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Improving Communication and Participation in Mental Health & Social Justice Settings using Visual Support

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If you could communicate your health needs effectively you would get the best solution to your problems; effective communication in Health settings is absolutely essential.
Techniques to aid communication and understanding, by using visual support and cues, have been used in various settings including Speech and Language Therapy and Education for many years now. They are utilised as a support mechanism and indeed an access point for service users and consequently, provide a means of empowering the user as well as engendering independence, self-confidence and self-esteem. Outside these environments, however, many of these crucial techniques have been overlooked, primarily due to a lack of knowledge of their existence and a lack of tailored resources to meet specific client needs. In this presentation, I aim to demonstrate the powerful effect of using visual support, in the form of symbols, to improve the service user experience in a variety of sectors, particularly within mental health settings and custodial / social justice environments.
Communication and participation failures in general health and mental health settings can be seriously detrimental to a patient’s well being. This can lead to treatment that doesn’t maximise potential, mis-diagnosis and inappropriate treatment or confusion often resulting in disillusionment from the patient. These in turn, can massively influence the progress of recuperation and health outcomes that a patient can achieve. It is this significant need which has led to the development of a range of symbols and symbol-based resources to support patient communication and understanding during therapeutic diagnosis and treatment.


Douglas Watt    
Widgit Software
United Kingdom


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