The goal of the Functional Communication Initiatives is to provide strategies to ensure that every student has a system of communication, including appropriate supports and services, all day, across all environments. Functional communication support is shared by many departments in the Student Services Division (SSD).
What is the difference between a functional and nonfunctional communicator?
A functional communicator uses a system that everyone can understand to initiate communication and, at the least, express their basic wants and needs. Optimum communication is when a student is able to hold a conversational exchange or when their communication ability is commensurate with their cognitive level of functioning.
A nonfunctional communicator uses gestures, signs, pointing, or behavior such as crying/behavioral outbursts that only the people in the student’s immediate environment can interpret and understand. Other nonfunctional forms of communication include unintelligible speech, echolalia, or speech with little or no spontaneous initiation of communication.