Self-Advocacy – Part 4 – Communication Repair

10/10/16areas of self-advocacy

Previous blogs discussed Equipment Management, Self-Knowledge, and Preferential Seating so today let’s look at Communication Repair (CR).

Can you imagine how excited I was to see CR as part of the Common Core Standards Speaking and Listening Strand for Grades K-2?


Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

Grade 1:

 Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.

♦  Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
Grade 2:
Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
Let’s consider some typical classroom situations:
A student may converse, give a report, discuss or share while holding paper/book/iPad,
    etc. in front of his face
While working in a small group, multiple students talk at once.
A loud noise occurs (talking, sneezing, door slam, overhead announcement, pencil
    sharpener) near the student with hearing loss while the teacher is giving directions.
 Young students may speak softly and not look at the person they are speaking to.
  Playgrounds, gyms and cafeterias are very noisy places.  A student with hearing loss
     may not understand directions given by an adult.
Students with hearing loss, especially those with low self-esteem, may think they are the only ones who did not understand and not ask any questions.

I explain to my students that when one person does not understand what another person said,  that’s called a communication breakdown.  When that happens it needs to be fixed or repaired.   I made communication-repair-cards that contain possible ways to repair a breakdown and we go through the cards and sort them into smiley face and frowny face piles.  You can also add things you hear the student say to the pile.  The instructional activity is to go through the pile together, sorting, discussing, giving examples, and making connections.  I also model appropriate requests when I need to, then point it out to the student.

Another point to be discussed with students is how else they can get the information when they missed something.  Examples are to ask a neighbor, look at what material a classmate is getting out and observe what others are doing.


One moment that stands out in my memory was walking into a third grader’s class one day.  (This was many years ago – she is a senior now).  She was sitting at a back table with a small reading group and the teacher was wearing the FM mic.  She did not see me enter and as I walked up behind her I heard her say to another student “Can you say that again after you get the mic?”  I praised her up and down for that response!

I have 2 products that include great ways to practice communication repair.  The Self-Advocacy Board Game is available here, in iTunes and TPT.  ListenAbility for SHapes (LASH) is available here.

How do you handle Communication Repair?