Autism Resources

Improving Functional Communication Skills

Joshua Sleeper July 11, 2019

We express our most basic desires, like our needs, wants, feelings and preferences daily using Functional Communication Skills1. Children with autism can have trouble communicating, and may express themselves through challenging behavior. Or, if they’re unable to express themselves, they may experience a communication breakdown. The result? Frustration for your child and the people who care about them most. But, Functional Communication Training can help!

What is Functional Communication Training?

We know that all behavior is a form of communication. However, Functional Communication Training, or FCT, aims to replace disruptive or unconventional behavior with more common forms of communication. Although our final goal is to help your child speak, we at Trumpet Behavioral Health recognize several important steps to get them there. For example, if your child takes items out of others’ hands to indicate they want something, BCBA professionals may work to replace that behavior with a different form of non-verbal communication, such as pointing.

READ MORE: Types of Functional Assessments

Creating a Training Plan

As part of an autism treatment plan, our BCBA Professionals will determine what kinds of functional communication training will make the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. Using their plan, your child may start working on communicating through:

  • Sign language
  • Pictures
  • Vocal speech
  • Alternative communication devices

These are just a few forms of communication that may be used to help your child grow their skills. Contact us at Trumpet to learn more about how Functional Communication Training can help your child communicate with you, their teachers, and friends!

1American Speech-Language-Hearing Association