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Total Communication

Hello, my name is Juliette Mudd and I am the ‘Total Communications Coordinator’ for both Stallcombe House and Willows. We are incredibly fortunate here at Stallcombe and Willows in that we have a dedicated management team who fully endorse a total communication approach, and have invested time and energy into ensuring everyone who lives here is listened to and has a voice. I am very proud to play an instrumental part in enabling and empowering every person who lives at Stallcombe or Willows to communicate effectively.

Why it's important to us

Communication is vital to us all as human beings. It enables us to socialise with others and make sense of what is going on around us; it affects our relationships, choice, control, emotions, self-esteem and self-expression and, therefore, it is fundamental to our well being and quality of life. If we cannot speak, understand words, read or write we are often excluded unless others around us are prepared to change. In order to make communication accessible to everyone, we need to use all the ways available to us to give and receive information. A Total Communication approach shifts the focus away from a reliance on spoken and written communication to a culture where gestures, body language, signs, symbols, photographs, objects of reference and electronic aids are used in a consistent manner to support communication. Total Communication includes all the ways we communicate.

We all use visual prompts and aids on a daily basis. Items such as diaries, notes, calendars, mobile phones, menus and even emoji’s, to express feelings or emotions. We simply use these concepts to pass on information, reminders or prompts in a way that enables the people we support to understand. At Stallcombe House and Willows, we use a full range of ‘Total Communication’ methods to empower the people we support to make informed choices, develop their understanding, express themselves and to communicate effectively.

This has led to a culture that says “I can”; it is very clear to see the attitude of the people we support change when being empowered to communicate and understand. Without a doubt it promotes all the positive feelings and behaviour that effective communication gives us such as confidence, involvement, predictability, independence and, most importantly, choice.