What is total communication?
A total communication approach allows individuals with communication difficulties to communicate in the most accessible way to them. Speech and language therapists will use total communication in helping an individual to communicate to the best of their ability and as effectively as possible.
Total communication involves all forms of communication. The speech and language therapist will work on all forms of communication that are available to the individual with the communication difficulty. Methods of communication which can be used in the total communication approach include:
Non-verbal communication is any form of communication which doesn’t involve spoken communication. Non-verbal communication can include sign language, facial expression, gesture, use of props or objects, photos, communication books, signs and symbols.
Written communication involves writing and drawing in order to communicate a message.
Verbal (spoken communication)
Verbal communication involves vocalisations and spoken words in order to communicate a message.
During each therapy session the speech and language therapist will use a combination of these communication methods in order to work on effective communication. The main focus of the total communication approach is to explore different ways for the individual to communicate as effectively as possible. Total communication also focuses on increasing an individual’s functional communication (communication used in everyday life).
The speech and language therapist will work on a one to one basis with the individual, putting their needs and wishes first at all times. Once the individual has worked on a one to one basis with the therapist, they may wish to attend a total communication group, where they can practise the skills they have learnt with other individuals using total communication.
The speech and language therapist will also advise and support the individual’s family and other professionals involved in their care in helping them to communicate as effectively as possible with the individual.
What are the benefits of a total communication approach?
Total communication can help with many problems which cause an individual to communicate ineffectively. The total communication approach will benefit adults with a range of conditions including, neurological problems, autism spectrum disorders, learning difficulties and physical disabilities.
There are many benefits of a total communication approach. The main benefit is to help the individual communicate as effectively as possible and to increase their functional communication. Other benefits include, social benefits, increasing communication functions, improved quality of life and more communication opportunities for families and friends of the patient.
A total communication approach allows individuals with communication difficulties to communicate in the most accessible way to them. Speech and language therapists will use a total communication approach to help the individual communicate as effectively as possible. The total communication approach uses all communication methods available to the individual. The speech and language therapist will also support the individual’s family and other professionals involved in their care in using total communication.
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