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Communication Friendly Environments

We all use many ways to help in understanding and communicating things other than just using the spoken word.

Communication Friendly Environment (also know as a Total Communication Environment) builds on these natural ways to support a child’s communication development.

Here are some examples of how we communicate without words:

  • Facial expression – a smile tells your child you are pleased with them
  • Tone of voice – use a soft, low voice to calm and sooth a hurt child
  • Pointing /looking – you can show where something is by pointing or looking at it
  • Gesture/ action – holding your arms out to say ‘ let’s have a hug’  or pretending to have a drink to say it’s drink time
  • Using real objects –  showing food/ drink or toys to choose from
  • Pictures/ symbols – red man/ green man shows when to cross the road, recognising the McDonalds logo!

Why do we need a communication friendly environment?

  • To help children to understand things that are said to them
  • To help you to understand what your child is telling you
  • To help to reduce frustration, anxiety or challenging behaviour caused by not understanding the spoken language they hear.
  • To support attention and listening skills

How to make your environment more communication friendly

Take a look at the handouts below for ideas around how to make a communication friendly environment.

Strategies to support older children and teenagers communicate and access their environment in college: