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Developmental Disabilities

Tips for Effective Communication with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

By August 4, 2023No Comments2 min read
Tips for Effective Communication with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Tips for Effective Communication with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities


For communication to be complete, feedback on the message passed across must be shared.

Simplify communication. Speak slowly and use short sentences. Do not give multiple instructions in one sentence. Pause frequently. For example, instead of saying, “I am going to the market to buy mangoes, bananas, oranges, and pears. Will you come with me? You can say, “I am going to the market. I want to buy mangoes. Will you come?


Be concise. Whatever you want to communicate, say it in black and white. Individuals with Developmental Disabilities are not able to decode hidden messages. Do not use figurate language or idioms


Do not shout. First of all, no one likes being shouted at. It is just common courtesy. Shouting at an individual with Developmental Disability will only heighten tension between you. As a caregiver, you will end up being frustrated because the individual will shut down or have a meltdown.


Listen intently. Do not interrupt the conversation. Allow enough time for the person to respond. Take note of the non-verbal cues and the tone of voice. Inform the person when they do or do not understand something.


If the person being cared for can speak ask him or her to repeat what was just said. This will ensure that they understood the instructions being given


If about to perform a task,ask the individual what is about to be done and why the caregiver is doing it.


Finish discussing one subject before moving to another


Individuals with Developmental Disabilities e.g. Down Syndrome, forget quickly. Additionally, some suffer from memory loss. 


Therefore, you do not want to mix up topics because you will confuse them. It is advisable to discuss one topic or subject at a time. Move on to the next topic once you’re done,


Communication is not always verbal

There is more to communication than just speech. There are various forms of communication that individuals with Developmental Disabilities can use e.g. Augmentative Communication.

Various ways caregivers can communicate with the person they are taking care of include: 


  • Use of aids e.g drawings and pictures
  • Using demonstrations
  • Gestures
  • Writing in applicable situations.


Lastly, there are many tips for effective communication with individuals with developmental disabilities. For caregivers, it is important to engage speech therapists to provide a wholesome support system.

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