Communication can take many forms, verbal and non-verbal, written and pictorial, physical and subtle, and can take place between individuals and across agencies. Any communication in health and social care should take into account issues of power, diversity, context and environment, all of which affect the quality and content of the communication. Good communication can also be brief, ordinary, and effective, and the impact of any communication should not be underestimated.
Age and developmental stage may also affect communication. Children and young people do not always have the words, cognitive concepts or emotional awareness to name and convey complex feelings and experiences, but make use of more symbolic langauges such as play. These have been described as the 'hundred languages of childhood' (Edwards et al, 2003).
Listen to a discussion about the importance of Non-Verbal Communication with people with a learning disability
Using the right language
We always try to avoid using jargon and abbreviations, but sometimes we have to use the terms that have been set for us. If we've not explained these properly, we're sorry - please ask. We've also got a glossary on this site to explain some terms
Sometimes people use terms that are out of date or inappropriate - Find out about using the right language for a mental health problem from Time to Change
Communicating with people who have particular needs
Most people with autism or Asperger syndrome have some difficulties with social communication and interaction. The National Autistic Society offers information about ways in which communication and social skills can be developed.