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To communicate: a child's right
Boy holding a 'thumb's up' sign

Every child has a need and a right to be able to communicate. However, children with learning difficulties may face obstacles to communication.

A communication bill of rights
Big sign on the wall

The charter opposite was drawn up by the James Rennie School and sets out children's basic communication and interaction rights.

  • Do you think the icons enhance the written word?
  • What do you think each symbol means?
Communication and language
Teacher communicating with child

What is the difference between language and communication?

  • Make a list of six of your regular daily activities.
  • Put the letter 'c' next to those that you think involve communication.
  • Put the letter 'l' next to those that you think involve language.
  • Look at the 'c' and 'l' activities and write one definition of communication and one of language.
  • What differences and similarities do you see?
Understanding the child

In the previous exercise we looked at the relationship between language and communication. Now, let's look at this from the child's perspective. Try to answer the following questions. When you have finished, click on the question to reveal the answer.


Do children need language to communicate?

Click for the answer


Do children need to communicate to be able to engage in language?

Click for the answer

Shared knowledge

If you spoke these words to a random person in the street, unless they were familiar with Lewis Carroll, it is likely that they would have no idea what you were talking about.

For language and communication to function there needs to be a shared knowledge and purpose among those who are using it.

A key aspiration

Watch this clip taken from a review meeting. At one point in the clip, Janice talks about her ambitions for her son, Marley


What are her communication aspirations for Marley? How much do you think the other general gains Janice describes are influenced by improvements in Marley's communication skills?

Click for the answer

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