In most jobs, communication is used constantly throughout the day. This may include greeting a customer, sending an email, answering the phone, speaking with management, providing and understanding instructions for a task, or writing a report. 

Successful communication generates idea sharing, increased productivity and straightforward conflict resolution. Miscommunication in the workplace frequently causes business shortfalls in addition to breakdowns of working relationships.

Before a person even gets a job, they often rely on their communication skills to demonstrate their skill sets. Resumes, phone calls, and interviews are all based on the skill of communication and are integral in the good seeking process. 

It is clear to see how some people with communication difficulties can struggle to achieve employment or perform to an optimum level in the workplace.

Can a speech pathologist help me in preparing for job seeking?

If you have a communication difficulty a speech pathologist can assist you in the goal of seeking employment. They will first help you to determine specific areas that you are having difficulty in, and then provide individualised therapy to target these. 

They can assist you to improve your communication in all stages of job seeking including:

  • Asking establishments for job application processes
  • Navigating websites and understanding the business you are applying for
  • Understanding job descriptions
  • Making and answering phone calls with potential employers
  • Creating an effective resume to communicate individualized skill set
  • Conducting yourself in a way which matches the job you are applying for
  • Understanding interview questions
  • Effectively answering interview questions
  • Managing and troubleshooting common communication problems which occur in interviews and application processes
  • Advocating for your needs and goals in the job role
  • Accepting an employment offer and understanding the information that follows

Can I get support if I already have a job but want to communicate better?

As communication does not stop after you have obtained a job, a speech pathologist can assist job holders. This includes verbal, written and social communication. Additionally, speech pathologists can assist people to access and use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in the workplace. 

Areas which a speech pathologist can help you in include:

  • Writing emails, reports etc.
  • Literacy skills
  • Understanding instructions and following procedures
  • Making sentences which effectively convey your message
  • Understanding other people’s language
  • Improving memory of spoken information
  • Understanding a range of workplace vocabulary
  • Saying sounds clearly
  • Managing and problem-solving issues with voice volume
  • Practicing safe voice use to avoid voice injury
  • Making appropriate conversation with others
  • Answering the phone in a confident and expected social manner
  • Determining how to vary interaction styles based on your communication partner
  • Problem solving and conflict resolution using communication
  • Choosing the right AAC option for your workplace
  • Setting up or adding to and AAC system to suit your needs
  • Providing strategies of how to include people who use AAC
  • Assisting you to advocate for your needs

What should I expect during appointments?

Your first appointment will be dedicated to finding out about factors which influence your communication, including your areas of strengths and weaknesses.

From here your therapist may conduct formal and informal assessment to determine how therapy can be tailored to your specific needs and personal goals.

The frequency of ongoing appointments depends on your lifestyle, presenting issue, and therapist recommendations. 

Your speech pathologist will work with you to determine the best approach. Newly learnt skills will be applied in a manner which mimics natural workplace environments to assist generalisation of these skills to all contexts.

This may include mock scenarios such as responding to an interview, phoning the therapist to discuss a business proposal, using technology to create emails and search information, and managing social conversations with the therapist.

For young learners, motivation may be facilitated through the use of games and apps. 

After your appointment your therapist will typically provide you with easily achieved home tasks between sessions.

This will continue your learning outside of appointments, in addition to assist you to transfer your new skills to all environments. 

The therapists at Harrison Speech Pathology are experienced in working with all ages and therefore are able to assist people with their communication during any stage of their working life. Get in touch to find out more.

There are many augmentative communication systems that can be used with individuals who have been diagnosed with autism. These systems can range from ‘high-tech’ systems such as a speech generating device, a ‘low-tech’ system such as a communication book or a ‘no-tech’ system such as using Australian Sign Language. Below are the three augmentative communication systems that Harrison Speech Pathology recommend for supporting the communication of individuals that have been diagnosed with autism.

Augmentative Communication system #1: Proloquo2Go

Proloquo2Go is an application that can be purchased and downloaded onto a suitable device such as an iPad. The application uses visual symbols, pictures, words and speech generating features to support communication.

What are the pros and cons of this device?

Pros of this device are:

  • Provides visual and verbal supports for communication
  • Can be adapted specifically to suit the individual using it
  • Supports social interactions through its interactive nature
  • Assists the user in developing their vocabulary of words

Cons of this system are:

  • Must ensure the battery is always charged for communication all the time Can be a timely process to learn how to most effectively navigate the system
  • Requires access to appropriate technology
  • The expense of the application

How can this system benefit my child?

Proloquo2Go can benefit all users. The app can support early communicators through to advanced communicators. The versatility of the app allows for communication access to a range of disabilities including autism spectrum disorder. The application provides an alternative way to communicate but it also helps improve various language skills such as vocabulary development and sentence structure. The system also allows for increased inclusion in social interactions and allows nonverbal users to express basic needs, wants and emotions.

Where can I get this system?

This application can be purchased on appropriate iOS devices from the Apple iTunes store.

Augmentative Communication device #2: PODD books

PODD stands for Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display. It is a type of communication book that uses words and symbols to represent a large vocabulary of words. It is arranged in a systematic way which supports the social use of language.

What are the pros and cons of this device?

Some pros to this system are:

  • Highlights visual learning and communication strengths in autism spectrum disorder
  • PODD books can be individualized to suit the user
  • Provides a visual scaffold to support communication and process thoughts The book has structure and routine with the categories and placement of the symbols

Some cons to this system are:

  • PODD books can initially look overwhelming to the user
  • The books can get quite big and bulky to carry around all the time
  • Can be a timely process to teach the user how to use the book with decreasing dependence
  • Takes time to identify individualised vocabulary to ensure the user’s vocabulary is not restricted

How can this system benefit my child?

The written and visual components of the PODD book develops understanding and use of language as well as increasing literacy skills. The book allows the user to choose vocabulary that suits a range of communicative functions such as requesting, commenting and greeting.

It has the flexibility to quickly indicate needs like “toilet” or have an extended conversation and express personality.

Where can I get this system?

If you are interested in getting a PODD book for your child, book an appointment with one of our clinicians. We will be able to help you identify which PODD book will be the most appropriate and individualise it with you.

Augmentative Communication system #3: Key Word Sign

Key Word Sign (KWS) is the use of specific manual signs along with gesture, body language and facial expression that assist communication. It uses Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN) signs with only the key words (or essential words) in a sentence being signed.

What are the pros and cons of this system?

Some pros of using KWS:

  • Adds extra support for verbal communication
  • Assists communication partners in understanding what was said Promotes language development while verbal expression may still be developing
  • Adds further meaning to verbal expression

Some cons of using KWS:

  • Communication partners may not understand some key signs without some verbal expression
  • Requires fine motor control for some signs
  • Can be a time consuming process to learn all appropriate signs

How can this system benefit my child?

Key Word Sign can benefit your child by providing a good visual and tactile model along side their verbal expression attempts. Using it takes the pressure off using verbal expression as the sole means of communication. This system also encourages users to really emphasise key words and slow down their rate of speech.

Where can I learn this system?

If you are interested in using Key Word Sign to assist your child’s communication, book an appointment with one of our trained clinicians. We will be able to help you find the best method of communication for your child.

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