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What is a Communication Support Need?

Communication in everyday life takes many forms and people commonly communicate in different ways, however some might not fully develop the ability to communicate effectively with those around them or lose this ability later in life. Different aspects of communication may be impacted: speech, language and/or social communication skills.

They may:

  • struggle to say words or sentences or find the correct words to use
  • have some speech that is difficult to understand or be unable to produce speech
  • not understand words that are being used, or the instructions they hear
  • have difficulties knowing how and when to talk, and listen to others

Some may have a mild difficulty, others may be more severely impacted. For some it is their primary disability, for others it may be secondary to other disabilities, such as physical difficulty.


What can cause a Communication Support Need?

This can be due to many conditions including:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Autistic Spectrum Condition
  • Developmental language disorder or delay
  • Learning disability
  • Certain genetic disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neurological disorder or illness, such as Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Some cancers, including head and neck

Some conditions may be developmental and present from birth, or acquired later through illness or accidents.


How does a Communication Support Need impact a person's life?

Individuals that have difficulty communicating can find that different aspects of daily living are affected.

This may include the ability to:

  • be in control our own life and be independent
  • make friends and have a social life
  • learn and achieve educational qualifications
  • have relationships and participate in family life
  • get a job and earn a living

Having better communication can improve an individualís quality of life, enabling them to be active and participate in different aspects of their life, reducing the risk of isolation and frustration. Some individuals can be become effective communicators through support from Speech and Language Therapy and other people around them in their school, hospital, centre and home. For some individuals, this can be supported through using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

Further information from organisations supporting children with CSN -

The Communication Trust - a coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations.

I CAN - children's communication charity.