Communication & Interaction

Within the code of practice, communication and interaction is defined as follows:

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‘Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them, or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.’

Image shows a teacher talking to a primary aged pupil who is colouring in.

Children and young people with ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others. Communication and interaction needs could include:

  • difficulties with producing or responding to expressive or receptive language
  • difficulties uttering speech sounds
  • difficulties understanding spoken and other communications from others
  • difficulties with understanding age-related social conventions of interaction, such as turn-taking during conversations or appropriate level of physical contact during play


‘Inclusive education and high-quality teaching for all children in the classroom’

The Communication Trust - Every child understood

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust contains a ‘What Works’ section, where practitioners can access up-to-date information on types of universal strategies and their efficacy:

There is also a ‘Competency Framework’ to support knowledge and skills in the workforce:,-language-and-communication-framework/

Also of interest is the downloadable ‘Communication Supporting Classroom Observation Tool’ to assess whether classroom provision is supportive of children with SCLN:

The Progression Tools, while not free, are a useful photocopiable tool in understanding individual children’s needs:

The Autism Education Trust (AET)

The Autism Education Trust (AET) has a number of useful free resources including the Schools Standards (plus Post 16 and Early Years version) which helps schools to audit their whole school provision for children with Autism. The Framework is also full of helpful links to resources. There is also a Competencies Framework to support staff in being skilful and knowledgeable, plus a free Progression Tracker which is a detailed ExCELspreadsheet covering seven areas of need, such as ‘social communication’ and ‘imaginative play’ to monitor pupils’ progress:

Not free, but inexpensive are the evidence-based ‘Tools for Teachers’ kit:

AET Autism Education Trust logo


‘Specific, extra, time-limited support in-school for children with additional needs’

The Communication Trust - Every child understood

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust provide the following resources for targeted provision:

‘What Works’ database, offering an assessment of approaches suitable for young people with speech, communication and language needs:

Audience: Early years professionals, Primary professionals, Secondary professionals

Universally Speaking is a series of booklets for anyone who works with children and young people. The booklets show where children should be with their communication skills at any given age. Practitioners can use the booklets to find out whether the children you work with are on the right track, what helps them learn to talk and listen and what to do if you have concerns about any of their communication abilities:

The Speech Communication and Language Framework (SCLF) developed by The Communication Trust is a free online professional development tool which sets out the key skills and knowledge needed by the children and young people's workforce to support the speech, language and communication development of all children and young people:


The Progression Tools are not free, but inexpensive photocopiable tools for schools to identify likely SCLN needs in pupils. There are 8 Progression Tools, which highlight children and young people's language skills at the following key ages of development: 3, 4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 in early years and primary school, and 11-12, 13-14 and 16-18 in secondary school. They are based on research with clear information about expected milestones. 

Each Tool contains a colour booklet with instructions on how to use it, questions to ask the children, guidance on how to observe their behaviour, and methods to track the results. It also contains black and white versions of the questions and observations sections and the scoring tables to photocopy as many times as you wish for the number of children you use the Tool with:

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The Autism Education Trust

The Autism Education Trust provide the following resources for targeted provision:

School Standards Frameworks to enable schools to evaluate their practice in addressing the needs of pupils with autism. Teacher Competency Frameworks which offer a personal development framework for practitioners working with pupils in all school settings.

The above frameworks are available for Early Years, Schools and Post 16:

The AET also offers a free Progression Tracker to assess and monitor pupil progress across all settings:



‘Services offered by external professionals such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists or health professionals on or off the school site.’

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Social Care: The 'What does good look like'

Social Care: The 'What does good look like' guide is a resource for observing in services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism and consists of a booklet and checklist designed for inspectors (e.g. CQC), experts by experience, researchers and other professionals who might need to observe a service for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

The resource outlines what good practice looks like and provides a set of observable practices that can indicate that a service is implementing person centred approaches such as Person Centred Active Support, The National Autistic Society’s SPELL Framework, Total or Alternative and Augmentative Communication, and Positive Behaviour Support.