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Wherever possible, to get the fullest and most accurate picture, practitioners should encourage people to communicate their views, thoughts and feelings at their own pace and in their own words. Depending on their circumstances and the consequences of information being known, some people may withhold or even falsify information. A practitioner needs empathy in a situation such as this. Empathy is an important element of communication skills. By understanding and appreciating another point of view, a practitioner will be able to offer more effective support to the people they work with. Practitioners also need to be honest about their own views and concerns.

Communication has to be a two-way process. The more practitioners can build up a trusting relationship with people who use services, the more they are likely to feel able to lower some of their barriers and be more open about what they are feeling. For example, by not using jargon or words or concepts that are complicated or obscure.

Abstract This article reports findings from a three-year project that explored communication in dementia care settings. The project set out to identify the constituent elements of dementia care practice and the patterns that characterise day-to-day relations in care homes.

What is safeguarding?

The tightly prescribed and standardised nature of the interactions between staff and residents is described: it raises questions about how dementia care can be truly person-centred. The project found that people with dementia are capable of communication, and invest much effort in seeking to engage those around them, but are excluded from the monitoring, planning and provision of care in ways that the authors argue are discriminatory.

The case is made for promoting and supporting communication as key skills and competences for care workers. The value of measuring the level and quality of communication as a means to evaluate care is demonstrated. The authors question the priorities that currently guide care practice and argue that people with dementia need to be listened to and that re-evaluation of what lies at the heart of dementia care is needed. Title An evaluation of intensive interaction in community living settings for adults with profound intellectual disabilities.

Abstract Intensive interaction is an approach to enhancing the communication and social abilities of people with profound intellectual disabilities using principles from care giver-infant interaction. There was less evidence for improved quality of relationship. Abstract Currently, there is no explicit requirement for qualifying level social workers to be skilled in communicating with children. But more practitioners believe a basic competence in such skill would be a benefit. The authors present a framework for understanding those components of skilled communication with children that should be included in the qualifying curriculum.

A whole programme approach to curriculum development is outlined which, it is suggested, might enable students to develop the knowledge, capabilities and values required for skilled practice in this area. Abstract Two theories of communication are explored and described: first, the sequence between the infant and the primary care giver of attunement, rupture and repair. It is argued that this pattern is present in all relationships and that negative aspects can emerge later.

Best practice principles for complex trauma client work

Second, the concept of reflective function is explored that has particular relevance to social work. Suggestions are made as to how training courses can enable social workers to improve their communication skills. Abstract: Working with parents in relation to child welfare concerns is challenging.

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To date, most research in this area has relied on retrospective accounts from parents or workers. The current study explored the responses of 40 social workers from seven London authorities to nine vignettes, six of which were textual prompts based on the Helpful Responses Questionnaire, and three further verbal prompts designed to reflect typical resistance comments found in working with parental alcohol misuse. Responses were taped and rated. Overall, social workers tended to use a very confrontational and at times aggressive communication style.

This was so consistently observed that it is likely to be a systemic issue.


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In conclusion, it is argued that at the levels of research, theory and official guidance, insufficient attention has been give to the micro-skills involved in safeguarding children and that this is an urgent priority for further work. Register Login. Overall, it appears that stress does not necessarily hinder memory and in some circumstances memories of stressful events are more vivid than memories of non-stressful ones.

This may lead to some difficulties for practitioners assessing a child who has been victimised. There are added factors to be considered. As we have already noted, long-term accurate memories are best preserved when there is opportunity for rehearsal and where there is an atmosphere of support and encouragement often absent among children who have experienced traumatic events. In addition, negative traumatic events are often repeated, frequent occurrences and therefore may be recalled as schemas or scripts, as opposed to specific events. In contrast, distinctive, single traumatic episodes are likely to be well remembered by children.

Summary Overall, older children remember more and are more resistant to suggestion than younger ones. However, children from the age of two years can recall events that they experience, with rapidly increasing accuracy, especially more personally meaningful ones. From then on their knowledge of the world continues to increase and some will learn ever more sophisticated strategies for retrieval, and hence will be able to recall and communicate their memories better than younger children.

Thus, physical, psychological and 16 Jones, D. Younger children have less-well-developed retrieval abilities than older ones.


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  • Overall, there is no single memory system, but instead a set of processes and systems that allow children to recall and communicate their personal experiences. If a child has been subjected to maltreatment, this in itself can significantly affect his or her capacity to encode and register experiences, store them in memory, and later on recall and retrieve them when talking with an adult practitioner. Memory capacity is significantly linked with language and communication ability. Nowhere is this more salient for practitioners than in the area of retrieval, where, even when a child is able to remember events, there may be significant difficulties in communicating them to an adult see p.

    Be alert to misunderstandings and miscommunications.

    Free recall is preferable to specific questioning because it is more likely to encourage the child to retrieve autobiographical and episodic memory accurately. This can be a source for misunderstanding, which is best averted by regarding the child as the expert, while also inviting free recall from the child wherever possible. Children may not be able to discern accurately the origin of their memories of events.

    A series of psychological experiments have demonstrated that when children are asked questions about events they have experienced or witnessed, the type of question affects the accuracy of their answer. For example, if the questions are focused, and particularly if they are leading or introduce new information or false suppositions, then the children in the studies could be misled about what had actually occurred.

    Adults are also susceptible to these misleading influences. There appear to be three possible mechanisms underlying these observations. Third, the original and suggested information exist side by side in memory but when the child attempts to recall, it is the most recent, suggested information that is reported. It is probable that mixtures of all three occur in real life — new suggested information, original and accurate experience, as well as a blend of new and original.

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    Proven Practice: communicating with service users and their carers

    Box 2. They are asked repeatedly to visualise fictitious events Ceci et al, They are suggestively asked to use anatomically detailed dolls to re-enact an event Bruck et al, b. Their memories are not strong or recent. These difficulties are termed source monitoring ones, and are a feature of both adult and child memory abilities. Other factors are important to the question of the suggestibility of children.

    Children are generally deferential to adults; this applies more to younger children and those with impairments than, for example, teenagers. In addition there is the effect of authority — children may feel that they must accept any implied knowledge that the practitioner conveys. This is especially important among children who may be maltreated or seriously disadvantaged, whose alertness to the subtle clues and expectations of adults can in some circumstances be increased. The susceptibility to the effects of suggestion are summarised in Box 2. Remember that directive questions may be necessary to establish detail, but should be non-leading and paired with open-ended questions or invitations.