Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dealing With People Suffering Developmental Disability

Dealing with people with developmental disabilities may present you with the most difficulties and require the most patience, particularly in the workplace. The key is to treat people with developmental disabilities as normally as possible and to set the same standards for them as you would for others. If, for example, the person tries to become too affectionate, explain that such behavior is not appropriate.
Make sure your tone is firm but not reprimanding. Here are some other tips:
  • Be careful about touching the person. Touching may signal approval of such behavior, which a person with developmental disabilities may use to curry favor.
  • Some people with developmental disabilities are very sensitive to body language and tone of voice. Make sure your silent messages are nonthreatening. Be firm but pleasant. Speak with a smile on your face and in your voice.
  • Criticism and accusatory language have a demoralizing effect on everyone. Instead of saying, “You made a mistake,” try “How about doing it like this?”
  • Recognize that repetition is important in teaching the developmentally disabled and be prepared to be patient.

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