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Using the Matrix to Plan Communication Goals

Author-Avatar Communication Matrix Team

2/25/2022 1:26 PM

As a parent, you are your child’s biggest advocate and spokesperson. We hope the Communication Matrix can serve as a tool as you advocate for accommodations and goals to guide your child’s communication skills. Here’s how:

The Matrix One-page Profile shows what level of communicative behaviors the child uses and what kinds of messages, or communicative intents, are expressed. Look at the Matrix Profile and think about: 

  • Which of the 24 messages does the learner communicate now, and where are there gaps?
  • Consider targeting new messages that the learner really wants or needs to express. 
  • Or focus on mastering messages that are still at the emerging stage.
  • We recommend that you target no more than two Levels at the same time. 
  • Note that every learner will not move through every one of the 7 Levels, depending upon their cognitive, sensory and motor skills.


The Communication Skills List shows which behaviors the learner uses to communicate and can help you think about what specific behaviors you want to focus on.

  • You may continue working on current communication behaviors.
  • You may also decide to target a different communicative behavior that provides a more sophisticated or more reliable means of expression.
  • Always take into account the child's motor, fine motor and vocal abilities, as well as any sensory limitations that may make it difficult or impossible for the child to produce certain behaviors.
  • Also consider any cognitive limitations that might prevent an individual from understanding certain types of symbols.
  • Finally, consider whether the behavior may be used across all environments in the individual’s life.

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