Free online support for kids with difficulties communicating

Posted 5 months ago by David McManus
Founded by Janelle Sampson, Two Way Street is on a mission to share their knowledge, skills and experience in augmentative and alternative communication to the wider community. (Source: Shutterstock)
Founded by Janelle Sampson, Two Way Street is on a mission to share their knowledge, skills and experience in augmentative and alternative communication to the wider community. (Source: Shutterstock)

Two Way Street is on a mission to assist communication, autonomy, belonging, connection and opportunity for all.

Key points:

  • The course launches June 1, free and available to anyone via the Two Way Street website
  • The course is aimed at parents of young children with a communication disability, but is also relevant for parents of any child who does not yet have the language complexity to express abstract thoughts
  • The course goes for roughly 8 hours, is hosted online and can be completed at your own pace


With a strong focus on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) speech therapy, Two Way Street began sharing their knowledge and experience through online learning to support those with a communication disability and the people in their lives.

Two Way Street has released a new free online course, ‘Talking About The Important Stuff,’ to help empower parents and carers with emotional well-being and self-advocacy skills. Emotional awareness builds over time through day-to-day interactions. Unlike their peers, children with complex communication needs (CCN) often miss out on the opportunity for organic conversations. Everyone needs conversations with each other to make sense of the world, to be supported and to support others.

With a focus on conversations and autonomy in the early years, the course aims to help children with a communication difficulty to keep up with their peers and maximise opportunities for communication, language, literacy learning and socialisation. These are all general skills and abilities that are critical to participation in daily life.

The importance of communication and emotional development cannot be overstated, especially for individuals living with a communication disability. Two Way Street secured funding from the Australian Government Department of Social Services to develop this training course to address emotional well-being from an early age.

To highlight the impact of this course, Two Way Street partnered with people with lived experience of communication difficulties to share their experiences and perspectives on the importance of effective communication and emotional well-being. Input was also sought from parents of children with CCN, speech pathologists working in AAC and researchers.

“Think back to when you were young. How did you learn? I bet it was the same way that most children learn; by asking a million questions a day,” explains Margie Charlesworth, Communication Access Consultant/Project Officer at Two Way Street and co-creator of the course. Margie was born with Cerebral Palsy and has lived with a communication difficulty all her life.

“The curious and silly, to the serious and uncomfortable questions — even the same ones asked over and over again, may drive adults crazy, but they are signs of a learning mind.”

‘Talking About The Important Stuff’ is a starting point that aims to establish habits in the early years that provide a strong foundation for ongoing emotional well-being. Parents and key communication partners are encouraged throughout the course to have meaningful conversations with their children when they need to talk about stuff.

“We are excited to offer this free course to anyone with a child with a communication difficulty in their life,” says Janelle Sampson, Two Way Street Director, Senior Speech Pathologist and author of the course.

“Communication is a fundamental aspect of human connection, and for children with complex communication needs, it can be challenging to have meaningful conversations that contribute to their emotional development. This course will provide parents and key communication partners with the tools they need to have successful conversations and foster emotional well-being in their children.”

To check out the course for yourself or someone in your life, please visit the Two Way Street website.