Barriers to Communication: The Views of People with Learning Disabilities with Epilepsy and Their Careers

Jerry Paul K. Ninnoni, Christiana Okantey, Evelyn Asamoah Ampofo


People with learning disabilities experienced more health inequalities compared with the general population. Under-diagnosis is common among people with learning disabilities leading to unmet health needs compared with the general population. Numerous communication barriers have been reported in the literature but little is known regarding people with epilepsy and learning disabilities. The presence of epilepsy may further compound the communication needs of people with learning disabilities. The study investigated communication barriers between people with epilepsy and learning disabilities and carers.Method: Exploratory qualitative approach was adopted. Pictures and photographs were used when necessary to facilitate and elicit responses from participants. The interviews were recorded with participant consent.Analysis: The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically (Miles and Huberman, 1994).Findings: Service users and carers reported a range of communication barriers. These included; Stigma, discrimination, lack of knowledge, impairments and lack of alternative augmentative communication methods

Keywords: Communication, epilepsy, learning disabilities, carers, healthcare professionals.

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