Welcome to Brookside Residence
Our service users will be very pleased
to see a new face around here!
The people we are helping here are
very friendly and completely harmless.
However, they have various issues
which make it difficult for them to go
through education, such as hearing
impairments, visual impairments,
English as an additional language and
However saddening these learning
difficulties may seem to us, these
young adults will push the barriers
aside and live a full, happy life. But
they cannot do it without us, nor can
they do it without you. This booklet
will show you how you can help.
 Listening
 Open and Closed
 Paraphrasing and  Gestures (Head
and Hand
 Eye Contact
 Signs, Symbols and
 Facial Expressions Pictures
and Posture
 Special Methods
 Proximity
 Appearance
We have always got your best interests at heart. If
at any time you feel unsure or unhappy about
something, feel free to consult a fellow member of
Listening consists of not talking and concentrating
on what is said.
It is important to listen when communicating with
our residents because they may be difficult to
understand or they may be trusting you to pay
attention if they cannot see you.
A good time to concentrate on listening is with any
EAL resident, because they are likely to have an
accent and may also get words wrong. This means
that you need to focus well on what they are saying
to understand them.
It is beneficial to both one-to-one situations and
group situations because it allows you to know any
verbal messages coming towards you. However, if
Kris, the resident without speech, is involved in
either type of situation then listening will not help
in receiving his message at all.
Overall, this is a very effective way of enabling
communication because otherwise we would be
unaware of what others want us to know.
Open and Closed Questions
Closed questions only require a “yes” or “no”
response , while open questions need a reply which
is more elaborate.
Closed questions make it easier for EAL or mute
residents to answer; open questions give residents
the chance to explain their point.
A closed question you might use is “Are you feeling
better this morning?” On the other hand, an open
question might be “What seems to be the
Open questions allow you to get more detail in a
one-to-one situation, but in a group situation
would probably create confusion or slow down the
conversation. Closed questions would make
conversations easier for those with language and
speech difficulties, but could also create awkward
Overall, open questions are very effective as they
allow people to open up more, while closed
questions are almost as effective because they
simplify communication.
Paraphrasing and Summarising
Paraphrasing is repeating back what people have
said using their own words and phrases, whereas
summarising is repeating back what the person
has said in a different way to how they said it
These both allow service users to know that you
were listening and to check that you understood
what you were hearing.
A resident may say “I have a headache and I feel
sick.” Paraphrasing it would be “Oh dear, you have
a headache and feel sick?” but summarising would
be “Poor you, you don’t feel well?”
Using these techniques in a one-to-one situation
will create a stronger conversation by showing the
resident that you are engaged in it; it also aids
group chats as you can check what someone said if
more than one person is talking. However,
paraphrasing in either situation could potentially
make it long-winded.
Overall, paraphrasing and summarising are both
really effective at enabling communication because
it proves listening and allows mishearing to be
Eye Contact
Eye contact is looking into someone’s eyes while
you are talking, with them looking into your eyes.
This shows honesty and trust between speaker and
For example, with any resident wishing to tell you
something personal, if you directly look them in
the eye then they will be more willing to tell you as
they will be able to see that you are going to handle
their information with care.
In a one-to-one format, eye contact would enforce
confidentiality, while too much may be disturbing
by appearing slightly perverted. In a group, eye
contact is challenging as you would constantly be
looking between people and it would be
impossible to maintain it with any one person
without seeming to ignore the others; however, a
reasonable amount of eye contact with each
person would create a more comfortable
environment. In either case, visually impaired
residents would be unaffected.
Overall, eye contact is quite effective at enabling
communication as it shows loyalty and
Facial expressions and posture
Facial expressions are combinations of movements
of your eyes, mouth and eyebrows. Your posture is
how straight your body is when sitting or standing.
Both of these are closely linked with your emotions
and are therefore very effective in showing
residents how you feel or vice versa.
If you are sitting up straight (but not stiffly) and
are smiling then this shows happiness and can also
show confidence.
In a group situation, these non-verbal cues are
helpful because everyone, apart from visually
impaired residents, will be able to use them to
know how you feel even if at that point you are
focussing on one person. With one-to-one, it
allows the listener to get more information than
simply what is being said. Controversially, it may
be inaccurate or may give away things that were
intended to stay a secret.
Overall, facial expressions are very effective due to
showing the other person exactly how you feel,
whereas posture is less so because you may
naturally slump out of habit and comfort.
Proximity is how close or far away you are from
Thinking about proximity while at Brookside is
important because while you want to be close
enough to the residents to be able to communicate
well, you do not want to get too close and make the
residents feel awkward or harassed.
When talking to any resident, sitting opposite
them at a comfortable closeness would enable the
most accurate communication.
In any situation, being conscious of proximity is
always good because you can then be sure that
communication will be both easy and comfortable.
However, visually impaired residents would have
trouble managing proximity alone because they
would be unable to see the distance between them
and others.
Overall, proximity is not the most effective at
enabling communication but can still have quite a
big impact at times.
Appearance is how you look because what you are
wearing, how much make-up you have on, what
piercings you have, etc.
The way you dress and present yourself can affect
how residents perceive you and therefore respond
to you.
For instance, if you have a tattoo sleeve but you
cover it up, you are less likely to make residents
feel intimidated and so they will probably open up
to you better.
There are two types of gestures: hand movements,
such as waving or thumbs up, and head
movements, like nodding or looking down.
Most gestures are universal, meaning that anyone
in the world would understand them.
For example, if you shake your head at a visually
impaired resident, they will realise that you are
saying “no”.
Signs, Symbols, Pictures
Signs, symbols and pictures are all visual aids,
usually universal.
They greatly assist and enhance communication
and also independence.
For example, if the fire alarm sounds then EAL
residents will know where to go if they see a sign
showing a man running through a door away from
Special Methods
The main type is makaton, which is using hand
signals or pictures to back up the keywords in a
sentence. Most of our EAL, mute and hearing
impaired residents use it to learn and interact, e.g.
when they are talking between themselves.
Another special method we use is Braille, a series
of raised dots on a page in certain patterns to
represent letters. Our visually impaired residents
use it for reading by running their fingers over it,
for instance when they have a form to fill in.