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Making Connections: Total Communication in services for adults with intellectual disability in a rural part of the UK

  • Karen Bunning
  • Becky Heath
  • Claire Taylor

The study aimed to evaluate a ‘Total Communication’ (TC) training cascade delivered to caregivers of adults with intellectual disability in a rural part of the U.K.

The research employed a primarily qualitative methodology that combined semi-structured interviews and questionnaire with staff at all levels in the organisation. Talking Mats interviews were conducted with individual service users. An ecological survey of communication assets was also carried out.

The study revealed a strong culture for TC characterised by values, assets, and practice. Judgements expressed about the effectiveness of TC seemed to be allied to the status of personnel within the organisation. Whilst there was an enhanced awareness of the range of communication options, less importance was attributed to the earliest stages of communication development, to manual and object based systems, and pragmatics.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
Topic of interest to people who use AAC