Creative methodologies to enhance communication

Kennedy, Lucille and Brewer, Gayle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0690-4548 (2016) Creative methodologies to enhance communication. British Journal Of Learning Disabilities, 44 (1). pp. 35-42. ISSN 1354-4187

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Accessible summary: Those who support people with learning disabilities should listen carefully to what they have to say. Whilst sharing life stories can be a good way to listen to someone, not everyone is able to talk about their story. Here, four people who have a learning disability share their stories by singing, taking photographs or making a scrap book, and looking for themes in their work. The four people enjoyed their work and found that sharing it with others was a helpful way to let people know something about their lives, their skills, and what is important to them. The experiences and opinions of people with learning disabilities are often ignored or devalued. Oral and life history projects allow individuals to communicate their own opinions and experiences. This process can lead to more meaningful interactions between those with learning disabilities and support workers. Whilst the interview techniques often employed by life history projects may not be appropriate for those with limited verbal abilities, alternative methodologies such as photography, drawings, music and poetry may be adopted. The current study demonstrates that a life history approach incorporating creative techniques can provide valuable information about the beliefs, experiences and values of people with learning disabilities. Therefore, creative forms of communication should be encouraged to promote personalised care and greater representation in learning disability research.

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