The following reflective journal demonstrates the application of theory to practice, considering the effectiveness of communication systems within my practice, whilst identifying ethical and legal requirements where relevant. I have described communication using a definition from an organisation relevant to my practice and briefly mentioned various other means and contexts of communication.
I have then moved on to discuss a method of communication I have chosen for the purpose of this journal, describing its origins and links to additional methods of communication and its links to theories and governing legislative bodies.
Before concluding, I have also touched ...view middle of the document...
Makaton was the result of a research project by Margaret Walker Senior Speech Therapist, Botleys Park Hospital), Kathy Johnston and Tony Cornforth both Psychiatric Hospital Visitors, Royal Association in aid of the Deaf and Dumb. It is one of the most popular methods of communication used among people with communication difficulties and/or learning disabilities. It uses a mixture of signs, symbols and speech to aid communication and support speech. The more speech develops, the less the individual tends to use Makaton. It is an extremely flexible communication method as it can be tailored to the needs of the individual (The Makaton Charity [online] 2013).
The visual attachment of symbols to Makaton is referred to as PECS. Created and introduced by Andrew Bondy Ph.D and Lori Frost M.S in 1985, it is used as a method of non-verbal communication for people with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and other learning disabilities. The system is simple to create yourself, cost effective, and an easy to introduce method for communication. It increases in complexity slightly at each stage when the individual becomes more familiar with the routine to form requests, sentences and so on Pyramid Educational Consultants UK LTD [online].
Practice based analysis
Used in conjunction with the benefit of verbal communication and the use of body language to represent emotion, which is mainly subconscious, Makaton in my opinion, is an extremely successful and useful tool for communicating with people who have ASD and/or other learning disabilities.
A lack of communication, or effective communication, has often been witnessed in my practice to negatively influence the individuals’ moods and behaviours, causing anxieties, which can, and often do lead to outbursts of aggression. The communication I use in my practice helps clients to positively relay their feelings and attitudes towards activities, people and so on, as so much of it is about how you communicate as well as the speech used to accompany Makaton. This supports Professor Albert Mehrabian’s model of communication which highlights that 55% and 38% of communication is found in facial expressions and the meanings found to be paralinguistic (respectively); (Chapman 2004-2012).
For Makaton to succeed between individuals communicating both must have ‘emotional intelligence’ Goleman 1995 and ‘self-awareness’ Thompson 2009. The generic stereotype given to people with ASD and/or other learning disabilities is that they are somewhat simple minded, as some people will find themselves speaking to them as if they are deaf by shouting or stupid by not speaking properly. This is something that I find highly offensive, discriminatory and oppressive. My opinion is that those with ASD and/or other learning disabilities are often discredited for the intelligence they possess. The simple descriptors given by Goleman and Thompson make the complexity of emotional intelligence and self-awareness easier to understand and...