Disability support workers often play an integral role in a client’s social and personal development. If you’re a support worker looking to provide social support to a person living with a disability, we’ve compiled some clever and lively ways to encourage their social side.
Play board games that require one-on-one communication
Each person living with a disability has unique requirements and differing abilities. If you’re beginning to support a person who lives with an intellectual disability, it may take some time to adjust to communicating with you depending on the nature of their abilities.
A simple yet clever way to start a rapport with your client is to ask them to play a board game with you. Board games such as Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly or even card games which require spoken communication and eye contact can be a great conversation starter. This activity is also a great option if you’re supporting the client for the very first time because it can create a positive first impression for them and allows them to establish a fun, relaxed memory of you and your time together.
Encourage them to join a local arts group or sports club
If your client becomes interested in starting a new sport or hobby, let them know that a great way to build up skill in their chosen activity is to join a local group or community club. Whether they’re interested in kicking a footy, getting under the spotlight or simply want to make more social connections, take some time to research options that are right for them.
Being an attentive, valuable support worker means being able to understand your client’s boundaries and abilities. If you don’t think your client is ready to reach into their broader community, it might be best not to suggest this option. Listen to your client to get an understanding of what is most suitable for them and take into consideration their parent’s or guardian’s wishes for their loved one.
If your client is keen to get out and about but isn’t sure which activity would suit them, we created a list of benefits that come with getting involved in the creative arts. Take a look at our list to see whether the creative arts could be the right option for your client.
Encourage them to initiate communication in public
Whether it be with a cashier, waiter or a friendly passerby, if your client struggles to communicate in public places, there are some approaches you can try. Person-centred active support is a way of ensuring people living with a disability become involved in social communication whenever the opportunity arises. Providing person-centred active support is as easy as standing behind your client when they pay for items to make them feel at ease and in control. This way, you’re allowing their communication skills to flourish by promoting their independence.
You can find out more about person-centred active support and how you can use it with your client at Every Moment has Potential.
Practice social skill-building games
Don’t have a board game handy? Games with minimal equipment can be just as good. A great way to build your client’s social skills is to initiate one-on-one games that focus on body language, emotions, and response. Games like emotion charades, where participants take turns picking an emotion and acting it out or drawing it for the opponent to guess work brilliantly for young people living with a disability, as it draws out their creative and social strengths. Creative games like improvisational storytelling or even a topic game where participants go through the alphabet naming objects belonging to one topic such as animals or sports can allow your client to broaden their knowledge while building upon their one-on-one social skills.
Accompany them to community events
You know those weekend markets you’ve been seeing in the local paper? Make some time to visit and bring your client along. Even if they don’t directly socialise with people around them, they’re still being given the opportunity to connect with the community and familiarise themselves with some local faces.
Community events like fairs, markets, performances, and meetups are often completely accessible, free and encourage social participation. If you’d like to give your client the opportunity to be as involved in their community as possible, why not ask them to join you on their next support session? To see how you can boost your support work business in the NDIS, click here.
Feeling inspired to help your others build their social skills and get involved in their community? Visit Better Caring to see how easy it is to become an independent aged care or disability support worker.