Challenges with communication are common for many people with intellectual disability and, while counselling practitioners need a solid theoretical basis to their work, they also need to ensure that their practice is flexible enough to respond effectively to the needs of this broad client group (O’Driscoll, 2009). The communication styles of people with intellectual disability vary, as they do with all people. Some may be very articulate, some very talkative, and others may have very limited or no verbal communication (Gallagher, 2002).

Depending on the individual client’s communication style, needs and limitations, counsellors may need to talk more or talk less, make more statements than usual, give more suggestions, prompt more, rephrase the other person’s words and ideas, or ‘loan them the words’ more than usual (Booth & Booth, in Gallagher, 2002).

IQ is not a useful indicator of a person’s communication capacity. Two people with the same measured IQ can be very different in their practical abilities as well as their verbal fluency. Nor is a person’s vocabulary a good indicator of their level of comprehension or communication ability (Booth & Booth, in Gallagher, 2002). In the same way, a person’s chronological age may not be an adequate measure of their maturity (Dossetor et al., 2005).

Poor communication ability can have a wide impact on a person’s ability to negotiate the systems necessary to live well – for example to access banks, Centrelink, the Public Trustee, medical services and so on. It is important for counselling practitioners to take these challenges into account, to enable clients to take full advantage of the support services available to them, and to assist them in communicating their experiences and needs to others.

In the literature about counselling people with intellectual disability, there is often no distinction between people with ‘milder’ forms of impairment and more ‘severe’ forms of impairment. In addition, people with more ‘severe’ communication difficulties are often deliberately excluded from the research. There is a real absence in the literature about how to offer counselling, treatment and support to people with intellectual disability who have very limited verbal ability or who have more ‘severe’ forms of impairment. More work needs to be done to better understand and respond to the needs of this group.

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The Honorable Coralee O'Rourke MP and the Queensland NDIS Transition Advisory Group will be holding industry briefings across Queensland to explore what we have learnt from year one of the NDIS transition and the potential implications for business as Queensland progresses to the full scheme. The...
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A free community Workability Expo in Brisbane will showcare employment, training and career options for people with a disability. The event at Kedron Wavell Services Club, Chermside, will connect people with educators, employment services, service providers and community organisations. Event...
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NDS invites you to participate in this two day workshop - Making the NDIS your Business! This workshop will comprehensively cover what organisations need to know about building a transition plan and costing and pricing in an NDIS environment. This workshop is suitable for CEOs/Executives and CFOs/...
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NDS Queensland is offering workshops on Costing and Pricing in a NDIS Environment in Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay. Costing and pricing skill and knowledge is a key area for providers to improve business practices to be prepared to operate in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)...
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Queensland Government media release Gold Coast business and community leaders have come together to discuss the economic and employment opportunities the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will bring to the region. Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said the NDIS discussions...
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Queensland Government media release The Queensland Government has unveiled a new disability plan that will create opportunities for the economic and social participation of people with disability. Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke launched the All Abilities Queensland: opportunities...
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A Bill has been introduced in Federal Parliament to establish a Commission to monitor the quality and safety of services providing support to individuals on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The Commission will be known as the 'NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission' and will...
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People who are receiving disability supports funded by the Queensland Government but are not eligible for the NDIS will continue to be supported under Continuity of Support arrangements. . The Commonwealth Government Department of Health is implementing the Continuity of Support Programme (CoS) for...
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government will reinstate the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants. Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke said the decision came in response to concerns expressed by some Queenslanders...

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