Communication is an essential part of a caring relationship and helps to encourage trusting relationships with other workers and families as well as the individuals you care for.

Types of communication

Different people have different ways of communicating that work best for them. Some of the types of communication are: ­

Verbal communication – Differences in how you speak, including the tone, pitch, speed and volume of your voice could change how your messages are taken in. Try to avoid using jargon or abbreviations and complicated words and terminology. Make sure you always speak in a respectful way, adjusting your speech to suit the individual.

Sign language – This is a recognised language throughout the world. British Sign Language (BSL) is used by individuals in this country however, there are variations of sign language in different regions. ­

Makaton – This is a form of language that uses a large collection of signs and symbols. Makaton is often used with those who have learning and physical disabilities, or hearing impairments. ­

Braille – Is a code of raised dots that are ‘read’ using touch. For people who are visually impaired or who are blind, this system supports reading and writing. ­

Body language – This is a type of nonverbal communication. There are many different aspects of body language, including gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, body positioning and body movements. Each of these will communicate information about an individual or a worker often without them realising it. ­

Eye contact – Maintaining good eye contact is an important way for a person to show that they are engaged and listening. ­

Gestures – These are hand or arm movements that emphasise what is being said or used as an alternative to speaking. ­

Facial expressions – These support what is being said by showing reactions or feelings. They can give you valuable clues that indicate a person’s feelings. ­

Position – The way that we stand, sit or hold our arms when we are talking will provide others with clues about our feelings, attitude and emotions. ­

Written communication – This method is used to send messages, keep records, for documentation or provide evidence.

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Formal and informal communication

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