University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Using Wordless Books to Support Clinical Consultations

Hollins, S., Carpenter, Barry, Bradley, E. and Egerton, J. (2017) Using Wordless Books to Support Clinical Consultations. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 12 (4). pp. 260-271. ISSN 1755-6228

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper discusses the use of wordless books to support clinical consultations and shows that minimising the cognitive load by using wordless pictorial narrative reduces anxiety and empowers the patient, and clinicians using such resources describe positive clinical outcomes.
Purpose – Based on a literature and practice review, the purpose of this paper is to examine the theoretical
and clinical basis for using wordless books with patients who have intellectual disabilities (ID) and/or autism.
Design/methodology/approach – A literature review identified seminal peer-reviewed English language
articles relating to the neuroscience of information and emotion processing for adults with ID and/or autism.
In addition to published examples, illustrative case examples were contributed by clinicians regularly using
wordless books.
Findings – Many people, including those with ID, selectively attend to visual information. Minimising the
cognitive load by using wordless pictorial narrative reduces anxiety, and empowers the patient. Clinicians
using such resources describe positive clinical outcomes. Only the Beyond Words wordless books have
been identified in published clinical trials.
Research limitations/implications – Although existing evidence suggests a strong positive impact, further
research into the use of wordless books for people with ID is needed.
Practical implications – Wordless books are reported to help develop staff skills and empathy for
supporting adults with ID. The books facilitate some legally required reasonable adjustments to increase
service access. Staff training is needed for effective use of wordless books.
Originality/value – Wordless books specifically designed with and for adults with word processing
difficulties, ID and/or autism to enhance health literacy and explore their own narratives and emotional
responses around health experiences and personal traumas are a unique approach. This paper may also
offer the first exploration of their neuropsychological underpinnings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Staff and students at the University of Worcester can access the full-text via the UW online library search. External users should check availability with their local library or Interlibrary Requests Service.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: intellectual disability, trauma, wordless books, Books Beyond Words, autism, visual literacy
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Barry Carpenter
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 09:52
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:28

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.