Communication Intervention for Behavioral Change

Quick Overview

This presentation discusses the use of communication intervention for behavioral change in children with Angelman syndrome. The speaker emphasizes the importance of providing robust communication tools and teaching children how to use them effectively. Visual supports, such as visual schedules and aided language displays, are recommended to aid in communication and reduce behavioral issues. The speaker also highlights the significance of teaching children to identify and regulate their own emotions. Overall, the presentation emphasizes the role of communication in promoting positive behavior and improving the quality of life for children with Angelman syndrome.


In this presentation, we will discuss the importance of communication intervention for behavioral change in children. We will explore various behaviors that children may exhibit and how effective communication can help reduce these behaviors. We will also discuss the need for communication tools and strategies to be readily available and how modeling and reinforcement can support positive behavior.

The Role of Communication in Behavior

Effective communication can help reduce behavioral issues in children. When children are provided with robust communication tools and taught how to use them, their behaviors often decrease. It is logical that when children can express their needs and wants through communication, they are less likely to resort to negative behaviors.

Providing Communication Support

To teach communication, it is important to offer communication tools and support. Children should have their communication devices or books with them at all times. Communication should be modeled by caregivers and educators, just as we model language when learning a second language. Immersion in the language is key to learning, so creating an environment where children are constantly exposed to communication is crucial.

Rewarding Communication and Positive Behavior

When a child communicates, it is important to reward and acknowledge their efforts. This goes beyond simply giving them a treat; it involves giving them attention and showing them that their communication is valued. Celebrating their successes and expressing pride in their use of communication can reinforce positive behavior.

Teaching Self-Talk and Emotional Regulation

Just as we regulate ourselves through self-talk, children with communication difficulties need to learn how to do the same. Modeling self-talk and teaching children to identify their own emotions can help them understand and regulate their feelings. This is particularly important for children with Angelman syndrome, who often experience anxiety without understanding why.

The Communication Bill of Rights

The Communication Bill of Rights, developed by ASHA and TASH, emphasizes the importance of communication for individuals with disabilities. Honoring these rights can help reduce behavioral issues. These rights include being given real choices, the ability to reject choices, asking for what they want, sharing feelings, being heard and responded to, and being treated with respect and dignity.

Using Visual Supports

Visual supports can be effective tools for teaching and reinforcing communication and behavior. Aided language displays, visual schedules, and visual supports for specific messages can all help children understand and express their needs. These visual supports should be actively used and reinforced to ensure their effectiveness.

Teaching Self-Calm and Emotional Regulation

Children with communication difficulties often struggle with self-calming and emotional regulation. Teaching them techniques such as deep breathing and providing sensory tools can help them calm themselves down. It is important to provide messages in their communication devices that support self-talk and self-regulation.


Communication intervention plays a crucial role in promoting positive behavior change in children. By providing robust communication tools, modeling effective communication, and reinforcing positive behavior, we can help children reduce negative behaviors and improve their overall well-being. Visual supports, teaching self-talk, and emotional regulation are all important components of communication intervention for behavioral change.

Talk details

  • Title: Communication Intervention for Behavioral Change
  • Author(s): Kate Ahern
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: Easterseals
  • Publication date: 2016-12-03
  • Collection: 2016 FAST Educational Summit