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Communication Matrix

In this blog, let us learn about the Communication Matrix – a very useful free resource!

Communication Matrix is a free assessment tool to assess the expressive communication of children with complex communication needs. The venture is supported by the Communication Matrix Foundation, a non-profit organization,

The Communication Matrix has been developed with inputs from speech therapists, caretakers and researchers from the US primarily. It is based on decades of research in the communication domain. The inputs from each assessment are converted into completely anonymous data. This data is used by researchers to understand how people communicate. It is being used by people all over the world to assess the communication needs of children. 

Basis of Communication Matrix

The pragmatic approach to communication was first discussed by Elizabeth Bates. This approach has inspired the development of the Communication Matrix. The pragmatic approach looks at communication through various behaviors. It goes beyond just the speech part of it. This approach allows us to see behaviors as an opportunity for expressive communication. Read more about pragmatics here.

How Does it Work

The matrix begins with a questionnaire. This questionnaire guides you to note your observations and experience with the individual whose communication is being assessed.

The assessment looks at how the individual is communicating currently, including communication by movements, by gestures, by signs, as well as the typical mode, the speech. The Communication Matrix helps schools and caretakers look at the kind of messages the individual is trying to convey.

The assessment takes into account the following communication functions:

  1. Refusing
  2. Obtaining
  3. Socializing
  4. Giving and getting information

The assessment helps in identifying where the individual is placed currently in achieving the communication functions. It further highlights the target areas that need to be worked upon.

Emerging Credits

One of the useful aspects of the Communication Matrix is that it allows the user to assign an ‘Emerging Credit’ to a communication function while answering the questionnaire. For example, the questionnaire may ask whether the individual turns their head away while refusing something. Say an individual does that sometimes but hasn’t mastered it yet. It can be considered as a work in progress in trying to communicate refusal using gestures. While answering that question, we can assign an ‘Emerging Credit’.  

Final Word

The matrix is free for all to try. It is accessible both online and offline. We can use the outcomes of the matrix to assess the need for assistive tools like AAC. The website also has a community where people who are users of communication matrix or anyone who is related to the communication field can post questions or answer other’s queries. Click here to go to their website and get started.


Please note: Communication Matrix is an external resource. This information has been shared in public interest. Avaz AAC has no connection with its creation or maintenance.

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