The Bridge School
Communicative Competence

Communication Matrix

The Communication Matrix helps speech-language pathologists and educators document early-developing expressive communication modes in children with complex communication needs. This tool organizes expressive communication into seven levels (from pre-intentional behavior to conventional language use), and across four main reasons to communicate: refusing, obtaining, social interaction and seeking information. The Communication Matrix was published by Dr. Charity Rowland in 1990, and updated in 1996 and 2004. Professionals can order print copies from There is also a free online tool designed to be filled out with parents; this version has specific questions to guide parents and familiar partners as they describe the child’s expressive communication.

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