Kate Richardson, Rorie Fulton

Effective Communication with People with Learning Disabilities

Training pack

This pack is designed to train anyone who works with people with learning disabilities to communicate more effectively with the people they support.



All of us depend on effective communication in order to be able to live our lives to the full. For people with learning disabilities, effective communication is especially important because they often rely on the support of others to live their lives. It is therefore essential that family members, carers, support workers and health and social care practitioners are able to communicate effectively with the individuals whom they support. That way, people with learning disabilities have the best possible chance of securing the rights, inclusion, choice and independence to which they, like anyone else, are entitled.

This pack provides a wide-ranging training programme to cover the concepts and techniques which underpin and make possible effective communication with people with learning disabilities. The training programme comprises four sessions that can be delivered together as a day’s training or, alternatively, as stand-alone sessions delivered over a series of team meetings or in-house training days.

The pack sets out a Total Communication approach and training participants are introduced to an extensive selection of communication techniques that can be used in addition to the spoken word and adapted according to the communication skills of the individual in question. In this way, as well as having the opportunity to develop their communication skills, training participants are given a ‘taster’ of a range of communication concepts and techniques that can be used to facilitate effective communication with people with learning disabilities. Interactive activities and exercises allow participants to explore the various communication techniques and to discuss and reflect upon ways of incorporating them into their work.

The pack provides a broad range of perspectives on communicating with people with learning disabilities and enables training participants to develop a deeper understanding of the communication challenges faced by individuals and the skills and techniques which can be used to overcome them.



Personal assistants, support workers, learning disability service providers, advocates, self-advocates, family carers, frontline public service workers (such as teachers, social workers, job centre employees), nurses (acute and community), GPs, occupational therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, counsellors, volunteers working in the learning disabilities sector.


ISBN: 9781908993083
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 13 August 2012

  • Session 1: Communication – the basics
  • Session 2: Communication as a jigsaw
  • Session 3: Communication repair
  • Session 4: A Total Communication approach

This pack contains: CD-rom containing handouts and a PowerPoint presentation that structures and guides the training, making extensive use of film clips of individuals, their family members and support workers talking about their communicational experiences.


Rorie Fulton is a partner at Open Cultures Consultancy, a research and training consultancy specialising in learning disability, communication and inclusion issues. He also works as a mental health advocate and as a volunteer for a learning disabilities advocacy service.

Kate Richardson is a highly specialist speech and language therapist working with adults with learning disabilities. She is qualified as a Registered Intermediary supporting adults with learning disabilities appearing in the criminal justice system. Kate is a partner with Rorie in the Open Cultures Consultancy.


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