A great partnership has been strengthening in the West Loddon Mallee Region with the DHS Disability Accommodation Services. Recently all of the housing staff in Swan Hill attended a communication training day with a bit of a twist. Sharon Champion worked with James White (Accommodation Services Operation Manager) with the support of the house supervisors to put it all together.
At the beginning of the training the staff entered a situation where they personally experienced communication breakdowns. This led to an invaluable debrief about how they felt and how their behaviour changed. A link was clearly made between communication and behaviour. In particular, behaviours of concern were discussed further in the context of the houses.
So when is an apple not an apple? The staff explored the different levels of communication and object symbol selection through fun and games in their teams. They identified the most concrete, through to the most abstract form of representation for an apple.
It was interesting to hear the different opinions and discussions as to why they wouldn’t identify with some of the pictures. This activity really hit home for a lot of the staff, in realising the different levels of communication that might be required for the people they are working with.
The group finished off by splitting into their house groups to set a solid communication goal to work towards. This was a motivating way to end the session, as they were able to immediately put theory into action, in a practical way for their residents.
All staff were so enthusiastic, had a go, and said they really enjoyed the interactive training. Due to its success and great feedback, the crew in Mildura are now keen to run the training to kick things off in the north of the region, in August. Very exciting times for communication in accommodation services in the West Loddon Mallee!
By Danielle Bryan