Improving the ideas behind multimodal communication

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Our society is biased towards communicating with spoken and written language. This has a profound effect on how we all think about communication, and the role of language in it. The idea of “multimodal communication” has been useful for highlighting issues of communication access, but its value as a technical, professional concept is questionable. I argue that we can improve the ideas supporting multimodal communication and transform it into a technical concept by carefully reflecting on the presumptions of our profession, the nature of communication, and nature and functions of the modalities used for communication. As a starting point, we should relate core aspects of communication to different meaning-making modalities, and consider how modalities are combined to achieve communicative acts. In the longer term, this reconceptualisation will provide a basis for more targeted assessment, intervention, and advocacy for people with communication disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-134
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical practice in speech-language pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • multimodal
  • communication

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