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Two main reasons
Group of children discussing

Communication occurs for two main reasons:

  • For functional reasons, eg to obtain something or to have needs met, to solve a problem, negotiate or refuse something; or
  • For social reasons, eg to comment on something, to share experience or for mutual pleasure.
Do you need language to think?

In the clip from a review meeting, Sophia's class teacher, Jess, describes Sophia's progress and potential in communication.

If Sophia was in your class, what do you think you would need to do next to support Sophia's communication?

  • Poster

Some suggestions

Skills to improve communication
Girl trying to identify cards

How can professionals and parents improve children's communication skills?

Click for the answer

Boy holding a 'thumb's up' sign

Signing systems developed for children with learning difficulties offer visual support to help them communicate. They provide additional gestural cues for the spoken word but do not replace speech.

There are two signing systems in common use in special schools:

  • Makaton, which supports the communication of key words; and
  • Signalong, which offers a large number of signs.

A wide range of teaching resources and computer software is available commercially which can be used to support communication and literacy through signing.

Technology and signing in action

  • Video 1
    A story session using a broad range of supported communication systems.