Staff members' understandings about communication with individuals who have multiple learning disabilities: a case of Finnish OIVA communication training.

Children's Therapy Centre Terapeija, Kuusiniementie 2, Espoo, Finland.
Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability (Impact Factor: 1.02). 12/2010; 35(4):279-89. DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2010.517189
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Often communication training has been directed at the communication practices of staff members working with people with multiple learning disabilities. To date, the thinking habits of staff members, which also influence interactions, have not been addressed. We identified the issues staff members perceived as important for their development as communication partners after participating in a communication training program.
Six key staff members participated in semistructured interviews that explored the insights they had gained during participation in the Finnish communication training program OIVA.
Participating staff members identified issues relating to the communication practices and thinking habits they had acquired during the training. Both communication practices and thinking habits were important for the staff members' development as communication partners.
The findings of this study suggest that it is important to give staff members the opportunity to learn new practices and to explore the thinking that underpins the actions they perform during communication training.

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    ABSTRACT: Background The provision of skilled support is dependent on staff knowledge and understanding (Beadle-Brown J., Beecham J., Mansell J., Baumker T., Leigh J., Whelton R. & Richardson L, unpublished data). Influencing staff knowledge and understanding is an important component of interventions. Materials and Methods Fourteen individual semi-structured interviews elicited staff views and experiences of knowledge development. These were analysed using a thematic network analysis (Attride-Stirling 2001, Qualitative Research 1, 385–405). ResultsThree global themes were identified; skills are developed from experience, service aims influence service delivery and practice is more important than theory. This article focuses on the first of these themes. Relationships between staff and service users played a central role in enabling development of knowledge. Although some skills were seen as transferrable, experience of a particular service user was described as being essential. Conclusions Support staff may not see the relevance of research findings, professional knowledge or training, unless these have involved direct work with the service user in question.
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