Research indicates that, when an interviewee feels at ease in an interview setting, they are more likely to give more information, regardless of cognitive ability. Because people with intellectual disability are likely to suffer from social anxiety, low self-esteem and a lack of assertiveness, it is particularly important to spend time putting the interviewee at ease and building rapport (Milne & Bull, 2001).
Allowing time to build rapport may help the interviewer to identify ‘language idiosyncrasies’ used by the client. This will allow the interviewer to understand and use the terminology that is most familiar to the client, as well as provide the time required to assess the client’s communication ability and needs (Milne & Bull, 2001). It can be helpful to consider ways that will allow the client to exert some control in the interview, in order to decrease the power differential (for example, by allowing the client to determine the timing of breaks) (Milne & Bull, 2001).
By taking steps to address power differentials, interviewers may decrease acquiescence, especially if the client feels able to contradict the interviewer or answer honestly when they do not know how to respond to a question.