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Reasons for applying different systems of communication

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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For this assessment criterion, you will critically evaluate the use and application of different types of communication within your setting, focusing on communication with individuals that have particular needs. This means looking at the positive and negative aspects of the communication methods that you use within your working environment and presenting your own verdict about them based on evidence.

Some of the communication methods that you may explore are provided below.


When communicating with individuals that are depressed, you may need to adopt an empathetic, compassionate and non-judgmental listening style. You should also maintain a positive attitude, be patient and speak clearly.


Dysarthria is a condition that makes speech difficult and is the result of brain damage or changes in the brain in later life. It can be frustrating because the individual may know what they want to say but be unable to articulate it, so it is important to be patient. Reducing background noise and other distractions and maintaining eye contact can be useful. Pictorial aids and computerised voice output systems may be used as communication aids.

Language differences

If two individuals do not speak the same language, communication can be very difficult. Speaking slowly (without shouting) and using a minimal number of words can be useful. Using visual aids and gestures may help. Ideally, the services of an interpreter should be obtained, or translation services (for written materials).


Individuals with dementia may have difficulty processing information so speaking clearly, slowly and in short sentences can be a useful approach. Patience will be required and you will need to be proactive in starting conversations. Body language and touch can help with expression and convey compassion and empathy.

Complex needs

‘Complex needs’ is a blanket term used to describe individuals that have multiple interrelated conditions, so unique communication methods will be needed for each individual. For example, an individual may be a substance user as well as being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Or they may have a learning disability and autism.

Sensory loss

Sensory loss can include both visual and auditory impairments. For visual impairments, communication aids such as large text, braille and text-to-speech devices may be used. For auditory impairments, it may be important that you face the individual so that they can see your lips. More information about communication with individuals with sensory loss can be found in this sample essay.

Autistic spectrum needs

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism can make communication and social interaction difficult. Ensuring that distractions and background noise are reduced as much as possible and speaking clearly in short simple sentences may help. Avoiding the use of metaphors, idioms and anecdotes can also be useful as these may be taken literally.

Learning difficulties/differences

When communicating with individuals that have learning difficulties and differences, short sentences with one to three keywords may need to be used and plenty of time should be allowed for individuals to process any information you’ve given them. Jargon, slang and long words should be avoided. Pictorial aids and Makaton sign language can also help.

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