Skilled interaction among professional carers in special accommodations for adult people with learning disabilities

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Abstract

Communicative difficulties affect interactions between people with learning disabilities and their carers. Despite such difficulties, however, some carers seem to interact successfully with people who have limited ability to communicate verbally and exhibit challenging behaviour. This study aims to illuminate skilled interaction among carers working in special accommodations for people with learning disabilities. Interactions between 16 caregivers and 11 residents with learning disabilities were recorded on video. Verbal and non-verbal interaction skills among the carers were identified. Four caring situations with people with learning disabilities were chosen to illuminate skilled interaction. The transcribed text was subjected to qualitative content analysis and core stories were created. The results show that skilled interaction between the carers and the people with learning disabilities is based upon being confirming, sharing daily life experience, giving time and space, and using congruent and distinct language. In this paper we present examples that offer concrete suggestions of how to promote successful interaction and create meaning in the shared day-to-day life in special accommodations for people with learning disabilities.

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