Friday, September 13, 2013

Design To Learn: Communication Matrix

The Communication Matrix, created by Design to Learn is one of the best assessments for caregivers, teachers, and parents of children with multiple disabilities. It is a simple way for educational teams to understand a child's communicative behaviors.  Created  for people of all ages that possess early language communication abilities, the Communication Matrix can help a variety of caregivers understand how a child is using his or her body, vocalizations, eyes, etc. to help communicate their needs.

Designed to be family friendly, I have found that parents learn quite a bit about their child's personality by using this assessment.  In early intervention, I often times ask both the Speech Language Pathologist on the IFSP team and the parent to collaborate with me on answering the assessment questions together. Most of the questions ask the parent and professionals to take a detailed look at the way the child is currently communicating and how people interpret the behaviors.   If the child is already using an AAC device, the Communication Matrix emphasizes looking less at the type of device the child is using and more at the way the child is accessing the device (Does he use his hands, feet, head, fingers to communicate?  Is this the most effective way?).  Then, after the assessment is completed the Communication Matrix will configure a rubric, organizing the child's communication abilities into one of the seven levels of early communication. From there, the team can determine communication goals to help develop for the child's IFSP or IEP and further create an expressive communication system that leaves caregivers and professionals asking the question "what do you think he is trying to say?"

Please note, the team has the option of using the online assessment tool or the hard copy.

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