American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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Communication Supports Checklist for Programs Serving Individuals with Severe Disabilities

A product of the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities by Claire F. McCarthy, PT, MS; Lee K. McLean, PhD; Jon F. Miller, PhD; Diane Paul, PhD; Mary Ann Romski, PhD; Jane Davis Rourk, OTR/L; and David E. Yoder, PhD

Published in 1998 by Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland. Please contact the Committee Chair for information on how to obtain this resource.   

There are many ways that program settings and practices can support communication for all people. This checklist is designed to help your team look at your program systematically and addresses the following questions:
  • Do our practices support and respect the communication rights of the individuals we serve?
  • Do our settings support and promote meaningful communication in a natural contexts?
  • Do our assessment , goal setting, and program implementation practices conform to current recommended practices?
  • Does our team have the knowledge and skills needed to support the communication needs of people with severe disabilities?

The Communication Supports Checklist is a flexible instrument that allows you assess your program's strengths and weaknesses. You can then develop a Communication Supports Action Plan to build on these strengths and simultaneously work on areas identified for improvement. This Action Plan will help you to better serve all people with severe communication disabilities in your program.

To guide you through this program assessment and action planning process, we provide Checklist and Action Plan forms that have been completed by two separate teams, one from a large metropolitan school and the other from a residential adult center.


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