Promote Communication in Health, Social Care or Children’s and Young People’s Settings

There are four learning outcomes to this unit. The learner will be able to: 1. Understand why effective communication is important in the work setting 2. Be able to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals 3. Be able to overcome barriers to communication 4. Be able to apply principles and practices relating to confidentiality Outcome 1 Understand why effective communication is important in the work setting Communication is ability to pass and receive messages to and from other people.

Since the very beginning people were trying to communicate and improving ways to communicate to each other in order to be understood. Firstly people just used certain noises and gestures, later they were able to use simple language. Messengers were used to send messages to longer distance. With the invention of writing, the messages sent and received were more accurate and detailed. Another improvement to communication was a pigeon post (11th century), after 1450 the first printing machines were built in Germany and later in other countries.

The printing enabled to print books instead of copying them manually. The invention of telegraph and photography followed. Nowadays the means of communication are endless. In a professional environment and in childcare settings the most common forms of communication are: verbal and non-verbal, written, body and sign language. Assessment Criteria The learner can: 1. 1 Identify the different reasons people communicate People in professional settings communicate for various reasons. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS – When meeting new people, children, parents or colleagues, we have to communicate.

This initial communication can be verbal (e. g. hello, good morning, etc. or non-verbal (smile, gesture, nod, etc. ) and it is a beginning to new relationship. MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS – Every time we speak or write to someone, or when we use sign language or other forms of communication we are maintaining relationship. For example if I am supporting a child or group of children and the head teacher passes by we just smile and wave at each other without interrupting the children’s learning. GAINING AND SHARING INFORMATION – We need to communicate in order to gain and share information in setting.

We communicate with children, their parents and also with colleagues and other professionals. GAINING REASSURANCE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – We often use praise and reassurance when communicating with children and young people. This form of communication may be, but doesn’t have to be verbal. Simple nod or thumb up could be used, depending on the situation. We obviously use different methods to reassure and acknowledge visually impaired people. EXPRESSING NEEDS AND FEELINGS – Children and adults alike sometimes need to express their feelings.

Those who don’t have the opportunity to do this can become frustrated and feel isolated. In my setting one of the children, usually smiling and bubbly was visibly upset after the playtime and did not participated in activity with usual enthusiasm. He only just moved to England with his family and did not speak English. I have shared my concern with the other TA. She found out from other member of staff that he missed his playtime because a volunteer who spoke his language wasn’t familiar with class timetable and carried out an activity through the playtime.

(An example of ineffective communication). The fact that the child wasn’t able to express his needs frustrated him and he felt left out because he missed the interaction with other children. Once we found out why he got upset, we were able to solve the problem quickly. SHARING IDEAS AND THOUGHTS – People wish to share their thoughts and ideas with others, it is part of their learning process. 1. 2. Explain how communication affects relationships in the work setting. We need to communicate effectively with a range of people in order to support children in school or childcare setting.

We need to build and maintain professional relationship with the children we support, their parents or carers and other professionals. Within workplace poor communication can result in number of issues such as misunderstanding, anger, anxiety, isolation, even a risk. Children learn best when they feel safe and secure. It is our duty to create learning environment where their can learn and explore in order to reach their full potential. Whenever we identify a communication barrier or difficulty we have to find a way to overcome it. There are strategies and methods to help us to improve these.

It is very important to build and maintain strong positive relationship with children and young people we support, especially with babies and young children. It is one of the EYFS statutory requirements that every child in setting is allocated a key person. A key person is someone who has developed a strong positive relationship with young child and has additional responsibilities for the child wellbeing, someone the child is comfortable with. When child develops a positive relationship he is less likely to show unwanted behavior .

Key person works closely with parents, knows the child well, knows his preferences, likes and dislikes. Young children and young people are encouraged to develop positive relationship also with other members of staff, so they feel comfortable and safe when their key person is not present. When working with babies it is crucial to develop strong positive relationship. According to Bowlby’s theory of attachment, babies and children under the age of three needs to develop a secure attachment to a parent or carer. Outcome 2 Be able to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals Assessment Criteria

2. 1 Demonstrate how to establish the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals In order to communicate effectively, we have to understand that every person is unique and we have to adjust our ways of communication to suits the person we are communicating with and be prepared to communicate differently with different people. There are many factors affecting communication such as language, ethnicity, culture, background, age , environment etc. We need to modify our method of communication according the circumstances.

When communicating with adults (we can usually ask directly how that particular person wishes to be addressed and what are their preferred ways of communication and how do they wish to be communicated with. We must not make assumptions. When working with adults (other members of staff, parents or agencies) we can usually ask how they wish to be addressed, whether formally or less formally. If a particular person prefers to communicate verbally or in written form. When working with young people, we have to understand that puberty can be difficult for them.

Some young people find it difficult to maintain effective communication with adults. Knowledge of young people culture and expected behavior can help us to support them. Again it is very important to model a desired behavior at all times and use appropriate language only. When we are supporting children and babies who don’t speak yet or those who don’t speak English, we use non-verbal communication more often than when communicating with others. Babies are communicating their needs through crying. Their key person is often able to recognize their need by the sound of the crying.

When communicating with children and people who are disabled we have to use method of communication based on their needs. We always face the person we are speaking to, speak slowly and clearly. Non-verbal communication is also used more often when communicating with others. But regardless to whom we communicate, we have to follow some principles in order for our communication to be effective. We have to be approachable and welcome opportunities to communicate. Some children or even adults are not very confident to start conversation themselves.

If we give them enough opportunities to initiate the talk, we can support them to increase their confidence. When we talk to someone in most cases we maintain eye contact and always listen actively. Our body language has to support what we are saying. We have to show interest in what others are saying to us and respond appropriately. If we want to say something to a child or adult, we have to make sure we use the right method of communication, our message is clear and that people understand what is being communicated to them. We have to know what language and what behavior we can expect at certain age (cross

reference to stages of child development) and adjust our communication to suit the other person need. 2. 2 Describe the factors to consider when promoting effective communication Firstly we have to assess the situation and establish the best method of communication based on the other person needs. There are many factors affecting communication (cross-reference to spider diagram in criteria 51. 2. 1. ) Stage of development or age (Example – we more often work in younger children personal space than when working with older children- whilst comforting them, during the meal times or when taking care of their personal hygiene.

) Culture, background (In some cultures children are taught that out of respect they should wait for the adult to initiate the conversation or it is considered impolite to maintain the eye contact. ) Education, vocabulary (When communicating with children and young people we use less jargon or we might use different words when talking to an adult , so the children will understand what is being communicated to them. ) Emotions, tone of voice, pitch (We and have to bear in mind that children are learning from observing and copying adults so have act professionally at all times and make sure that our tone of voice is appropriate.

) Environment, attention (We have to adapt our communication accordingly to environment. It can be too noisy or too busy for us to communicate so we rather choose quieter place if we need to say something important. On the other hand in more informal situations (e. g. playground, dining hall, wet play, etc. ) the noise is not necessarily a barrier. ) Language (When supporting children or parents whose first language is not English, it is not always easy to communicate. We might need an interpreter or a dictionary or other means of communication (PECS) to help us.

It is a good practice to learn at least few words in child first language. Personal preference (Everyone is unique and different people prefer to be addressed to and communicated to in a different manner. As I have already mentioned previously, children are learning from observing and imitating adult behavior. In my placement both the head teacher and the class teacher introduced themselves and prefer me to address them by their first name, but if there are any children present I still address them both by their title and the surname. Specific needs or disability (Some children are hearing, visually or in a different way

sensually impaired and we have to adapt our way of communicating in order to communicate with them effectively. We have to choose the methods of communication based on their needs and preferences. ) 2. 3 Demonstrate a range of communication methods and styles to meet individual needs When communicating with children or adults we use a range of methods and styles. Both verbal and non-verbal communication is two-way process. That means that in order to communicate effectively the person who are we speaking to is receiving the message and react accordingly. We have to listen and pay attention to what is being said to us.

It is best to ask for feedback or in case of communicating with children and young people we can ask them to repeat to us what we have said to them to make sure they understood. We can also ask questions to check understanding. In my setting when supporting a child or group of children, I am always asking them to repeat the learning intention or task given by teacher to make sure they understood what is expected of them. Some but not all forms of non-verbal communication take place almost subconsciously and should not contradict what is being communicated verbally. Body Language – can support or contradict what is being communicated.

For example if I am supporting a child I read her or his body language which helps me to understand if the child find the task difficult and need additional support or if it finds too easy and can move on to another task Understanding body language can help in dealing with conflict or avoiding conflict completely. Gestures – many people are using hand gestures to emphasise their words. Other gestures we can use when it is not possible or not appropriate to use words. For example in my setting I use gestures when entering the class to greet the teacher and the children, especially when the teacher is teaching.

Facial expression – usually reveals quite a lot about what is being said. Eye contact – is very important aspect of communication. We usually keep eye contact with the person we are communicating. Some people can feel uncomfortable even intimidated if the eye contact last longer than appropriate. Vocabulary – spoken words appropriately chosen according the age and stage of development. Tone of voice- babies, children and young people are very sensitive to the tone of voice we use. Pitch of voice – can be high or low. Babies are attracted to rather high pitch of voice. Children and adult can find it irritating.

The lower pitch we use to comfort a reassure. 2. 4 Demonstrate how to respond to an individual’s reactions when communicating. Another key factor of effective communication is to observe other people’s reactions and know how to respond appropriately. We have to observe the facial expression and body language of the person we are communicating to. Those non-verbal communication signs can give us a clue how the other person is receiving the information and whether is interested or rather not, whether understands what is being said or if we need to rephrase or find another way of communicating our message.

In case of not understanding or misunderstanding it is best to clarify what we want to say immediately. When communicating with others we have to be polite and show respect, consider other people feelings and take time to listen. Those children who are shy to talk or don’t have enough opportunities to talk or children who have a speech difficulties should be given all the time their need to express themselves without interruption. We shouldn’t fill in words or rush the conversation.

When supporting a child with stammer in my setting , I always listen to him very carefully, keeping eye contact and showing interest in what he wants to say and making sure no one interrupts him except for the supportive words (wow, excellent, really? , etc. ). Slowing down my own speech whilst I am talking to him, makes it easier for him to follow and he feels relaxed that he doesn’t have to rush with his speech either. Once we get to know the children we support, we will know their normal behavior and reactions and the best method of communicating with them.

In case that we notice sudden change in behavior or reaction that can indicate that the child needs additional support. When responding to others we can use some of the following communication techniques: Echoing (we repeat what has been said in our own words and the other person confirms) Mirroring (usually happens naturally – copying and imitating other person’s tone of voice, body language, behavior, etc. Asking questions ( in educational setting we usually ask open question to encourage communication) Outcome 3 Be able to overcome barriers to communication Assessment Criteria The learner can: 3.

1 Explain how people from different backgrounds may use and/or interpret communication methods in different ways Communication is sharing information with others. Every person is unique and that means that people can perceive information differently according their different background and culture. In my setting both the children and the staff have very different backgrounds and communication needs. We have to make sure that we use range of methods and techniques to communicate effectively, especially with those children with special education needs, children having behavioral problems or the children in deaf unit class.

In our setting we are legally bound to promote diversity, but our differences can unfortunately also cause misunderstandings and different people may perceive the same message in a different way. Cultural background – ethnicity, family background and religion influences the ways people communicate and perceive communication of others. For example eye contact or hand gestures are less common in some cultures. Competence in communication skills – Children and young people we are supporting and also adults we are working with have different level of literacy in English, we have to adapt our vocabulary according their needs.

For example higher and less educated people’s vocabulary is different. Confidence – Some people are more confident than others and are more likely to initiate the conversation. For example some children are reluctant to put their hands up to speak up due to negative previous experience. Personality – some people, depending on their personality, communicate with others easily, some find it difficult. Many people are sensitive when someone invades their personal space, which makes them to feel uncomfortable or intimidated. 3. 2 Identify barriers to effective communication

Identifying barriers to effective communication is first step to overcoming them. Communication can be affected by following factors: Environment Psychological Language Communication ability Perception Environment – (space, noise, lighting, temperature, distractions, etc. ) Psychological – (stress, emotions, self-esteem, etc. ) Language – (English not first language, strong accent, use of jargon, sign language) Communication ability – (age, stage of development, level of literacy, sensory impairment, mental health) Perception – (behavior, prejudice, making assumptions, etc.

) Communication circle: Encoding barriers (selecting words or phrases for the actual message) Lack of sensitivity to receiver (we have to consider the receiver’s age, stage of development, language skills and emotional state in order to communicate effectively) For example there is a little point in discussing poetry with someone who is aggressive, angry or in pain. Level of communication skills (the receiver might not understand the message if the sender doesn’t speak the same language or is unable to make grammatically correct sentences.

Insufficient knowledge of subject ( if sender uses jargon or doesn’t adjust the message according to the receiver needs, the receiver might not understand) Information overload ( the message must contain all important information, but must not be too long as the receiver might be not able to keep attention for that long and feel overwhelmed) Emotional receiver ( if the person we are communicating with is upset, angry or worried it may be difficult for him/her to concentrate on what we want to say to them) Transmitting barriers (difficulties we can experience whilst passing the message) Physical barriers (noise, lighting, space, technology failure, etc.

) Channel barriers ( we have to choose channel of communication according to receiver needs, for example if we know that someone has access to email only occasionally , we would not choose this communication channel but make a phone call or send a letter) Long communication chain ( if the message doesn’t go directly to the receiver, the message might be incomplete or modified) Decoding barriers (the barriers which might arise after the receiver gets the message) Lack of interest (If the reader is not interested in the content of the message is likely not to listen) Level of communication ( if the sender uses jargon, technical terms of if the receiver doesn’t have any knowledge on subject, the receiver might not understand) Lack of Communication skills (those people who need to improve

their communication skills or those who are unable to communicate effectively due to their health or emotional state might not understand and we need to adapt to their needs) Emotional barriers (Emotions can affect the perception of the message. ) Physical barriers (Lighting, noise, crowded place, etc. ) Responding barriers (Ineffective feedback) Receiver is unable to give a feedback. Inappropriate feedback (Late or inadequate feedback) 3. 3 Demonstrate ways to overcome barriers to communication Sometimes we come across a barrier which makes communicating effectively more difficult, despite our best intentions. In such case, as soon as we identify the barrier, we have to apply a method or strategy to overcome this. Best practice to overcome these is: SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY: we should speak slowly and clearly even if we are under pressure.

It often takes much longer to clarify possible misunderstandings. CHECK UNDERSTANDING: we mustn’t assume that others understand what we say, we have to check frequently if they do. AVOID IDIOMS, JARGON AND ABBREVIATIONS: in our settings we work with people and children from different backgrounds, they might not be familiar with certain phrases and it best to avoid them in order to communicate effectively. BE SPECIFIC: we have to be specific – for example if we are supporting a child or group of children we want them to know and understand what is expected of them. ALLOW ENAUGH TIME: we have to give other people time to perceive the message and summarise their response or feedback.

If a child or adult doesn’t speak English we can use body language, visual aids like pictures and signs. At the same time we model correct English. It is useful to ask parent to provide a list of basic words such as toilet, drink, food, mother, etc. We also have to be aware that some gestures can have different meaning in other cultures and it is always best to learn about the person’s background and culture to avoid possible misunderstanding. To communicate with children with speech difficulties we use a range of methods to suit the children needs. If the child is for example hearing impaired we can use sign language or lip reading or visual aids.

In my setting is many children with Cochlear implant; the teacher is wearing a microphone and the speech is transmitted. When supporting sight impaired children or people we can communicate verbally or in braille. If we speak to them, we have to make sure we speak clearly and they can hear us. We also use touch as one of the communication methods more often than usually (to offer reassurance for example). 3. 4 Demonstrate strategies that can be used to clarify misunderstandings If for some reason the communication wasn’t effective and the other person misunderstood us, we can use strategies to improve understanding. Firstly we should apologise and adapt our message according to other person needs.

We may simplify the message or can give more details if the message wasn’t complete, eventually add some form of visual aid (e. g. picture, graph, chart, etc. ) We can change the style or channel of communication. If the communication failed due the environment we can find another, more suitable place or resolve the problem (switch the light on, reduce volume, etc. ) Feedback is important part of the communication cycle, and we should check frequently that the person we are communicating with understands. Equally important is that we check we understood the response, especially when working with children with communication or behavioral difficulties.

In order to minimize misunderstandings we have to listen actively, ask questions to clarify what the other person meant in case we are not sure and allow enough time for the other person to respond. 3. 5 Explain how to access extra support or services to enable individuals to communicate effectively In some occasions we are not able to overcome the barriers to communication ourselves and we need support of other professionals such as: Translators and interpreters Speech and language therapists Advocates Some of these services are accessible via NHS, local council or voluntary organisations. Translator is a person who helps people to understand written text in language they don’t understand. Translator can help children and

parents to understand letters from a school or childcare setting, General Practitioner or from other organisations. Similar is the role of interpreter. Interpreter is a person who interprets a spoken word. Prior to joining WKC I used to volunteer for an Interpreting organisation. Interpreter must always follow code of conduct, which means to act professional at all times, not to disclose any information about the subject as it is confidential, concentrate and listen carefully to both sides, interpret accurately, not distort the communication, make sure not to express their own opinion on given subject. Interpreter also has to learn a specific jargon and words (e. g.

medical or technical terms) prior to interpreting, follow Health and Safety rules as at many times the interpreter has to work in hospital or forensic setting or on home visits. Speech and language therapist provides a support and guidance to children with speech difficulties. In my setting there is a Speech and language therapist employed directly by school. When a parent or a practitioner suspects that there could be a problem in child communication, it is best to make an appointment with a speech and language therapist. Children can be assessed in very early age, especially children with Downs Syndrom or cleft palate or with other sensory impairment.

In Early years when child is not yet attending school or nursery parents or carers can share their concern with a health visitor or child’s general practitioner or turn to voluntary organisation (e. g. I CAN) for advice and support. Advocacy services – are essential for those children and young people who are in care of local authority or for those in need. UK government is bound by international law to comply with The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child. Outcome 4 Be able to apply principles and practices relating to confidentiality Assessment Criteria The learner can: 4. 1 Explain the meaning of the term confidentiality In our setting we often come across the information which needs to be kept confidential. Children’s records containing their personal information (e. g.

home address, date of birth, medical condition) which we might need to access in emergency, must be stored safely. Some other information such as current level of development or any special educational needs must also remain confidential and be shared only with authorized people or agencies. It is important to know and to follow the current legislation, setting policies and procedures regarding data protection, sharing of information and confidentiality. By keeping confidential is meant to keep information safe and to share only relevant information with people authorized to receive it. Data Protection act 1998 principles has to be strictly followed.

The personal information we use has to be accurate, relevant to specifically stated purposes only and kept safe and secure and for no longer than is necessary. All organisations that collect and store data must register with the Data Protection Commission and it is the organisation’s responsibility to keep the information safe and secure and up to date if necessary. 4. 2 Demonstrate ways to maintain confidentiality in day to day communication In my setting I have got obviously only limited access to personal information on children and young peopIe I support. All personal information, medical records, home address and contact details are locked safely under password and shared only when necessary.

As an example of sharing information only to people authorized to “know” – on one occasion I was asked to support children and staff in another class during the lunch time. After a brief introduction I was informed that a particular child is allergic to certain type of food and should under no circumstances be offered it. The information is confidential and was only shared with me because it was relevant for me to know about it in that situation. In order to keep the oral information confidential we must not disclose it to anyone, unless we are sure that they have the right to use the information. If not sure always check with a line manager.

We shouldn’t discuss anything about children we support with people who are not authorized to hear it or in front of them or in public. Information stored in computers should be accessible only to those who are authorized to see them. Staff shouldn’t leave their computers on or allow other people to use their passwords! All computers used to store information should be protected against viruses and the data backed-up and stored safely. When data are no longer needed it have to be disposed of safely – deleting the files, shredding, etc. If we want to throw away some paperwork which is no longer needed we have to check carefully if it doesn’t contain any confidential information. 4.

3 Describe the potential tension between maintaining an individual’s confidentiality and disclosing concerns. Children and parents have the right to keep their personal information confidential, except situations when: we believe that a child is at risk child discloses information that cause concern child or young person is suspected of committing crime or abuse crime has been committed In any case we have to follow the setting procedures. It is important to know how to act and who to contact in case confidentiality should be breached. We must never promise the children or a young people who confide in us that we will keep the information confidential, but we can assure them that we will only share the information if necessary.