Communication: Supporting Minimally Verbal Students in the School Setting - POPARD Super-workshop


POPARD SuperWorkshops are open to all BC School District and Independent School personnel.

It is estimated that about 30% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are minimally verbal. Having a means of effective communication is an essential life skill that supports positive behaviour, academic achievement, and quality of life. Is my student minimally verbal? How can I support their communication skills? Should they be using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this 2-day interactive workshop. By the end of the workshop, participants will feel prepared to support communication skills in the areas of social interaction, expression, and understanding in individuals along the spectrum.


Learning Outcomes - participants will:

  • Understand how the characteristics of ASD relate to communication development
  • Define the terms minimally verbal, echolalia, scripting, interaction, expression, understanding
  • Understand how interaction, expression and understanding are inter-related
  • Discuss the skills needed to be a successful communicator and the reasons we communicate
  • Define joint attention and understand its relationship to developing interaction skills
  • Recognize the importance of motivation, reinforcement and rapport building when teaching communication skills
  • Differentiate between interaction, expression, and understanding strategies, and how to apply them to the classroom setting
  • Discuss how to involve peers to support students’ interaction, expression and understanding
  • Understand how AAC supports expression
  • Explore and practice using paper-based AAC materials
  • Compare and contrast messages using a communication (theme) board and a core board
  • Recognize the pros and cons of using PECS and Sign Language
  • Identify commonly used voice-output AAC devices
  • Label the prompt hierarchy for using AAC and discuss its significance
  • Understand and explore how using visuals can support understanding
  • Practice implementing a task analysis to complete a math worksheet and analyze potential adaptations
  • Recognize the difference between using the first/then (Premack) principle and a visual schedule, and between using choice time and break time
  • Create a communication intervention plan for a student they know

SuperWorkshop Format

This is a 2-day workshop and typically runs from 830am to 4pm. Both days include a combination of content/knowledge and hands-on activities.

Who Should Attend This SuperWorkshop?

This workshop is appropriate for K-12 classroom teachers, resource teachers, learning support teachers, case-managers, and other professionals who are not yet familiar with strategies to support the communication development of minimally verbal students. The workshop is particularly beneficial for those who can attend as a school team (e.g., the classroom teacher, case manager, and EAs for a student who is minimally verbal).

Registration Details

POPARD super‑workshops are open to all BC School District and Independent School personnel. Click HERE to choose a workshop session.