Communication Disorders

  1. A child with a communication disorder can present many challenges beyond the difficulty in exchanging information with others. Consider all aspects of functioning before making a final determination related to competence.
  2. Determine which aspect of communication is deficient: INPUT, PROCESSING or OUTPUT of information.
  3. Be aware that communication disorders may appear to have the potential to isolate individuals from their social, educational, family and community surroundings. However, it does not necessarily mean that information is not being processed and understood.
  4. Be careful not to communicate in a loud, slow or condescending manner. A person with challenging communication needs does not necessarily have a hearing or cognitive problem.
  5. Look directly at the person when communicating with him/her, not at the device or the person that may be providing assistance.
  6. Do not keep talking to fill the silence following a question. It takes time to construct a message using AAC devices or supports. WAIT.
  7. Repeat the message once it is given to you in order to clarify the meaning.
  8. Some individuals who use AAC devices do not communicate in full sentences. They rely on you to “co-construct” messages with the key words given. For example: the AAC user communicates, “Mother home”, and you way, “Are you telling me your mother is at home?” If the user signals “no”, ask for missing information.
  9. Do not be reluctant to say “I didn’t understand what you said, could you repeat it.” Provide support for repetition, especially until both parties have established a working rapport and understanding of the “style” of communication that will be used. Motivating the person to continue to communicate is key to being able to establish a working relationship.
  10. Interviewing individuals with communication disorders takes more time than the typically speaking person. Plan for that fact to avoid frustration for all.


Always remember that communication is multi-dimensional.

Keep this in mind especially with this group of individuals.

Body language speaks volumes!