Talking about the important stuff!

Talking about the important stuff

A program that builds the capacity of children with complex communication needs and their key communication partners to have conversations that will improve their emotional well-being and self-advocacy skills.

Presented by Margie Charlesworth and Janelle Sampson at the AGOSCI National Conference in Hobart on September 4-6, 2022.


The ‘Talking About Important Stuff’ project aims to help children with complex communication needs (CCN) and  their parents talk about important topics such as health, hopes, worries, fears and the harder subjects such as death and loss. 

The program will target early development of skills such as emotional development, well-being, and self-advocacy with a particular focus (as a pilot program) on young children and their parents. At completion of  the  project, a free online training program will be available that includes video lessons, real stories, examples and practice activities so that parents can share and teach their children how to  talk about stuff. The training program will support opportunities for children  and their parents to  learn and practice vocabulary, skills, and habits. We also hope to build on their attitudes and insights into the uniqueness and autonomy of their children.

It is important to acknowledge that this project is not about doing or expecting anything extra than the natural conversations that occur for parents and their children who do not have CCN. We simply aim to ensure that children with CCN do not miss out on this valuable learning and connection with their parents and/or people. 

This presentation  will share the progress of the project to date including a literature review and input from the project advisory committee and content  contributors, many of whom have CCN, or are  parents of children with CCN. This information will make up the key messages to be presented in the online program.