Snowy Valleys School

Planning and Learning Today for Living and Working Tomorrow

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Communication is the exchange of messages between at least two people, for example sending and receiving a message so that we can understand each other.

Communication includes:

  • expressive language:¬†putting words together to form thoughts or to express ourselves.
  • receptive language: being able to understand what someone says to you.

Students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will need help in developing communication in the following areas:

  • speaking (visuals and technology)
  • listening (schedules, routines, following instructions)
  • socialisation (turn-taking, waiting, and sharing).

Communication strategies have been successful in teaching students:

  • increasing functional communication skills
  • decreasing challenging behaviours
  • increasing language and literacy skills.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) relates to all the tools and strategies that we use with people who have little or no speech.

Communication supports may include the use of no, low or high-tech supports.

  • No-tech supports can involve pointing and gestures, mime, facial expressions, body language or signing.
  • Low-tech supports (visuals) involve the use of pictures, symbols and written words or phrases to communicate. Examples are communication boards, communication books, schedules, calendars, social stories and PECS.

When students cannot understand messages from their environment and/or get their message across using speech alone, visual systems that incorporate visual supports can enhance and support the student's communication skills.

Visual supports enable communication to be more specific and encourage consistency in expectations, procedures and routines:

  • High-tech supports involve the use of electronic equipment to communicate when speech is limited or unable to be used. Examples are communication devices and communication software.

Communication devices provide both visual and auditory input and output to students. These devices include pictures and words that represent people, places and things.

They can be used to convey feelings, make choices and increase language and literacy skills.

Websites and resources