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Summer 2005 Table of Contents
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Communication Matrix Assessment Tool Available Online

From <www.communicationmatrix.org>

Abstract: This website announces the availability of the Communication Matrix online, an assessment tool designed especially for parents and offered as a free service to parents.

Key Words: Communication Matrix, communication skills, Dr. Charity Rowland, speech-language, sensory impairments, cognitive impairments

What is It: The Communication Matrix is anassessment tool designed to pinpoint exactly how a child is currently communicating and to provide a framework for determining logical communication goals. It was first published in 1990 and was revised in 1996 by Dr. Charity Rowland of Oregon Health & Science University. It was designed primarily for speech-language pathologists and educators to use to document the communication skills of children who have severe or multiple disabilities, including children with sensory, motor and cognitive impairments. The original version for professionals is still available for purchase. It uses a concise format that is designed for rapid administration by persons familiar with the assessment.

This online version was designed especially for parents. It is also available for purchase in a printed version. The parent version is designed to be “user friendly”. The results are summarized on a one-page Profile. The Profile is a matrix that shows at a glance what level of communication behaviors your child is using and what kinds of messages he or she expresses. The Profile is exactly the same as the profile generated by the professional version of the Matrix. That means that parents and professionals can both use the same form to show each other how the child is communicating at home and at school.

Target Population: The Communication Matrix is appropriate for individuals of all ages who are at the earliest stages of communication. In the typically developing child the range of communication skills covered by the Matrix would occur between 0 and 24 months of age. The Matrix accommodates any type of communicative behavior, including “augmentative and alternative” (AAC) forms of communication and pre-symbolic communication. It is appropriate for individuals who experience any type or degree of disability, including severe and multiple disabilities. The Communication Matrix is NOT suitable for individuals who already use some form of language meaningfully and fluently.

Throughout the Matrix material, the person being assessed is referred to as “your child”. Please note that the Matrix is equally applicable to adults who are functioning at the earliest levels of communication. It may also be useful for assessing young children without disabilities who are in the early stages of communicative development.

Why an Online Version: The online version of theparent matrix has been developed for several reasons:

It’s free. This is a free service that is available to anyone who wants to use it.

Your Contribution: When you use this free service, we ask you to provide some very basic information about the individual that you are assessing (gender, age, ethnic background, country of residence, disability and specific impairments) and your relationship to that person. We DO NOT request any identifying information and we have no way of tracking who has used this service. When you complete the Matrix online, the information you provide will be stored. This information will provide valuable data about the communication skills demonstrated by individuals with various disabilities. This information may be summarized in scientific reports, professional presentations, articles in professional journals and book chapters.


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Last Revision: September 1, 2010