Communication is key in forming relationships with others. As future Occupational Therapists, we know that effective communication will benefit the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client. It is important for us to recognize that in order to help clients in restoring function, acquiring new adaptations, and so forth, we must give as well as receive feedback from the client. Who else will know better than he or she regarding the goals he or she is trying to reach?
When communication is ineffective, the quality of therapy as well as the therapeutic relationship will decline. Although our two interviewees did not mention scenarios pertaining to language barriers and healthcare, it can be deduced that effective communication between both parties will ultimately lead to clients becoming more involved in therapy. When they completely understand the reasons behind the treatment approaches taken, they will be more inclined to receive treatments proposed to them.
When treating El Salvadoran clients who do not speak English or speak very little of the language, one solution to bridge the gap between ineffective communication is through the utilization of a translator. Another solution is that we as soon-to-be therapists should familiarize ourselves with conversational Spanish and learn key rehabilitation words used frequently when treating clients. Both options benefit the client; however, I prefer the latter option in that it shows a willingness to connect with the client through their native language. The therapist will be more approachable.
Through Amazon.com, there is a book titled Common Phrase Translation: Spanish for English Speakers for Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy. In addition, there are other resources such as pocketbooks with common Spanish to English phrase translations. The benefits of new technology include portable handbooks for rehabilitation and medical Spanish in the form of applications (apps) within mobile phone devices.