Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type





The development of communication and language skills is vital to fulfilling the goals of expressing needs and wants, exchanging information, and developing social closeness. The process of building communicative competence in children with cognitive, motor, and language impairments varies greatly from communication and language development in children without disabilities. A child with communication impairments must be assessed for skills and strengths on which to build and must be assisted with augmentative and alternative communication strategies. A case study with a 19 year-old male who has endured severe communication impairments throughout his lifetime due to cerebral palsy and microcephaly has revealed the difficulty in building communicative competence in those with severe impairments. The nursing process, which includes assessment, diagnosis, intervention planning, implementation, and evaluation has addressed the subject's communication skills and strategies used to augment these skills. Although communicative competence may never be truly realized, the process of building upon already-existing skills is critical for further attainment of skills. The nurse can play a pivotal role in assisting clients with communication impairments fulfill the goals of communication.