Improving staff capacity to form and facilitate relationships for people with severe intellectual disability: Translating a theoretical model into evidence based intervention

The Living with Disability Group at La Trobe University examined ways that the social relationships model could be used to enhance relationships between support staff and people with severe intellectual disability. This intervention was designed to address known difficulties in developing social relationships, particularly around issues of recognizing and responding to communication.

Support staff members from participating organisations were provided with an interactive educational intervention based on adult learning principles. This course addressed the four key components of the social relationships model: recognizing individuality, sharing the moment, connecting, and sharing the message.

The study revealed that overall relationship processes between support staff and people with severe intellectual disability were infrequent and variable. While the survey data indicated little change, some changes to staff attitudes and practices were evident in the qualitative data, and also evident at individual levels.

From the NSW Department of Family and Community Services website:

Related Publications

Johnson, H., Bigby, C., Iacono, T., Douglas, J., Katthagen, S., and Bould, E. (2016) Increasing day service staff capacity to facilitate positive relationships with people with severe intellectual disability: Evaluation of a new intervention using multiple baseline design, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, DOI 10.3109/13668250.2016.1246656

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