Communication challenges and behaviours

Home Speech Therapy Communication challenges and behaviours
Table of Contents

Communication challenges can manifest in various behaviors, and understanding these behaviors is essential for addressing and supporting individuals with speech and communication difficulties. 

Speech therapist teaching one student in class

Here are 10 common behaviors associated with communication challenges:

Frustration and Agitation:

Individuals with difficulty expressing themselves verbally may become frustrated when they struggle to communicate their needs or thoughts. This frustration can lead to agitated behavior, such as outbursts or tantrums.

Withdrawal and Isolation:

Some individuals may withdraw or isolate themselves as a response to communication challenges. They may avoid social interactions to minimize the risk of facing communication difficulties.

Limited Eye Contact:

Difficulty with eye contact is often observed in individuals with social communication challenges. Limited eye contact may be a result of discomfort or challenges in processing nonverbal cues.

Repetitive Behaviors:

Repetitive behaviors, such as echolalia (repeating words or phrases) or engaging in repetitive physical movements, can be associated with communication challenges. These behaviors may serve as a coping mechanism or a way to self-soothe.

Nonverbal Communication:

Individuals may rely more on nonverbal communication, such as gestures, pointing, or using facial expressions, when verbal communication is challenging. It’s important to pay attention to and understand these nonverbal cues.

Difficulty Following Directions:

Challenges in understanding and processing language may result in difficulty following verbal instructions. This can lead to frustration, confusion, and a sense of being overwhelmed.

Limited Vocabulary:

Individuals with speech and language delays may exhibit a limited vocabulary and struggle to express themselves with a diverse range of words. Limited verbal expression can impact communication effectiveness.

Avoidance of Communication:

Some individuals may actively avoid situations that require communication, especially if they have experienced negative reactions or difficulties in the past.

Avoidance can hinder social and academic participation 

Inappropriate Social Behaviors:

Challenges in understanding social norms and cues may lead to inappropriate social behaviors. Individuals may struggle with turn-taking, sharing, or understanding personal space.

Difficulty Initiating Communication:

Initiating conversations or interactions may be challenging for individuals with communication difficulties. They may wait for others to initiate communication or may not know how to start a conversation.

How to approach these challenges?

Understanding and addressing these behaviors involves a collaborative approach, including input from speech therapists, educators, and other professionals. Interventions may include speech therapy, social skills training, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems, and creating supportive environments that consider the individual’s unique communication needs. Patience, empathy, and consistent support are crucial in helping individuals overcome communication challenges and participate more fully in social, academic, and everyday activities.

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Transform Life is a NDIS registered organisation that provides speech therapy support for your child, as well as support to you as a parent to best navigate the challenges your child and family face on a daily basis.

Book your FREE consult with an experienced Speech Therapist at Transform Life to explore how Speech Therapy can support you and your family.


Transform Life is an Australian owned provider specialising in evidence based therapeutic support including Positive Behaviour Support, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Speech Therapy and Behavioural Interventions helping transform lives and families across Australia.

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