Experience misunderstanding in communication

Any one of us can experience the need for support to express ourselves or to understand what is being said. It may be quite easy for another person to spot that we have a CSN (Communication Support Need), for example, we may have a visible disability that affects the control of our facial muscles. But if our CSN is to do with a hidden disability (e.g. partial hearing loss) it may be hard for another person to notice. Indeed, we may even try to conceal that we have a CSN at all.

Communication Support Need exercise

This introductory activity sets the context for this Learner’s Workbook by putting you in a situation where you have a CSN. We have probably all had the experience of not understanding what someone is saying and the feelings of frustration and discomfort that this generates. This activity replicates that kind of experience, allowing you to remember what this feels like. It also helps you to understand the strategies that support or hinder communication.

Film Clip 1  shows someone asking you something in a language you are unlikely to understand.

After watching film clip 1:

  • How do you feel when you repeatedly cannot understand what this person is saying?
  • What does it feel like when they slow their speech right down or speak really loudly?
  • What do they do that helps you to eventually understand?

The key point to remember when you communicate with someone who does not understand you is to not only use verbal communication but all your non-verbal ways of communication such as body language, making gestures and using objects or visual clues.

For more information contact:

Tess Allen


++44 (0) 7920 207732