Communication & Thinking Skills

Communication is a complex process, which involves many aspects of thinking and social skills.

Also called ‘cognitive communication’ it includes skills such as planning, organisation, information processing, memory, flexible thinking and social behaviour.

This can impact a person’s ability to remember a conversation, recall important points from a doctor’s appointment, read someone else’s body language or take turns during a conversation.

Helping the Community

Changes to communication and thinking skills can occur due to a variety of conditions. Examples of such conditions include, but are not limited to, Brain injury, Stroke, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Upon referral, Speech Pathologists conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify specific areas of communication difficulty. This assessment may involve evaluating speech production, language comprehension and expression, social communication skills, voice quality, writing abilities, and cognitive functions related to communication. By thoroughly understanding the nature and extent of an individual’s communication difficulties, Speech Pathologists can tailor intervention strategies to address their unique needs.

Speech Pathologists work with people to improve their communication and thinking skills by building new skills or optimising current skills in therapy. They can also help by implementing functional strategies to help communicate and participate more effectively in everyday activities and situations.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

AAC is any type of communication strategy for people who have significant difficulties communicating. It can be used to augment communication in those that have significant communication difficulties or are unable to communicate verbally. AAC may also be used to support or add to someone’s existing verbal communication skills, (or it can be used instead of verbal communication where a person is unable to communicate verbally).

Aided AAC is any external item used to help someone communicate more effectively (e.g., object symbols, communication boards, books, key-ring mini-cards, wallets, speech generating device, computer, mobile phone, tablet).

Unaided AAC refers to communication techniques that do not require the use of an external aid. That is, the person uses whatever is available to them, generally their own body. (e.g., eye contact, facial expression, body language, gestures and manual sign).

Our Speech Pathology team can assist with assessing for AAC, recommending an AAC aid that best suits a person’s individual needs and supporting a person to build their communication skills using AAC.

Example of a communication board to assist a client with vision and hearing impairment