Variable 4: Communicating Effectively with Peers

? Audio

? The ability to communicate is an essential outcome for all students

Communication is directly related to post-school success for students with significant disabilities (Kleinert et al., 2002)

For all youth with disabilities, only 29% had “trouble communicating by any means”.  Yet: 

  • 60% of students with intellectual disabilities had trouble communicating
  • 62% of students with multiple disabilities had trouble communicating
  • 50% of students with autism had trouble communicating.

Percentage of Students Who Have Difficulty Communicating

Percent of students who had difficulty communicating.

Source (NTLS2 data, Lipscomb et al., 2017)

TAALC:  A Kentucky Department of Education Initiative

The TAALC Logo

A Statewide Project to address this disparity: Teaching Age-Appropriate Academics through Learning via Communication (TAALC): 

An example of a communication program installed on an iPad.

Photo Credit: Jennie Rogers Elementary, Danville Independent Schools, Danville, Kentucky

Designed to improve communication and educational services to students with the most significant disabilities in KY public schools, the TAALC key principles are:

  • With the innovations in technology, communication for students with significant disabilities is achievable.
  • NO student should leave school without a communication system in place.
  • Students must have viable communication systems in order to access curriculum and participate in assessment systems, academic curriculum, social interactions, and post-school outcomes.

The Importance of a Reliable Mode of Communication

An example printed core board.

If students leave school without a reliable and formal means of communication, we know that their life outcomes are uniformly poor (Kleinert et al., 2002).

An essential piece of transition planning is to make sure all of our students have the capacity to express their needs, make choices, advocate for themselves, and communicate with their peers!