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Communication difficulties are prevalent amongst persons with learning disabilities.

Limited communication affects people's ability to access healthcare:

• To read and understand appointment letters
• To convey information effectively to health staff
• To fully understand recommendations and guidelines given by health staff

People with communication difficulties can present as uncooperative, exhibit challenging behaviour, or can be vulnerable and socially isolated.

Indicators may include:

• The person repeats back what is said by others
• The person always talks about a favourite topic / says the same thing repeatedly
• The person answers “yes” to everything
• The person answers “no” to everything
• The person answers “don’t know” to everything
• When offered a choice, the person always chooses the last option
• The person is easily distracted, maybe walking away during conversation
• The person is a “loner” and doesn’t want to join in
• The person changes topic in the middle of a conversation
• The person does not use words

Health staff's awareness and use of helpful communication strategies can help achieve more effective communication.