Communication is critical to a student’s development from both a personal and educational perspective. Many students who have special needs, also experience communication difficulties (non-verbal, limited speech or speech that is unable to be understood) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (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 non-electronic aids (pictures, symbols, signing, core vocabulary boards, communication books) and electronic aids (speech generating devices, computers, tablets) gives the best outcomes.


Communication for students who have complex communication needs is a priority at Malibu School as these difficulties may impact significantly on their ability to carry out tasks during their day. It is therefore essential that we successfully integrate every child’s AAC system into the school’s curriculum program as it will have a deep impact on the educational outcomes for that student.


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. AAC tools, such as aided language displays, core vocabulary boards or communication books can assist students, who have complex communication needs, not only to enhance comprehension but also to express themselves more clearly.


Malibu School provides a specialist communication team to guide and support our classroom staff to implement appropriate AAC interventions in the classroom.