Course Code -INT102 Communication Barrier for People Having Disabilities


Communication is the act of imparting or transferring information from one place to another involving a single person or a group of people. Every conversation includes one sender, the information or message and the receiver. The communication can be categorized based on the medium such as verbal communication by speaking, written communication or nonverbal communication where observation infers the message from some sign language or gesture (Burgoon et al., 2016). The five prime communicational skills involve listening, straight-talking, sign language, stress management, and emotional control. The audio-visual conversation is also an essential part of this (Agaronnik et al., 2019). Communication is an integral part of life to convey feelings.

Communication barrier 

The communication barrier is prevention for an integral instinct of exchanging information (Dessouky et al., 2017). The main external barriers include the physical or physiological barrier, emotional or cultural barrier, language from different locations, no common context or perceptual barrier, straight forward approach lacking eye contact implying inattentive mind, lack of credibility, gender barrier, lack of focus, jargon, and interpersonal barriers such as religion, rituals, and games.In health care practice a good communication skill is the utmost necessary factor and plays a crucial role to develop bondage between the patients or disabled persons with the others. Any kind of disability interferes with communication and behavior at the initial stage. The cognitive impairment, autism or other genetic or phenotypic behavioral challenges, inability to read, lack of confidence, not having education, poor articulation skills are the internal barriers regarding the disabled persons( Riley and Furst-Holloway, 2019). Moreover, the intellectual disability or the physical in the case of blind, deaf or dumb persons need counseling to know the sign languages. Addressing these barriers the receiver or listener should be sensible enough to understand their feelings and the counselors must know their treatment and disability background properly(Sethi and Rani, 2017). Intellectual disability is the most critical to handle. Their brain functions are challenged resulting in unusual cognition. Not only from the physical side but also their psychological behavior is different and impairs with communication level.

Effective communication-

Effective communication with disabled persons includes various factors regarding their emotional states and physical states. Generally, the tone and approach should be normal, self-conscious with choosing the words, direct talking as adults not conveying too much consolation for their condition, always asking before help as per their needs, concern about the people-first language to show them respect and avoiding to treat them as an object (Kim, et al., 2019). As per their psychological condition, the gestures should be accordingly. Personal space is important for all people but the disabled people are generally sensitive regarding this. by understanding their mindset and mood the conversation should proceed. Any hesitation regarding their disability does not make them feel awkward or disrespectful or embarrassed. Maintaining a proper eye level is also crucial. In the case of vision loss patients, touching their arm lightly makes them feel close as it makes them attentive about the presence. The directions and any help should be provided with care (Teachman et al., 2018). In all cases, if the persons are unknown basic information about the person should be collected prior to the conversation to understand them better. In the case of deaf persons, the gesture and the occasional light touch can make the circumstances cozy for them. Involving any interpreter makes the process easier when appropriate sign language is not known. In the case of language, barrier interpreters are essential to act as mediums (Stransky et al., 2018). For patients with speech disabilities, sufficient time should be provided to answer or make the sentence complete. Intellectually disabled people generally are very vulnerable and need extreme care. Treating them as a young adult and understanding their emotions need a sensible mind. The most important criteria are attention that only makes the conversation effective.

Identification of resources

In the case of communication disability, there are several facilities considering internet service, type and listen to relay service, SMS, video, speak and read or captioned relay. Moreover, teletypewriters are another important tool to use to make effective conversations with disabled people.  In the case of TTY, one can type their message in response to other conversations having a small display. Interpreter or notetaker is also a valuable part of this system. In case of conferences, educational course work, legal situations, seminars, staff meetings, vocational training, medical appointments, job interviews they are an integral part to play a significant role. Communicational boards are also useful as a representation of the speech in visual form by using pictures (Irwin and Sheridan, 2019). Moreover, complex communication needs the previous research on the specific topic and understanding the perspective of the disabled person about the topic. Apart from it, technology is very advanced in recent times and produces innovative tools to make the process easier such as Talkit, UNI, etc.

Case study

Victoria is a 15-year-old lady and she was born with a hearing impairment having a moderate level of sensorineural hearing loss. She uses two hearing aids and is the only member with a disability in her family. She is jovial as other teenagers and wants to be self-independent by pursuing a career in criminal psychology. But in her school, she has no friends in common with similar conditions. Students with hearing disabilities are from different ages and do not participate in class together. But out of the school, she has many friends and she is treated just like others. She loves this kind of behavior. During the conversation, she often mentioned consciousness as it makes her embarrassed regarding her condition and doesn't like it. She loves to play video games and often watches movies using subtitles. Sometimes, she pretends about understanding the conversation with others to avoid the awkwardness. She has a creative soul and generally prefers to spend time with herself. She uses verbal communication as lip reading is not sufficient sometimes and she is learning the British Sign Language and gesture recently.


The study showed the importance of conversation. Not only for sharing ideas but also for psychological purposes, a conversation is a crucial part of life. Disabled people often face several issues regarding the difficulties in communication. The difficulties differ from mentally disabled to vision disable to hearing disabled persons. The study provided detailed information regarding effective communication skills with them. A case study of a young lady also provided in this regard to understand their difficulties in daily life.






Agaronnik, N., Campbell, E.G., Ressalam, J. and Iezzoni, L.I., 2019. Communicating with Patients with Disability: Perspectives of Practicing Physicians. Journal of general internal medicine34(7), pp.1139-1145.

Burgoon, J.K., Guerrero, L.K. and Floyd, K., 2016. Nonverbal communication. Routledge.

Dessouky, G., Koushanfar, F., Sadeghi, A.R., Schneider, T., Zeitouni, S. and Zohner, M., 2017. Pushing the Communication Barrier in Secure Computation using Lookup Tables. In NDSS.

Irwin, M. and Sheridan, T., 2019. Outcomes for two men with intellectual disability following communication support training for their workers. Intellectual Disability Australasia40(1), p.9.

Kim, J.W., Lee, S.H., Kwon, O.S., Lee, J.H., Park, H.J., Jung, J.I. and Kwon, J.Y., Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp, 2019. Vehicle including communication system for disabled person and control method of communication system for disabled person. U.S. Patent Application 16/155,294.

Riley, J. and Furst-Holloway, S., 2019. Crossing the Language Barrier: An exploratory review of the effectiveness of nonverbal communication techniques while studying abroad. Undergraduate Scholarly Showcase Program (Spring 2019).

Sethi, D. and Rani, M.K., 2017. Communication barrier in health care setting as perceived by nurses and patient. International Journal of Nursing Education9(4), pp.30-35.

Stransky, M.L., Jensen, K.M. and Morris, M.A., 2018. Adults with Communication Disabilities Experience Poorer Health and Healthcare Outcomes Compared to Persons Without Communication Disabilities. Journal of general internal medicine33(12), pp.2147-2155.

Teachman, G., McDonough, P., Macarthur, C. and Gibson, B.E., 2018. A critical dialogical methodology for conducting research with disabled youth who use augmentative and alternative communication. Qualitative Inquiry24(1), pp.35-44.

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