Training for Communication Coordinators and Facilitators in Southern Loddon Mallee

Support workers from Disability Services in Kyneton, Castlemaine, Echuca, Woodend, Gisborne, Rochester, Bendigo and Maryborough attended six days’ training with the Southern Loddon Mallee Regional Communication Service in February-April 2016.

The training helps build the capacity of disability services across Southern Loddon Mallee to provide sustainable and effective communication support for adults with communication difficulties.

Participants learnt how to develop and champion communication support within their services, between services and in the community for active inclusion of people without speech.

Topics included:

  • Communication support needs – the individual and the environment
  • Communication aids and strategies
  • Key Word Sign
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Communication for life participation (including for positive behaviour support)

The Sensory Processing Disorders day was at a local conference centre and the entire regional communication coordinators and facilitator network was invited. Mandy Williams from CIRC was our very knowledgeable presenter. We were also grateful to Bendigo Health, the Regional Communication Service’s auspice body, for funding the venue and lunch.

Mandy Training for CC

Mandy Williams from Scope’s Communication and Inclusion resource centre presenting at the Sensory Processing Disorder day

Evaluations at the end of each training day were extremely positive. Participants also completed a survey several months after the course concluded. They reported that the course gave them more knowledge and confidence to use communication tools and to promote a positive communication environment in their services.

One new Communication Coordinator said:

“Staff engagement has been an issue at my service for a number of years, one reason for this I feel has been that we have not had “one” person heading this area. Since completing the training, and also having the Regional Communication Service Speech Pathologist hold a training session with all our staff, this area has improved somewhat. There are now staff members who are wanting to try different ideas and who are willing to listen to advice.”…

Due to the large number of clients we have and the limited time available for communication. I have been working on things that may benefit a number of clients. So far we created a daily timetable for clients which shows pictures of which staff they have in their program and the program picture matches the picture on their timetables at home. … We have also created a couple of choice boards, we are using these so clients can pick what it is they would like at the i.e. café before leaving then we are using the same picture in smaller size as a request card.”

The six day course is offered twice annually by SLMRCS.

By Meg Irwin

Speech Pathologist – Southern Loddon Mallee Regional Communication Service