TherapyWhat are the experiences of Public-facing Professionals interacting with Adults with Learning Disabilities?
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Background: Current evidence has demonstrated that those who have regular contact with Adults with Learning Disabilities (ALD), such as care staff, may have limited knowledge of language and communication adjustments. However, there is little research exploring the communication abilities of others who may interact with ALD in day-to-day situations, such as Public-facing professionals (PFPs). Furthermore, a low level of awareness of learning disabilities (LDs) within specific occupations has been shown. Therefore, the current study aimed to investigate the experiences of PFPs when communicating with ALD in their workplace, exploring their feelings and opinions and to expose the current level of knowledge. Methods: The current study utilised a qualitative approach, with semi-structured interviews being carried out with four participants from different occupations that have regular contact with the public. The interviews were then analysed with the use of Thematic Analysis to decipher salient themes across the occupations. Findings: The most prominent findings from the study exposed that there was evidence of limited awareness of LDs amongst the participants. Despite being able to describe situations in which they utilised personal experiences and prior knowledge to strategize effective communication, a need for increased knowledge and potential training is evident for those working in the particular occupations explored. The participants displayed positive attitudes and motivation for receiving input on the topic, opening a potential avenue for an SLT role in the field. Conclusion: The current study provided an initial insight into the experiences of PFPs interacting with ALD within their workplaces, however it is clear that more exploration is needed to allow generalisability of the results. Suggestions for this are provided
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