• Barriers facing social workers undertaking direct work with children and young people with a learning disability who communicate using non-verbal methods

      Prynallt-Jones, Katherine A.; Carey, Malcolm; Doherty, Pauline; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2017-03-03)
      Abstract: This paper analyses data drawn from a small group of qualified social workers’ specialising in work with disabled children who communicate using non-verbal methods. While a number of studies have criticised social services for neglecting disabled children, this paper re-evaluates evidence from the standpoint of a small group of experienced practitioners. Three substantive themes are explored which include: problems faced by practitioner’s communicating with children and young people; barriers to direct work; and positive engagement or use of creative methods. Among other findings, the paper highlights the complexity of communication techniques when seeking to accommodate diverse service user and carer needs, as well as creative responses used by practitioners despite significant barriers that include limited available training, technology and financial resources. Despite policy initiatives and legal requirements emphasising the importance of direct work and participation with disabled children, the conclusion reiterates the narrow focus of current risk-averse social work around disability, as well a need for additional resources and training to improve relationships, communication and meaningful support for children and young people that meet basic legal requirements.
    • Using codes of ethics for disabled children who communicate non-verbally - some challenges and implications for social workers

      Carey, Malcolm; Prynallt-Jones, Katherine A.; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-02-09)
      This article evaluates the use of professional codes of ethics by social workers specialising in work with disabled children who communicate non-verbally. It draws upon phenomenological interviews and other studies to highlight challenges faced by practitioners in a complex role which demands high-levels of skills and knowledge. Supporting other research, codes of ethics were rarely utilised by practitioners who typically maintain a vague appreciation while often compelled to focus upon pragmatic and quick responses to a complex role. Despite this, it is argued that principle-based frameworks embedded within codes of ethics carry important political implications. These include the potential to strengthen existing utilitarian and bioethical discourses embedded in policy or dominant professional narratives, and which can at times marginalise or exclude disabled children.