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Each child is an individual but here are some possible scenarios:
This child will have a programme from a speech and language therapist which will include use of a communication device. This may be low- or hi-tech and all adults working with the child should be aware of how it is used, making sure it is always working and has batteries.
Use total communication where the child’s facial expressions, gestures and eye movements are all taken as forms of communication.
This child can be understood but not easily, especially by strangers, and they can get very frustrated. They will be working on certain sounds with a speech and language therapist.
This child needs a programme of speech and language therapy to develop awareness of how speech is used to communicate and how it is structured.
Usually elective mutes understand what is being said but choose not to respond, possibly for emotional reasons.
Remember that with communication difficulties there are so many possible causes, some linked to other impairments, that each child needs to be looked at as individual.
A guide for teachers and special educational needs co-ordinators
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