New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
Disagreements between professionals and people with disabilities and/or family members about services or treatments are not uncommon. But we seldom wonder if the disagreements are generated not by actual differences in opinion, but by the language that is used.
Creating Change Through Effective Communication
Many of the problems of the world could probably be solved if we communicated more accurately. Think about it: difficulties between nations, employers and employees, teachers and students, husbands and wives, parents and children—as well as problems between people in a variety of situations—are often the result of miscommunication.
When we speak, do we mean what we say? Do we say what we mean? Do we really know what we’re talking about or are we passing on what we’ve heard—which might be gossip, rumor, or innuendo? As listeners, do we really hear what was said? Do we listen with an open mind, are we able to differentiate opinion from fact, or is the message distorted by our feelings and biases?
When we think specifically about people with disabilities and family members, effective communication can resolve thorny issues and ensure people live the lives they want. At the same time, miscommunication has the potential to wreak havoc, crush hopes and dreams, and ruin lives. Consider the harm that is frequently (and unintentionally) inflicted by physicians when they diagnose a disability in a baby or a very young child. The doctor’s prognosis about a child’s future has the power to . . . Click here to continue.