Patient Communication Needs

Patient communication Needs

Do you have any Special Communication Needs...

Communication comes in different forms, including Verbal (spoken), Written word, Lip reading, sign language and even body language.

Causes of communication problems

Speech and language problems

Speech disorders are communication disorders that interrupt speech. They can result from a stammer, cleft palates, brain injuries or hearing loss, or for no known reason. Language disorders are problems understanding words or using them , such as difficulties resulting from stroke or brain injury.

Selective mutism

Selective mutism, sometimes described as a "phobia of talking" is an anxiety disorder that prevents children speaking in certain social situations such as school lessons or in public.

However they're able to speak freely to close family and friends when nobody else is listening.


Deafblind people have an impairment to both vision and hearing. Some inpairments are congenital (the person is born deafblind), while others may come later in life through accident or old age.

People who are deafblind may not communicate through words, and it can be difficult to work out the best way to communicate with them.

Sometimes deafblind people have difficulty understanding the world around them, and this can make them behave in difficult or inappropriate ways. you may find communicating with a deafblind person frustrating and slow, but with patience and trust a form of communication can develop.

Rehabilitation after a stroke

A stroke can cause mental and physical impairments, and make communicating with someone difficult. The person who has had the stroke may find it hard to form words or understand what someone says to them, and this may make it difficult for you to work out what they want.

When communicating with someone who is recovering from a stroke, its important to give them your full attention and try to avoid any background distractions. Try to speak clearly at a normal volume.

Sources of Support

Sign Language

Sign language is a visual way of communicating using hand gestures, facial expressions and body language. Visual communication methods have been around for thousands of years, and nowadays there are hundreds of different types of sign languages in use across the world.

British Sign Language

British Sign Language (BSL) is the sign language used by deaf people in the UK. BSL makes use of hand gestures, finger spelling, lip patterns and facial expressions.

It has its own grammar that is not based upon spoken English, and even has regional dialects or variations on signs depending upon the area of the country you are in BSL is constantly evolving in the same way that spoken English changes as new words enter the language.

Sign Supported English

Sign supported English (SSE) is a method of communication that uses BSL signs, but the structure and grammar is based on spoken English. This means the signs follow the exact order they would be spoken in.

This variation of BSL doesn't require any knowledge of BSL grammar structure, so it is easier for hearing people to learn. It is often used in schools where deaf children are taught alongside hearing children.


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