The STEPS Comprehensive Communication Manual divides communication training into 3 stages: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. Beginning Communication Training focuses on the individual identifying needs and beginning vocabulary. Intermediate Communication Training focuses on using communication to interact with others and the environment for personal and academic needs, increasing vocabulary, and expanding on the components of language. Advanced Communication Training focuses on using communication to interact with others, express thoughts and ideas, and have conversations while taking advantage of opportunities for appropriate social interactions with peers.
Since each individual is different, regardless of diagnosis, it is of utmost importance to use this manual as a guide and to modify it to meet the needs of each student. For example, some students learn best with the use of visual supports, including nonverbal gestures, while others respond better to auditory supports. If a student seems to be stuck on a particular step, it is very important to modify the program and identify what the barrier is so the student can continue progressing in his or her use of communication. If students are not progressing, it is our responsibility as their instructors to determine how we can help them progress and move forward. It should never be determined that the student simply can’t do it. It is up to us as their teachers, therapists, parents, and advocates to keep on trying until comprehensive communication is achieved.