Communication support needs
Human communication is the effective exchange of information
between two or more people.
Communication involves two processes:
- Getting messages in: understanding
- Getting messages out: expression
Our definition of a communication support need is any individual who requires support with one or more of the
- expressing themselves
- interacting with others.
Who has communication support needs?
There are diverse reasons for people requiring communication
Some are now well recognised. For example members of
linguistic minority communities such as British Sign Language
users, and those for whom English is an additional language, may
require interpreting and translation services.
Others remain less understood. A communication disability
can be a hidden disability. This lack of recognition can be a
barrier to effective participation.
Audio quote: Sheila
Lack of understanding can result in people's behaviour being
misunderstood. A person may be described as 'challenging'.
But their behaviour may be a result of an unmet communication
The impact of unrecognised communication support needs
Try the communication disability quiz
Important fact to remember
I may have difficulty expressing myself (getting a message out).
This does not always mean I have difficulty
with understanding (getting messages in).
I may be able to express myself (get a message out).
This does not always mean I can understand (get messages in).
Ways of getting messages in and out
We use a limited number of methods both to understand and
to express ourselves. We use these methods in combination. They range from the simple to the complex.
Using an object to express your views
For example: throwing an egg during a demonstration
Using verbal and written language to express your views
For example: presenting a consultation document at a public meeting
The most complex way to communicate is using language, both verbal and written. Many people take this for granted.
Inclusive communication makes use of the broadest range of methods to help people to understand and express themselves.
communication: using a range of methods to help people get messages in
support needs (MS Word)
support needs (Adobe PDF)