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Webinar on the Communication Matrix. Area IV Deafblind Projects August 21, 2007 Charity Rowland, Ph.D. Oregon Health & Science University. Agenda. Development of Communication Communication Matrix—Print versions for Professionals and Parents Communication Matrix Online.

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webinar on the communication matrix
Webinar on the Communication Matrix

Area IV Deafblind Projects

August 21, 2007

Charity Rowland, Ph.D.

Oregon Health & Science University

  • Development of Communication
  • Communication Matrix—Print versions for Professionals and Parents
  • Communication Matrix Online
Communication Matrix:capturing the skills of individuals operating at the earliest stages of communicative competence
  • Communication Matrix (professionals)
  • Communication Matrix…Especially for Parents (English & Spanish))
  • Online Communication Matrix (English & Spanish)
what is the target population
What is the Target Population?
  • 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.
  • Individuals who use any type of communicative behavior, including "augmentative and alternative" (AAC) forms of communication and pre-symbolic communication.
  • Individuals who experience any type or degree of disability, including severe and multiple disabilities.
  • Individuals of all ages.
  • But NOT individuals who already use some form of language meaningfully and fluently. 
intent is critical

Intent is Critical!!!!

Read the questions carefully!

ways to refuse things that you don t want
Ways to REFUSE things that you don’t want
  • Expresses Discomfort (Level I): Can you tell when your child is uncomfortable (in pain, wet, hungry, startled)?
  • Protests (Level II): Can you tell when your child doesn’t want something specific such as a certain food or a toy or a game you’re playing, like tickling?
  • Refuses or Rejects (Levels 111-VII): Does your child intentionally show you that he or she doesn’t want a certain thing or a certain activity?
question 8 requests new object
Question 8Requests New Object
  • “Does you child intentionally show you that she wants something new (such as a toy or some food) that is within her sight, hearing or touch, but that you have not offered?”
completing the profile
Completing the Profile
  • Shade in cells if at least one behavior is mastered for the specific state, function or intent.
  • Use stripes for cells if one (or more) behaviors are emerging and none are mastered.
summarizing results
Total Score

From Profile, give 2 points for each cell that is mastered and 1 point for each cell that is emerging. Maximum score = 160.

Highest Level of Competence

Highest level (of 7) at which child has mastered behaviors.

Summarizing Results
the online communication matrix
The Online Communication Matrix
  • An online version of the Communication Matrix (Rowland, 2004), an assessment designed for early communicators who use any form of communication is now available free of charge.
  • Users enter information about an individual’s communication skills and print out a one-page graphic profile and a list of specific communicative behaviors and intents expressed.
  • Entries may be updated for repeated assessments.
  • The data collected are used to develop scientific information about the communication skills of individuals with specific disabilities. This is a global service and research initiative.
your contribution
Your Contribution
  • 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.
logging in
Logging In
  • “Start Now” on navigation bar to left.
  • New Users click on button to register (requires only that you give yourself a password: a UserID is generated for you).
  • Returning Users have option to:

View/Delete existing Matrix

Resume unfinished Matrix

Update starting with previous Matrix

Start a Matrix on a new child

getting started statements
Getting Started Statements
  • Same as for Parent Matrix
  • Automatically begin questions at appropriate level, depending on which statement you check to describe child’s communication skills.

Sample Response Page

Question C1: Refuses or Rejects Something

“Does your child intentionally show you that s/he doesn’t want a certain thing or a certain activity? If so, what does your child do to refuse or reject something?”


Each possible communicative behavior is scored as either Not Used (default), Emerging, or Mastered, using drop-down boxes.

automated profile results
Automated Profile Results
  • If start at Level II, Level I is automatically highlighted as mastered.
  • If start at Level III, Levels I and II are automatically highlighted as mastered.

Results: Sample Communication Skills List

This is the first page of five showing exactly which communicative behaviors this individual uses to express which communicative intents.

site users by country

United States

Site Users by Country





United Kingdom

Spanish-speaking Nations

50 Other Nations


User Relationship to

Assessed Individual

Age of Assessed



20+ yrs

16 – 20 yrs

Parent or




12 – 16 yrs

2 – 4 yrs

8 – 12 yrs






4 – 8 yrs


% Of Individuals Assessed Who Experience Specific Impairments

(many individuals experience multiple impairments)

join the global research initiative
Join the Global Research Initiative!

New funding has recently been awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to:

  • Expand the web site
  • Improve the web site
  • Evaluate the web site

The site will continue to operate in its present format while it is undergoing improvements.

Please use it! It’s free!