Communication is critical to a student’s development from both a personal and educational perspective. Many students with special needs experience communication difficulties (non-verbal, limited speech or speech that is unable to be understood) and AAC is appropriate for these students.
We acknowledge that a significant number of our students will require the use of augmentative or alternative modes of communication and that these modes will be specific to the individual. To meet each student’s needs a combination of ‘low’ technology systems (objects, pictures, symbols, signing, core vocab placemats and communication books) and technological equipment (voice output communication aids and computers) gives the best outcomes.
Communication for students who have complex communication needs is a priority at Malibu School and the successful integration of an AAC system into the school’s curriculum program has a deep impact on educational outcomes for that student.
Communication difficulties may impact significantly on a student’s ability to carry out tasks during their day. There are many strategies that teachers, education assistants, peers and family members can use to help students overcome their communication difficulties. Visual supports can facilitate a student’s understanding and help them comprehend what is happening around them. Visual supports may include timetables, schedules, calendars and social stories. Other communication tools, such as core vocabulary placemats, communication books and boards can assist students with little or no speech to express themselves. A specialist team provides assistance and guidance for classroom staff to encourage and guide students to use appropriate AAC strategies.