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Key Findings Details

Communication with Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Psychiatric Disabilities: A Summary of the Literature
Walton O. Schalick III
WP 2012-264


We summarize a list of best-practices from the literature when attempting to communicate with and understand individuals with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities, and when fashioning in-the-field policies for these individuals:
  • Respect for the autonomy of the individuals being served.
  • Sensitivity to the stigmatizing power of labeled disabilities.
  • Active involvement of clients in the design of programs.
  • Individualization of communication strategies to meet the specific needs of the particular client.
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration, cooperation and communication.
  • Family and/or community collaboration, within the boundaries of confidentiality requirements.
  • Ongoing exploration of both new and traditional communication media.

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