1 x 1-hour on-line exercises weekly
1 Admission into GCE-Graduate Certificate in Education
1a Admission into BSE-Bachelor of Special Education
1b Admission into GCESE-Graduate Certificate in Education (Special Education)
1c Admission into GCEWS-Graduate Certificate in Education
1d Admission into MEDCP-Master of Education (Cog Psych & Educational Prac)
1e Admission into MEDER-Master of Education (Ed Research, Evaluation and Assessment)
1f Admission into MEDLM-Master of Education (Leadership and Management)
1g Admission into MEDSE-Master of Education (Special Education)
1h Admission into MEDWS-Master of Education
1i Admission into MEDCPP-Master of Education (Cog Psych & Educational Prac) [1.5 years]
1j Admission into MEDERP-Master of Education (Ed Research, Evaluation and Assessment) [1.5 years]
1k Admission into MEDGEP-Master of Education (Gifted Education) [1.5 years]
1l Admission into MEDIBP-Master of Education (International Baccalaureate) [1.5 years]
1m Admission into MEDSEP-Master of Education (Special Education) [1.5 years]
1n Admission into MEDLMP-Master of Education (Leadership and Management) [1.5 years]
1o Admission into MEDSAP-Master of Education (Studies of Asia) [1.5 years]
1p Admission into MEDWSP-Master of Education [1.5 years]
1q Admission into MEDWM-Master of Education (Wellbeing and Positive Mental Health)
1r Admission into MEDWMP-Master of Education (Wellbeing and Positive Mental Health) [1.5 years]
1s Admission into MDPP-Master of Disability Policy and Practice
1t Admission into MDPPA-Master of Disability Policy and Practice [1.5 years]
1u Admission into MEDECP-Master of Education (Early Childhood Studies) [1.5 years]
2 Admission into MED-Master of Education
2a Admission into MISE-Master of Inclusive and Specialised Education
3 Admission into BAMTEC-Bachelor of Arts, Master of Teaching (Early Childhood)
3a Admission into BAMTPR-Bachelor of Arts, Master of Teaching (Primary)
3b Admission into BAMTS-Bachelor of Arts, Master of Teaching (Secondary)
3c Admission into BGSCMTPR-Bachelor of General Science, Master of Teaching (Primary)
3d Admission into BLANGMTS-Bachelor of Languages, Master of Teaching (Secondary)
3e Admission into BSCMTS-Bachelor of Science, Master of Teaching (Secondary)
4 108 units of study
Must Satisfy: (((1 or 1a or 1b or 1c or 1d or 1e or 1f or 1g or 1h or 1i or 1j or 1k or 1l or 1m or 1n or 1o or 1p or 1q or 1r or 1s or 1t or 1u)) or ((2 or 2a)) or ((3 or 3a or 3b or 3c or 3d or 3e) and 4))
Topic description

This topic focuses upon issues and intervention strategies that support communication and learning of persons with complex communication needs. This includes understanding the relationship between social skills and communication and the communication characteristics of persons with autism, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, physical or multiple disabilities. A variety of topics are presented, including: assessment of communicative functions, teaching communication through milieu techniques, programming for generalisation, and selecting and implementing augmentative communication systems.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Understand the characteristics of students with complex communication needs and important considerations for assessment and instructional strategies
  • Consider the range of pragmatic functions of communication when assessing communication skills and designing communication programs
  • Understand the process of conducting an assessment of functional communication
  • Develop an understanding of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) modes, considerations in selection, and strategies for instruction
  • Develop a knowledge of evidence-based instructional strategies for promoting communication skills (e.g., naturalistic teaching techniques)
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Describe the communication characteristics of learners who have complex communication needs including autism, intellectual, physical or multiple disabilities
  2. Assess the communication abilities of one learner with complex communication needs and developmental disability through functional communication assessment
  3. Develop a communication program for a learner with complex communication needs and developmental disability that reflects evidence-based instructional strategies such as the use of naturalistic language teaching
  4. Develop an augmentative and alternative communication system suitable for the learner and provide a rationale as to why this system is recommended

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.