What is the purpose of this website?

This website provides guidelines for early intervention to maximize the language and communication development of young children with special needs including:

  • Infants
  • Toddlers
  • Preschoolers

The website provides guidelines for early intervention specifically designed for children with complex communication needs, including children with:

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Multiple disabilities

The website provides:

  • Step-by-step guidelines for early intervention to build language and communication skills
  • Photographs and videotaped examples of intervention with young children with special needs


In this picture, Emma is communicating with her mom and Janice.

Intervention with young children:  EM is communicating with her mom & Janice by using her Gemini

Copy or use of this photo outside of this website is prohibited.


Meet one of the kids

  • We always smile when we think of Genevieve.
  • She has such an infectious love of life!
  • Genevieve has Down syndrome.
  • We first met Genevieve when she was 8 months old. 
  • Of course, she wasn’t talking yet and she did not know any signs.
  • We started intervention with Genevieve right away so that she would learn to interact with others and start to develop early language concepts.
  • In the video below, Genevieve is 2 1/2 years old.
    • She is using speech, signs and the computer to communicate. 
    • She is a very active communicator and has learned hundreds of words and concepts already!
    • She is starting to combine words to communicate more complex ideas.
    • In this video, she is playing with her younger brother, Ben.
      • She is telling Ben about their grandpa.  She touches the photo of grandpa on the computer screen and activates the speech output, "grandpa."  She signs and says, "Grandpa!" as well.
      • It is their sister's birthday so Genevieve and her brother use the computer to sing "Happy Birthday." 
        • First, Ben selects the "book" page on the computer.  Genevieve says the word book and shows her brother the sign, "book". 
        • Genevieve selects the birthday book specifically from the page of books on the computer in order to sing the "Happy Birthday" song.
        • Then she selects the appropriate pictures from the computer to retrieve the lines of the "Happy Birthday" song on the computer.
        • Genevieve loves to sing along!
  • Explore the other areas of the website to learn more about the early intervention that helped Genevieve develop her language and communication skills.  Although she is only 2 1/2 years old, she is already computer savvy!



What are the steps in the intervention?

The intervention involves 5 steps:

   1.  Identify meaningful contexts for communication.

   2.  Provide effective means to communicate.

   3.  Select appropriate vocabulary.

   4.  Set up the environment to support communication.

   5.  Use appropriate interaction strategies to support communication.

Click on the links above to visit web pages for further information on each of these steps, including:

  • The procedures for each step
  • Photograph and video examples illustrating:
    • Young children with complex communication needs
    • Actively involved families incorporating the intervention into familiar activities
    • Intervention occurring in the children's homes

 Jackson and his mom sing, "I'm a Little Teapot" with Janice.

 Jackson and his mom sing, "I'm a Little Teapot" with Janice. 

Copy or use of this photo outside of this website is prohibited.


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Last Updated: February 4, 2019