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Through Life Skills 
Social Skills


Life Skills

Every student deserves access to their preferred methods of communication.

Every student is unique and communicates using a variety of modalities.

There is no one right way to communicate.

Why is Communication so Important?

Communication is so valuable that every student, regardless of ability, will benefit from instruction to continue building skills throughout their educational career. Our goal is for every student to be reliable, fluent, autonomous, and natural in their communication through methods that the individual chooses and finds effective. Multiple methods inform our practices which draw on communication strategies from a variety of different sources.

Communication, regulation, and presuming competence leads to autonomy, independence and inclusion.

  • Communication enables us to connect with others and develop important relationships.

  • Access to communication is a human right. Every person has the right to communicate with others through any means that best suits their needs and abilities. Denying access to communication is a violation of a civil right.

  • It can be a matter of safety! Communication decreases the potential of victimization and lessens the discrepancy between people with disabilities and people without disabilities.

Social Skills

Communication Through Heartfelt Language

All people are unique, so each individual will require different accomodations to help facilitate effective communication. Knowing each individual’s needs and preferences for communication is important. For some, too much communication can be overwhelming and demanding. Reducing communication is a need. Unless it’s important or the student wants to communicate, don't. Keep it simple. Explain exactly, in simple terms, what you want and what you expect in response. For others, they might be fine with communication and may even seek it out.

Declarative verses Imperative

Phraseology and tone: What you say and how you say it matters.

The way you speak and choice of language used will either allow the receiver to feel safe and engage with you or it can trigger a stress response.  

Declarative Language keeps the nervous system feeling safe, allowing for opportunity to learn and discover instead of being told what to do. Using declarative language (statements, comments or observations) to rephrase communication with subtle adaptations and tone, placing the focus on an object instead of a person can make a big difference.

Imperative Language is giving direct instructions, commands, or requests that require us to do or say something in response. This type of language is perceived as a demand and can cause avoidance or shut down.

Imperative Language...(command, request)
Declarative Language (comment, I wonder)
Wash your hands.
Hmm I don't smell any soap on your hands. I wonder if they might still have germs on them.

Indirect Communication: Indirect communication includes gestural prompts (e.g. tapping shoes instead of saying “please put your shoes on”), visual prompts (pictures or checklists) ensuring students have an element of choice and control, and using role play (e.g. communicate through a favorite toy or adopting the persona of a favorite character).


Tips for communicating with PDAers - BLOG

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