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.

Set clear rules and expectations

This will allow the student to know what is expected from them at school.

Consider using slower speech

This can help a student listen to and process instructions.

Ensure that you have the student’s full attention before communicating

This can be done with a gesture, touch, facing the class when providing information, holding eye contact, or using verbal prompts.
This may be particularly helpful before giving instructions or speaking to them.

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.

Remove distractions

Students with communication disorders 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 uncluttered.

Encourage full participation

Consider how students can be actively present and engaged in an activity instead of simply watching or listening. This can help build friendships as well as allowing a student to learn new concepts, ideas and behaviours from other students.
Some activities that allow for active engagement include role playing, small group work, or activities such as making a poster or chart of the key concept being taught.

Be aware of your body language

Open, friendly and supportive facial expressions, body postures and tone of voice can support a positive teacher-student relationship.

Encourage positive role-models

Encouraging other students for positive behaviours (such as hands up before speaking) helps a student to see what is expected. This may encourage them to imitate these behaviours.