Sunday 23 October 2022

Common Misconceptions about Non-Verbal People

I am a support worker for vulnerable adults who also happen to be non-verbal. I'll admit, going into the job I didn't really know what to expect from them, how I was going to communicate with them or anything! But I've learned a lot and even nearly a year into the job, some of my colleagues make comments about them and they almost seem surprised about how capable etc. they are. So, here are 3 of the common misconceptions I've learned on the job.

They Don't Understand
My residents know exactly what we're saying and what we mean when we talk to them or between ourselves. They get embarrassed if we discuss their challenging behaviour in front of them (something I try to encourage staff not to do) and just because it seems like they're not paying attention to us, doesn't mean they don't hear exactly what we're saying!

They Don't Have a Sense of Humour
They all have a good sense of humour but one of my residents in particular has a wicked sense of humour! He will listen in to our conversations and laugh along with us. He absolutely loves it when another resident is getting some stern words.

They Can't Make Their Own Choices
They may lack capacity in some areas but they all have free-will! Although sometimes they make some bad or unhealthy choices - they still know what they want! When I first joined the company, I was told to choose 2 outfits for each resident and get them to choose between the two. I soon learned that they are more than capable of looking through their wardrobes themselves and picking an outfit, so I leave it to them now! We're all about encouraging independence, and that's exactly what they are doing. I wish I could get them to pick me an outfit sometimes!

So, there we have it. Never underestimate a non-verbal person!

Until next time,
Saph x

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