How and why we communicate

March 8, 2021
September 7, 2022

Read a transcript of this video:

Human beings communicate for all sorts of reasons: to express needs; to convey information – or to gain it; to develop understanding; for pure enjoyment or to meet social and psychological needs – such as expressing feelings, establishing relationships, asking for help and reassurance or giving an opinion.

Good communication uses both our output and input systems.

Our output – or expressive – system involves our ability to speak, sign, gesture, use body language and write or type.

It relies on other abilities such as the organisation of our thoughts, our ability to recall words and put them into sentences as well as the muscles needed to speak and to write or type.

Our input – or receptive – system involves our ability to understand the speech, sign, gestures and body language of others, as well as our ability to read or understand symbols. The input system relies on us hearing words and understanding the meaning behind them. This system also stores our ability to know how and when to use an item – such as when a fork might be better than a spoon, or why a dog might live in a house, but not a fox.

Dementia can affect all of these abilities and make communication a struggle. It’s important to remember communication needs to be enjoyable, and not just a means to an end. It is important to make time for chatter and not just to communicate about needs. 

How and why we communicate
There are all sorts of reasons we communicate with each other, and dementia can sometimes make this a struggle
The brain