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The role of responsive communication in promoting children’s care Essay

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Responsive communication is responding to a specific need of an individual. It is a toolbox of ways to communicate effectively. Knowing what tools to use in each situation is the key to successfully promoting children’s care, learning, and development. As there is a diverse range of communication techniques whether it be verbally, physically, or technologically, getting it right is imperative from a very young age. Principles of effective responsive communication vary from actively listening, avoiding assumptions, being considerate and sympathetic, using questions to show interest and adapting communication skills accordingly.

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Methods of communicating;
o Speaking
o Thinking
o None verbal
o Listening

Being able to convey what you want someone to know and hear is most significant in education, whether it be verbal, or none verbal. Being able to identify and adopt ways of communication has countless advantages on education. There are various ways to communicate
Some ways of communicating non-verbally include;
• Body language is used to send and receive messages using body movements. Ways of using body language can be just as effective as speech. Some ways of demonstrating body language may be a dropped head to show shyness or sadness, slumped shoulders may show someone is upset or disappointed, your posture shows a lot about how we are feeling and helps identify whether you are confident or not, facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, afraid, confused, surprised or excited speak for themselves hand gestures such as open palms, a wave, a handshake or even a high five. Eye contact and other non-verbal ways to get a message across are a very effective way of communicating.
• Art, paintings, and drawings can be used to express feelings and emotions without using words. Certain colors that are chosen can indicate our mood and how we are feeling.
• Drama, acting, and dancing is a way of expressing emotions and feelings in a non-direct way. Drama helps you communicate what and how we think, how we feel about people and situations and how we move with other people. It allows us to be a character and compare it to real life. It helps build confidence.
• Written communication such as letters, emails, and text messages are also effective and direct. It allows private communication. Text messages and emails are very effective and a fast way to communicate, where letters take a little time.
• Sign language is used when a pupil cannot physically use their voice or have hearing loss. As your understanding is significant to someone’s communication it is important to get it right. Taking time, not rushing and reading body language works well with this method of communication.
• Pecs, picture exchange communication systems are effective for all age groups and typically used for autistic children. A visual timetable for pupils to display pictures to indicate what is wanted or expected by a pupil. It is used to communicate a request or a thought. Pecs are put into different subjects, for example, foods, drinks, medical, behavior or schedule.
• I gaze, E’tran frames and switches are used predominantly for pupils with mobility difficulties. An I’gaze is a specialized computer that allows you to say things with your eyes and using your eyes as the mouse. Eran also was known as an ‘eye transfer’ allows a pupil to make choices with their eyes. It is a board with a square hole in the middle, for an easy vision of choices made, and picture choices are put around the edge and the pupil makes their choice using their eyes.

Identifying what a gesture signifies is imperative.

Ways of communicating verbally and getting your message across;
• Direct face to face speech showing good eye contact, reassuring the speaker you are actively listening and thinking about what they are saying is extremely effective as it is first-hand live feedback of what someone is saying and allows you to identify not only speech but body language also.
• Varying your tone of voice considering the audience and ensuring age-appropriate language is used for effective learning and understanding. Ensuring your audience is getting the right learning experience relies profoundly on age-appropriate language.
• Controlling the volume of your voice is important when trying to communicate. Many children with autism are sensitive to noise and enabling them to engage effectively depends on this knowledge.
• Frequent assemblies are a great way of communicating and sharing experiences to large numbers of people and allows unity and identity within a school. It enables news and announcements to be relayed a minimal amount of times. It is also a way of using positive reinforcement by celebration achievements and successes.
• Staff meetings are effective with regards to communicating issues or problems within a school.
• Telephone conversations allow for discretion and are fast and effective.
• Skype allows private and visual communication.
• Singing enables pupils to use ‘in character’ ways to communicate and reflect on what’s real and what’s not.

Demonstrating positivity, teamwork and mutual respect are key to success. Being able to develop a pupil’s knowledge and build a healthy and successful relationship is knowing how to communicate effectively and knowing when to talk and when to listen. Ensuring we listen to others verbally and non-verbally allows us to know what and how others are feeling, enabling operative communication. Knowing that any type of message we give or receive cannot be reversed, getting it right the first time is very significant in effective communication.
Learning about a pupil’s home life, background, culture, age, and skills, for example, allows a greater understanding of the individual and helps identify their personality and traits. Identifying age and ability are important as, a baby will cry, a toddler will possibly point, a pupil with profound learning difficulties may make recognizable sounds of distress or contentment.

Identifying and allowing for cultural differences is important. Not all cultures have the same beliefs and ways, and what one culture believes is respectful may not be the case in another. By continuously following responsive principles allows consistency and considerably reduces any communication breakdown. At Heronsbridge School all the above principles are practiced daily for the successful running of the school and the continued progression and identification of the pupil’s needs. Heronsbridge has a motto ‘Together We Can’ which is reinforced throughout the entire school. Knowing the pupil and understanding the pupil’s needs is paramount in successful communication with the pupil and their parents or guardians. Each child has regular reviews in which their progress is reported, and any communication required with parents is regularly done in many ways. Parents have letters home, homeschool books, telephone calls and emails depending on which suits the parents need more effectively.

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