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Title: Communication styles in children and young people with profound mental handicap : a developmental perspective
Author: Burford, Bronwen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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The aim of this study was to examine and describe the nature and content of communication in profound mental handicap. The developmental level of people with profound mental handicap and their limited behavioural repertoire suggests that the normal development of emotional and social communication in infancy offers an appropriate model for the processes underlying their communication. By revealing what is shared in the two populations insight might be also be gained into the robust elements of normal communication, i.e. those elements operating in both populations. The investigation was divided into two studies. In Study 1 interactions between 12 children (aged 8-18 years) with profound mental and multiple handicaps and their caregivers (mothers and nurses) were described. Study 2 compared the communicative involvement of six young people with profound mental handicap (aged 14-26 years) when with three groups of adults who were differentiated by their personal knowledge of the young person and their previous experience in the field of profound mental handicap. The two studies revealed that, beneath the apparent chaos and disorder, an ordered system of emotional communication is operating in children and young people with profound mental handicap, in common with similar observations in normal early development. The implications of these findings for the development of personal communication and relationships in children and young people with profound handicaps and the contribution of this knowledge to the understanding of the normal development of early communication are discussed. Possible therapeutic applications are also considered, proposing that close attention should be paid to the fundamental aspects of human behaviour which are shared in the general and profoundly mentally handicapped populations, influencing the practices which help children with profound mental handicap to move forward and out into the community of other human beings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available