We know communication skills are important for all of us in the workplace. Some students who attend workplace learning have complex communication needs and may use communication aids such as communication cards, boards or AAC devices. As part of Leeming SHS ESC’s workplace learning program we’ve been supporting students to develop communication skills needed in the workplace using all their communication methods including AAC devices. There are a wide range of reasons that we communicate throughout our work day. These vary greatly across workplaces, but some common reasons a work experience student may need to communicate include:
- Greeting and introducing themselves to work colleagues
- Reporting on a finished task to a supervisor
- Ask what they need to do next
- Ask for help if needed
- Say if something is wrong
- Social chat at break times
- And a range of workplace specific communication opportunities!
Supporting students to use their communication aids at work has had benefits including increased independence with students not relying on others to speak for them, developing self-esteem and confidence to interact with less familiar people and building working relationships with colleagues.