The Bridge School

Communicative Competence

Conversational Styles

Many children with complex communication needs rely heavily on familiar partners who understand their wants and needs. Even with proficient use of AAC devices, many find it difficult to initiate conversations and remain in a passive conversational role (Von Tetzchner & Martinsen, 1992). Different contexts may elicit different conversational patterns for a student. The Hanen Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based information and training about language learning to parents and professionals, identifies four conversational styles for children: Sociable, Reluctant, Own Agenda and Passive. By looking at how frequently a child initiates communication and responds to others in different contexts, we can gain an understanding of the child’s preferred conversational style, and plan interventions to help the child become a more skillful initiator if necessary. Below are assessment resources based on the Hanen conversational styles.

References and Links

Von Tetzchner, S. & Martinsen, H. (1992). Symbolic and Augmentative Communication. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.

Weitzman, E. (1992). Learning Language and Loving It: A Hanen Centre Publication. Canada: The Beacon Herald Fine Printing Division.