Best practice tips for communication and language disorders

Best practice tips are strategies that have been evaluated in other settings, target a relevant factor (such as a teaching style that lowers student anxiety), or is considered best practice by experts in the field.

Remove distractions

Some students might be easily distracted by lights, sounds and objects both inside and outside the classroom environment.
Consider sitting the student away from, or with their back to, the windows. Small group work may also help with reducing distractions, as may keeping desks or tables uncluttered.

Set clear expectations

This will allow the student to know what is expected from them in the classroom.

Consider using slower speech

This can help a student listen to and process instructions.

Encourage positive role-models

Encouraging other students for positive behaviours (for example, hands up before speaking, sharing) helps a student to see what is expected.

This may encourage them to imitate these behaviours.

Be patient

Try not to rush or interrupt a student when they are trying to speak or communicate. Instead, allow extra time for them to speak and respond. 

Supporting a student with a communication challenge can at times be difficult, and you may feel frustrated. Being aware of your feelings and thoughts is important for a calm and supportive relationship with a student. You may also find these wellbeing and mental health resources for teachers helpful.

Consider pairing the student with a buddy

If a student becomes easily distracted during learning activities, consider sitting the student with a peer who can encourage them to stay on track with tasks. A peer can also model tasks or repeat instructions.

Create a safe and supportive environment

You can help support student learning and participation by creating a secure and positive social environment where they can build friendships with other students.