The first step in the instructional process is to identify how and at what level the child is currently communicating. Once this "present level" is established, goals and objectives can be developed, and programming can be designed to teach the sequential steps of receptive and expressive communication.
Assessing communication begins with careful observation which results in information about the child and environmental factors which facilitate or inhibit interaction. The figure below shows a for a communication map developed by Kathleen Stremel (Stremel, l995). Combining this map with good observation skills can assist providers to develop a visual picture of a child's receptive and expressive communicative strengths and interests. Building on what the child knows and is comfortable with will capture the child's attention and encourage further interaction.
- Ways in which the student is currently communicating
- What are appropriate IEP/IFSP objectives for the next year based on the student's strengths and needs
- Determine ways the child might be able to communicate in the future. (Will alternate forms of receptive language be necessary).