Teaching Communication Skills to Students with Severe Disabilities, Third Edition

Authors: June E. Downing Ph.D., Amy Hanreddy Ph.D., Kathryn Peckham-Hardin Ph.D.; Foreword Author: Gloria Soto Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 296 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598576559
Price: $49.95

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How can educators and therapists support effective communication for students with severe and multiple disabilities? Today's best research and strategies are in the NEW third edition of this trusted textbook and teaching guide. Current and future education professionals will get up-to-date information and practical guidance on the entire process of supporting communication for students of all ages, from assessing their communication skills to involving peers and adults in intervention. An important textbook and professional reference, this comprehensive volume will help educators, paraprofessionals, SLPs, and other school staff skillfully support every student's right to communicate.

TOPICS COVERED: communication assessment * intervention strategies * identification of natural opportunities to teach skills * augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques * collaborative teaming * challenging behavior * Functional Communication Training * literacy instruction * peers as communication partners * teaching a wide range of skills that go beyond simple requesting, from commenting to gaining attention


  • More emphasis on technology throughout the book
  • Timely new contributions by experts in the field
  • New chapter on the relationship between communication and challenging behavior
  • New chapter on communication and literacy
  • More on making AAC devices accessible and attainable
  • Expanded guidance on friendship development and how peers can aid intervention
  • More strategies for teaching specific communication skills, highlighted for easy reference
  • New case examples to show strategies and interventions in action
  • FAQs, extension activities, and study questions that highlight key ideas and trouble spots


Review by: Susan Copeland, The University of New Mexico
“Provides practical strategies to build communication skills of individuals across ages and ability levels. It is full of ideas to embed communication opportunities within naturally occurring activities that are motivating to children and youth.”
Review by: Susan Bruce, Boston College
“June Downing and colleagues remind us about what is at the heart of our work, a deep respect for individuals with severe disabilities and a commitment to their right to receive appropriate communication services to support their active engagement in their school and larger community.”
Review by: Martha Snell, University of Maryland
“This third edition teaches exactly what is needed to get communication going in every individual, young and old Its pages hold the keys to open doors for those who have a lot to say but so often are locked out.”
Review by: Michael Giangreco, University of Vermont
“Provides practical strategies and plentiful examples rooted in evidence-based practices and inclusive values.”

Table of Contents

About the Authors
Foreword by Janice Light
  1. The Importance of Teaching Communication Skills
    Mary Falvey

  2. Integrating Team Expertise to Support Communication
    Diane Ryndak

  3. Assessing Communication Skills
    June E. Downing, Kathryn D. Peckham-Hardin, and Amy Hanreddy

  4. The General Education Classroom: A Rich Communicative Environment
    Amy Hanreddy and Kathryn D. Peckham-Hardin

  5. Beginning Steps in Communication Intervention
    June E. Downing and Deborah Chen

  6. Considerations in Developing and Acquiring Communication Aids
    Pat Mirenda

  7. Teaching a Wide Range of Communication Skills: Beyond Requesting
    June E. Downing, Kathryn D. Peckham-Hardin, and Amy Hanreddy

  8. The Relationship Between Communication and Literacy
    Amy Hanreddy

  9. The Relationship Between Communication and Challenging Behavior
    Kathryn D. Peckham-Hardin

  10. The Importance of Peers as Communication Partners
    Erik W. Carter, Heartley B. Huber, and Elizabeth E. Biggs

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