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Level III-IV

Profile of Student at Level III-IV

Communication during levels I and II has been referred to as “Partner Perceived Communication” (Wilcox et al, 1995). Through consistent and predictable responsiveness the receiver is shaping the learners early behaviors and paving the way to Level III-IV; the stage of intentional communication. This implies that the learner is now beginning to direct his behavior to a receiver with and intended message. Warren and Yoder (1999) refer to this advancement as a “pivotal juncture of coordinated attention”. It is in this transition that we now see all four elements of expressive communication linked, reflecting the learner’s understanding of what it really means to communicate. According to McCathren and Watson (1999), at this stage the child typically experiences increased engagements with others which lead to more opportunities to practice these skills.  This in turn improves the quality of interaction and language development.


Focus of Instruction

(from Rowland and Schweigert)
  • Shape non-conventional gestures into conventional gestures and/or target symbol use.
  • Teach 1:1 correspondence between symbols and referents.

Goals for Student (Sender)

*Goals are intended to assist the senders to achieve mastery of current level as well as prepare them for transition to the next level.

Goal 1: Student will gain a partner’s attention to reinstate, reject, make a choice, or request a new topic. – Topic

Goal 2: Student will increase communicative intents through gestures or emerging symbolic communication across a variety of partners. –Topic/Receiver

Goal 3: Student will communicate using more conventional gestures within motoric or sensory means. – Means

Goal 4: Student will demonstrate 1:1 correspondence between symbol and referent (child will match object symbol to its corresponding real object). – Means


Outcomes Desired


Level 3 and 4 image with, Topic, Means, Sender , Receiver


Topic:  Recognition and discrimination of more topics.

Means:   Demonstrates joint attention and use of non/conventional gestures and/or emerging symbolic communication.

Sender: Uses joint attention to communicate for a variety of intents.

Receiver:  Expands communication partners and decreases need for proximity.

Achieving boosts child to emerging Level V-VII