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Child-centred Approach to Improving Communicative Competence of Peers and Significant Others

  • Alice Moody
  • Theresa Tanchak

This case study describes intervention in a mainstream primary school with a child presenting in challenging circumstances. The case study highlights the importance of a structured approach to intervention; active participation of the user in planning goals; significance of peers; an innovative aproach to affecting the communicative competence of peers and significant others.


Jack is in Year 5 and has cerebral palsy. Joint work with school staff and other agencies to provide training and support around using AAC took place. A 'Talking Mats' approach involved Jack in idenitfying targets for using his communication aid. We jointly ran a whole class session to 'teach' his peers strategies, to support them to communicate more effectively with Jack. Feedback was gained from the class.

Repairing communication through AAC was targeted for Jack as he has been dependent on his LSAs to interpret his speech. The beginnings of a support network have been developed through linking up with a local AAC user.


  • Jack - increased confidence, more spontaneous AAC use.
  • Staff - increased skills in faciliating Jack's communication.
  • Peers - more knowledge of how to support Jack. Increased initiation of conversation with Jack.


Would have been helpful to complete a post-presentation questionnaire immediately after the class session to gain feeback on the session. Develop an online support network for Jack with other AAC users. Talking Mats has been an empowering tool to involve Jack in identifying targets.

Level of Session 
Age Group