This paper summarises an independent evaluation of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Communication Project (2006-2009): aiming to improve communication and AAC access for its residential service users through staff training and dedicated service user support.
Findings will be reported from 1) a UK wide staff pre/post training questionnaire 2) service user interviews and 3) communication support officer interviews/focus group. Results include significant effects of staff training with reference to knowledge and self-competence ratings as well as an increase in the number of strategies suggested to assist communication. Staff job type does not appear to be a significant variable in training outcome.
Service users report a generally positive perspective on staff communication in LCD homes. However, a number of problems are raised with reference to resources, staff behaviour, and institutionalisation. Communication support officers themselves also report difficulties with culture change within a large organisation. The implications of these findings will be discussed.