Complex Communicative Needs in Education

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Complex Communicative Needs in Education


Heliomare education

Heliomare supports (potentially) disabled people. The degree of support provided, depends on the requirements and the physical and mental capabilities of the client. Heliomare offers special education to children with complicated learning difficulties (ZML), with physical disabilities (LG) and multiple disabilities (MG). In secondary education for, ZML, LG, MG and chronic ill students (LZ cluster 3). All education activities are concentrated within Heliomare education

Target Group    

Children with  Complex Communicative Needs (CCN) in special education.
Age 4- 8 years (Average age 6 years, Range 4-10 years)

Description  All children participate in the Communicative Development program of non-speaking children and their communication partners (COCP) in the classroom. Application of learning strategies ensures a higher level of participation in children who do not speak or have difficulty

COCP stands for Communicative Development of nonspeaking children and their Communication Partners. The general goal of the COCP intervention program is to promote optimal conditions for communicative interaction in naturally occurring daily situations, so that nonspeaking children can learn to communicate effectively, efficiently and social acceptable.

The basic idea is that if speaking partners adapt their own behaviors in order to encourage and facilitate the communication, nonspeaking children will join in.

Adaptations of the interaction style of speaking communication partners involve the use of the so called ten partner strategies, which are described in the program.

In special education children with complex communicative needs (CCN) are together in groups with speaking children. The children with CCN often do not participate or hardly participate in group discussions and other group activities.

COCP in the Classroom offers a DVD with instructions and video clips for teachers and supporters to promote equal interactions in groups of children with and children without CNN. The basis of this new methodology are the ten teacher strategies for equivalent group interactions.

The application of ten teacher strategies ensures a higher level of participation for all children in the group, including those who do not speak or have difficulty speaking.

Included with the DVD is an instruction for teachers and an explanation of the 31 sample clips, developing competencies to successfully apply strategies through a training and coaching process. These consist of an instruction workshop and coaching conversations based on video recordings of the group leaders with a group of students.

Staff and Resources 
.Heliomare, University of Amsterdam (Het Kohnstamm Instituut)

Financial contributions HandicapNL and Johanna Kinderfonds

Revalidatiefonds, Johanna Kinderfonds, R & D, University of Amsterdam and Heliomare 

Contact /more information


  •        Margriet Heim
  •        Vera Jonker
  •        Elise Brinkman
  •        Marjan Veen

Email address :

Other details:

David Beukelman, Pat Mirenda, Kathryn Garrett, Janice Light. Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Supporting Children and Adults with Complex Communication Needs, Fourth Edition 4th Edition