Communication Tools and Strategies (Tier 1)

The following lists of communication tools and strategies are important initial steps (UDL) to consider when determining what types of assistive technology have been or need to be trialed or implemented to support your struggling student. These may be readily available in the classroom.



Expect ALL students to communicate:
  • Recognize and respond to any attempt at communication by the student (things like gestures, vocalizations, eye contact). Give the student time to communicate.
  • Provide access to alternative ways to communicate for every activity
  • Don’t anticipate needs. Wait expectantly for communication.
Use communication supports for things beyond just requesting preferred items:

Create the need to communicate:
  • Use things that have a time limit
  • Don't give materials for an activity until the student asks for them.
  • Sabotage-Give wrong materials for task (e.g., give crayon when student needs to cut a paper).
  • Place single message or sequential message devices strategically around the classroom environment. For example, put one next to the classroom door to talk about going to the playground.
Use materials and activities that are motivating to the student.

Model the use of communication supports. Point to symbols to supplement your directions, questions and requests.