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Kingsweston School

Total Communication Approach

Total Communication is a holistic approach to enable effective communication by valuing all means of communication equally. “No single form of communication is valued above others and the aim is for individuals with communication difficulties to communicate in whichever way, or combination of ways, works for them.” Using Total Communication strategies can be key to a non-verbal learner becoming verbal, a verbal learner increasing in confidence, or a non-verbal learner developing an efficient and effective method of communication.

At Kingsweston School, we use all available forms of communication as we strongly believe in supporting our pupils to have the best opportunities to develop language and learn how to use their communication effectively.

By using this approach, “we make the complicated simple” and empower our students to communicate and express themselves, using their preferred ways of communication. An example of this might be a student using gestures to access a toy, using a sign to request for more snack, using sounds to express excitement, using a communication book to answer to simple questions or using verbal speech to join in songs.

To ensure that a total communication approach is effective we:

  • Identify and support our students’ means of communication.
  • Create a positive motivating environment that will encourage communication and interaction by providing a reason for them to communicate.
  • Practise and create many opportunities for students to communicate.


resource 5 a total communication approach.pdf