Unit 203 Communication and Professional Relationships with children, young people and adults. When dealing with children you need to take into account their age and stage of development. Different ages require different levels of attention and support. When dealing with small children you need to remember that they are still developing their language skills and may need help communicating. When talking to them you need to get down to their level so that you don’t feel intimidating.
You will need to listen to them and tell them to take turns while speaking, you also need to be clear when talking to them and make sure they understand what you have said by making them repeat it back to you. Small children tire quickly and cannot concentrate for long periods of time. Children in Ket Stage 2 are starting to mature and can communicate a lot better, they are able to hold a conversation and will invite others to talk first. In some cases you will still need to remind them to wait and take their turn when speaking.
Older children who are in Key Stage 3 and 4 are able to communicate more freely with each other and adults, they are able to use technology which they use to stay in touch with each other. Sometimes teenagers become self-conscious and embarrassed when they have to talk with adults, so you need to give them time and encouragement to regain their confidence. Your own behaviour has a big impact on the children you work with, children always take the lead from the adults around them and how they interact with others. You cannot expect a child to behave in a certain way if you as an adult don’t.
We can only ask a child to behave if we do it ourselves; this makes it easier for them to understand boundaries of what is acceptable. Children of different ages communicate differently depending on their age and level of understanding. Some might need extra encouragement where others need more physical contact. As they get older they learn to communicate in different ways so you will need to adapt your vocabulary accordingly. Children that have communication difficulties need to be able to take their time when speaking so they don’t feel pressured. You need to adapt to their individual needs and communicate according to that.
Some children have a speech disorder or they may stammer so you should let them take their time when speaking and try not to fill in the words for them as this will add to their distress. You may need some special training such as British Sign language so you are able to communicate better; some children have special educational needs so you might need additional equipment in order to communicate with them. There are not many differences when communicating with adults and children, you need to always maintain eye contact and respond to what they are saying.
You should treat them all with courtesy and respect. However when you communicate with children you need to remember that they need to see you in a formal role. You always need to be clear in what you say and they should know what is expected of them. You shouldn’t use complicated language which makes it difficult for them to grasp. Adults need to show children how to communicate and get on with others we need to show them how to value and respect others so they can do the same. Children always copy adults be it in a negative or positive way.
You need to show respect for others and acknowledge what they are saying and thank them for their contribution. When communicating with children there are a number difficulties may arise, these may be because of the special needs of the learner, different attitudes towards learning of different beliefs. When working with children or young people with special needs you will need to take your time and not rush them so that they don’t feel under pressure. People who use sign language may not have many opportunities to speak and might become nervous.
When poor communication arises between adults this often leads to conflicts this may be because of communication difficulties or misunderstandings. The best way to resolve this is by discussing the problems so it does not happen again. The longer these misunderstandings are left unresolved the more difficult they may be to put right. People of different cultures have different expectations, in some cultures eye contact is not permitted so those pupils may not pick up on the non-verbal cues and another way to communicate will be needed.
If a child lacks confidence they might act in an aggressive manner if they are unsure about something. You need to adapt the way you communicate with the learner’s individual needs. The lack of communication also leads to disagreements this may happen if information is misread or perceived wrongly, we sometimes blame others for saying things we don’t agree with. When this happens it needs to be managed carefully so that there are no hard feelings afterwards. You must never be drawn into an argument with child however hard this may be.
If a child is arguing with you, you will need to manage it carefully and seek advice from another member of staff. The legal requirements and procedures regarding data protection are: Every Child Matters (England 2003) based on Children Act 2004. This stresses the importance of sharing information between professionals. Data Protection Act 1998. In schools parents are asked a lot of personal information regarding their child e. g. health and medical information, records from other schools or records for children with special education needs. This information must only be used if needed.
The Freedom of Information Act The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to ask any public sector organisation for all the recorded information they have on any subject. Anyone can make a request for information – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live. There are many reasons to need information on a child or an adult but this information cannot be shared without the parents’ consent. If there is reason to believe that the child is at risk of harm by the parent or there are legal reasons then the information can be shared.
If you attend meetings and are told confidential information then you need to keep it to yourself. You need to reassure the children that the information you have will remain confidential. If a child has a medical condition such as asthma and epilepsy then there should be a system is place to share this information with other adults in the school. In some cases there are photos of children in the dining room who have allergies to certain foods but the photographs will need to be removed if the premises are used by others in the evenings.