AAC (Alternative/Augmentative Communication) – A service provided by speech language pathologists with specialty training to support students with complex communication needs. AAC services typically involve the use of written, picture, or object-based communication systems that add to or replace what the student can communicate verbally.

Communication Breakdown (need for communication repair) – When an individual attempts to communicate something and the communication partner does not understand.

Communication Eligibility – a school-based eligibility affecting communication. This could mean a Communication Disorder eligibility (50), but could also be associated with eligibilities of Autism Spectrum Disorder (82), Intellectual Disability (10), Hearing Impairment (20), Deafblindness (43), Other Health Impairment (80), or Traumatic Brain Injury (74).

Communicative Competence* – the functionality and adequacy of a person’s communication skills as well as the sufficiency of knowledge, judgement, and skill related to linguistic tasks. For example, having vocabulary and grammar skills, understanding operational tasks such as turning on a communication system or finding an item within a system, strategic tasks such as knowing the difference between casual language and polite language, and social tasks such as being interested in what someone is saying and staying on topic. Basically, examining communicative competence means determining whether someone’s language skills allow them to connect with people and share the thoughts they are having or whether their current skill level is limiting their ability to connect with others through communication. *Based on the work of Janice Light

Complex Communication Needs – not able to communicate effectively through verbal speech by itself and requires additional support to develop communication skills.

IEP (Individualized Education Plan) – annual meeting to plan the specialized instruction of an individual student.

Intelligibility – ability to make oneself understood—generally referring to speech pronunciation.

LEA (Local Education Agency) – school or district serving a student.

Limited Verbal Production – ability to speak, but with a limited vocabulary or range of ways they can use language or some other difference that results in less verbal output than a typically developing peer would use.

Multi-modal Communication (A.K.A. Communication Modality) – a variety of communication skills by the same person. For example, a student might have a small vocabulary of words they can say, use sign language to communicate some words, use gestures for other words such as nodding/shaking head or waving, and the ability to point to pictures or a communication device. The specific combination of modes (verbal, gestures, facial expression, sign language, low-tech symbolic, high-tech symbolic, text, etc.) will vary from individual to individual.

Pragmatic Use of Language (A.K.A. Pragmatics) – The ways that a person uses language to meet their needs. Examples of pragmatic functions include: greeting, labeling, requesting items or activities, protesting, asking questions, answering questions, etc.