This guide has been developed to help family carers of children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities to understand more about communication challenges and to suggest helpful strategies to improve communication. This guide looks at communication within a partnership and considers the skills and challenges for both people within communication exchanges. Professionals working with families of children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities may also find this guide informative. As children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities often have additional complex conditions (often referred to as complex needs), autism, several genetic syndromes and sensory and physical impairment are also included.
Part one explains the general importance of communication, what types of communication difficulties are common in children with a severe to profound intellectual disability and the possible consequences of communication challenges. Part two describes ways in which more information about communication can be gained. Part three describes some ways in which communication can be supported. A glossary of key terms and list of useful resources are provided at the end of this guide.