Disability Services Administrators: Communication Skills

Professionals providing services to persons with disabilities require advanced skills in order to meet their clients’ unique needs. They should be able to communicate effectively, solve emerging problems, make evidence-based decisions, and empower all beneficiaries. Those working in administrative roles in the field of developmental disabilities should mentor their clients and guide them to achieve their potential. This paper presents a detailed summary of the responses obtained after interviewing a Disability Services Administrator.

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Communication Skills

The identified professional outlined several communication skills that individuals planning to pursue and succeed in the field of developmental disabilities require. The first one is that of listening. According to the interviewee, those providing services to persons with disabilities should be in a position to understand their unique needs. This means that those who want to emerge successful in the profession should learn how to listen actively (Lewis, Packard, & Lewis, 2012). They should seek to understand what others might be saying, ask relevant questions, and respond appropriately.

The second skill that emerged from the interview was that of nonverbal communication. The respondent identified hand gestures, body language, eye contact, and voice tone as essential attributes that human services professionals require whenever communicating with persons with various disabilities. Those who have hearing problems can benefit significantly from the use of sign language (Simplican, Leader, Kosciulek, & Leahy, 2015). This skill will encourage clients to share their problems or ideas and eventually deliver positive results. The effective use of nonverbal signals will convey the right emotions, feelings, and messages.

The third skill that emerged from the completed exercise was that of concision and clarity. Individuals working in this field should use few words and focus on the needs of the client or listener (Kalb, Beasley, Caoili, & Klein, 2019). They should compose their ideas before saying them. The ultimate objective is to achieve positive results. Friendliness is a powerful competence that many people working as administrators in the field of developmental disability should possess. This skill makes it possible for leaders to engage their clients and followers (Kalb et al., 2019). It also creates the best environment for pursuing social services objectives or goals. A sense of personalization emerges through the use of this skill, thereby ensuring that the recipient feels more empowered, appreciated, and relevant.

The interviewee indicated that confidence was a powerful skill that guides administrators in this field. This communication attribute ensures that all followers and partners believe in their leader. According to the respondent, individuals can combine the attribute with attentive listening to deliver positive results. Empathy is another powerful characteristic that can make it possible for many professionals in the field of disability development to transform their clients’ lives (Kalb et al., 2019).

Such leaders will respect the opinions of different beneficiaries, listen attentively, and propose evidence-based solutions to their problems. A sense of respect will occur when every involved party decides to embrace this skill.

The last competence that emerged from the discussion was that of respect. Due to the nature of the occupation, administrators should be ready to value the inputs and suggestions presented by other people (Lewis et al., 2012). They will make eye contact, listen attentively, and ensure that their followers feel empowered or appreciated. This competence will also guide leaders to be part of the entire conversation, avoid distractions, and focus on positive outcomes.

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Current Skills

The completed interview made it possible for me to have a clear understanding of the unique communication skills I would need in my future career. I currently possess specific competencies that will make me successful in this profession. The first one is that of respect. I always embrace and exhibit this skill whenever interacting with different people, including my colleagues, classmates, and clients. This attribute will make me a competent administrator.

The second skill is that of listening. I always follow what my friends and colleagues are saying. This is achieved by following every spoken word and nonverbal aspect. This practice has made it possible for solve most of the issues and challenges many clients face. I also use them to pursue my personal objectives.

I always take the idea of clarity seriously whenever liaising or communicating with different individuals. This skill makes it possible for me to use adequate words depending on the situation. I always select the right words so that the relevant message is delivered to the identified audience. Another unique strength is that of empathy. I always put the needs of my classmates and clients first. I achieve this goal by respecting their opinions and encouraging them to accept mine.

I also try as much as possible to identify the right channel of communication. Although the respondent did not present this skill during the interview, I believe that it is important since it makes it guides me to meet the emerging demands of different persons with disabilities. The right mode of communication is a powerful approach that can make a given session successful.

Skills to Improve

The completed exercise has revealed various skills that I should improve if I am to achieve my career objectives. The first is that of nonverbal communication. The respondent encouraged me to take the issue of body language seriously. This is the case since I have not been using the right hand gestures and voice tones to convey the intended message. I will implement a powerful plan that can result in better nonverbal communication competencies. I will practice how to maintain eye contact whenever communicating with a given person. I will also have to improve my ability to pay attention to people’s nonverbal signs.

Over the years, I have been embracing the concept of professionalism whenever dealing with disabled clients and colleagues. This practice means that I am usually unfriendly. Such an approach makes it impossible for my colleagues and service recipients to remain honest and open. I will consider a powerful strategy to remain friendly whenever engaging in face-to-face communication with different individuals. Another skill that requires improvement is that of confidence (McGill et al., 2018). I believe that I should learn to appear more convinced and confident when dealing with different people in my profession. The development of these competencies will eventually make me a skilled provider of high-quality services to more persons with developmental disabilities.

Personal Action Plan

The completed course has equipped me with evidence-based ideas for enhancing my interpersonal effectiveness and assessment skill. These attributes are essential since they will result in improved interpersonal communications within the field of developmental disabilities. A powerful action plan is needed to improve these competencies. My preferred approach will be based on my work setting or environment.

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I will follow a superior model informed Kurt Lewin’s theory of change. The first phase of the process will be to engage in self-examination and analysis in an attempt to address specific gaps that affect my interpersonal effectiveness and assessment (Ledford, Barton, Severini, & Zimmerman, 2019). This knowledge will make it easier for me to understand how the improved skills will support my current and future goals.

The second phase of the strategy is to engage in activities that will improve such competencies. For example, I will join different teams, liaise with my superiors, and identify opportunities for interacting with more people. I will ask them to guide me throughout the process. During this second phase, I will engage in continuous learning and use modern technologies to acquire new competencies that will eventually improve my interpersonal communication skills (Chung, 2018).

The acquired ideas will empower me to develop a superior philosophy for transforming or developing these competencies. The final stage will be informed by the concept of refreezing. This means that I will ensure that all acquires ideas, strengths, and skills will become part of my service delivery model. I will also consider most of the insights and theories studied in class to improve my interpersonal communication abilities.

Conclusion

Professionals working in different capacities in the field of disabilities development should strive to develop desirable communication skills. This achievement will make it easier for them to provide superior support and services to their clients. They will also communicate with others effectively and solve issues that might arise. The interviewees indicated that these attributes are appropriate for such individuals: empathy, nonverbal communication abilities, confidence, respect, friendliness, attentive listening, and clarity. I will, therefore, use the above action plan to improve my interpersonal communication competencies and eventually become successful in my career.

References

Chung, E. Y. (2018). Unveiling issues limiting participation of children with developmental coordination disorder: From early identification to insights for intervention. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 30(3), 373-389. Web.

Ledford, J. R., Barton, E. E., Severini, K. E., & Zimmerman, K. N. (2019). A primer on single-case research designs: Contemporary use and analysis. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 124(1), 35-56. Web.

Kalb, L. G., Beasley, J., Caoili, A., & Klein, A. (2019). Improvement in mental health outcomes and caregiver service experiences associated with the START program. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 124(1), 25-34. Web.

Lewis, J., Packard, T., & Lewis, M. T. (2012). Management of human service programs (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks.

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McGill, P., Vanono, L., Clover, W., Smyth, E., Cooper, V., Hopkins, L., … Deveau, R. (2018). Reducing challenging behaviour of adults with intellectual disabilities in supported accommodation: A cluster randomized controlled trial of setting-wide positive behaviour support. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 81, 143-154. Web.

Simplican, S. C., Leader, G., Kosciulek, J., & Leahy, M. (2015). Defining social inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: An ecological model of social networks and community participation. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 38, 18-29. Web.

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