Click on each of the tips on the right for more information.
Reduce background noise
Choose a quiet place so you can both concentrate on the conversation.
Face person you are talking to and make eye contact
However, remember that not all children and young people will be happy, or able, to look you in the eye. Those with autism may find this particularly difficult and young people using some sort of communication aid or book/board will have to look at what they are doing.
First time meeting?
Tell them if it is the first time you have met and talked to a person who uses an alternative method of communication.
Ask them 'what helps?'
Ask them to show you how they use their AAC system to help you understand what, if anything, you need to do to make communication successful.
Establish how they communicate 'yes' and 'no'
This may not always be the obvious nod and shake of the head.
When you ask a question wait for a reply
This sounds obvious, but some people may take longer to reply than you are commonly used to.
Sometimes it can be tempting to finish off a person's sentence for them. Although some welcome this as a way of speeding up communication, others may find it annoying. Always ask if the other person is happy for you to do this.
Always be honest about how much of the conversation you have understood
This will give the other person the opportunity to explain points that have not been understood, or ask for support.
If you don't have enough time, then agree to meet later
You will need to give time to the conversation.
Check back and recap
When finishing a conversation, make sure that you both agree you have said all that you have wanted to. Always check that you have both understood everything that has been communicated.
Download the 'Ten tips for successful communication' pdf and use these essential
tips as a prompt.
The information featured in this package has been sourced from 'Other ways of speaking: supporting children and young people who have no speech or whose speech is difficult to understand' (The Communication Trust).