Subject areas of learning


What is communication?

Communication is the sending and receiving of messages between people. Language is one way of doing this and may be spoken, written, typed, signed, or represented through symbols or pictures. We also communicate through tone of voice, sounds (crying, laughing), facial expressions and our bodies (pointing or turning away).

Communication and language difficulties

These have a variety of causes. Read more about communication difficulties in the section on impairments.

  • Have elected to be mute (usually for psychological reasons) but understand what is said. They may communicate by gesture and facial expression. They may decide to speak at a later stage.
  • Be able to produce speech but lack the ability to form structured language. They may communicate by single words and facial expression and will need support to develop their vocabulary.
  • Have brain or other damage affecting their physical ability to produce and control sounds, but be willing to communicate. Special supportive equipment may help.
  • Be cognitively and physically unable to speak, relying on facial expression and non-verbal sound.


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