication skills. Assessment of the client, Madison, and her communication partners was conducted across all environments. This assessment revealed limited communication behaviours and numerous opportunities for skill development. A collaborative process was then used to develop communication goals and strategies based on the identified communicative need and a full understanding of the learner, partners and context. The strategies were then implemented with the support of all communication partners. BASIS OF COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTY Communicative function in Rett Syndrome is always impaired (Hagberg, 2002). Madison’s minimal acquired speech was lost in the early stages of Rett syndrome. Recent assessment by the Royal Far West Health Scheme Speech Pathologist indicates that Madison uses mainly pre intentional forms of communication. She uses body position and eye gaze as communication tools. Madison has

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