20 Pros and Cons of Total Communication

Pros And Cons Of Total Communication

You’re standing in the middle of a crowded room, trying to have a conversation with someone who is deaf. You struggle to communicate effectively, feeling frustrated and helpless as you try to convey your thoughts and emotions. This is where total communication comes into play.

Total communication is an approach that combines multiple forms of communication, including sign language, written words, gestures, facial expressions, and speech. It aims to create a comprehensive system of communication that can be tailored to meet the needs of individuals with varying levels of hearing loss.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of total communication and discuss whether it’s the right approach for you or your loved one.

Pros of Total Communication

  1. Comprehensive Communication: Total Communication promotes the use of multiple communication methods, such as sign language, oral speech, and other visual and auditory methods. This multifaceted approach allows for flexibility and ensures that individuals with varied communication needs have a platform to express themselves.
  2. Inclusivity: It allows for the inclusion of those who might not be able to communicate solely through oral speech, such as individuals with hearing impairments. By providing multiple means of communication, it ensures that everyone can participate.
  3. Enhanced Learning: With the incorporation of visual, auditory, and tactile methods, it caters to different learning styles. This can be beneficial in educational settings where students may have diverse learning needs.
  4. Bridges Communication Gaps: For families with members who have hearing impairments, Total Communication provides a way to bridge the communication gap, fostering better relationships and understanding.
  5. Early Intervention: Total Communication can be introduced early in a child’s life, ensuring that they have communication tools available from a young age. This can aid in their cognitive and social development.
  6. Flexibility in Application: It doesn’t tie an individual down to one method of communication. As a person’s needs and circumstances change, they can shift between various communication techniques.
  7. Boosts Self-confidence: For individuals who might feel isolated due to their inability to communicate effectively, having multiple tools at their disposal can boost self-confidence and self-worth.
  8. Promotes Social Interaction: It encourages interaction with peers and society at large, preventing social isolation which is common among those with communication disabilities.
  9. Tailored Approach: Total Communication respects the individuality of each person, understanding that one size doesn’t fit all. By providing a range of communication methods, it allows individuals to pick what suits them best.
  10. Holistic Development: With the ability to communicate effectively, individuals can participate in a broader range of activities and experiences, promoting holistic personal and social development.

Cons of Total Communication

  1. Complexity: Implementing a comprehensive system that combines multiple communication methods can be complex and overwhelming for both educators and learners.
  2. Requires Specialized Training: To effectively use Total Communication, educators, family members, and peers might require specialized training, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
  3. May Not Be Universally Accepted: Not all settings or communities might be open to or familiar with Total Communication. This can create barriers when individuals try to interact in unfamiliar environments.
  4. Lack of Standardization: Because Total Communication integrates multiple methods, there might be inconsistencies in how it is taught or applied, leading to confusion.
  5. Possible Over-reliance on One Method: Even though the approach promotes using multiple methods, individuals might become too reliant on one form of communication, limiting their versatility.
  6. Resource Intensive: Providing the necessary resources, from trained professionals to materials, can be expensive and might not be feasible for all institutions or families.
  7. Potential for Miscommunication: With the combination of various methods, there’s an increased risk of messages being misinterpreted or misunderstood.
  8. Might Be Seen as a “Half Measure”: Some advocates for specific communication methods (e.g., pure oralism or pure sign language) might see Total Communication as not being fully committed to any one approach.
  9. Technological Dependency: Some methods within Total Communication may rely on technology. If these technologies malfunction or are unavailable, it can hinder communication.
  10. Continuous Adaptation: As new communication methods and technologies emerge, there’s a need for continuous adaptation and learning within the Total Communication framework.

Definition and Explanation of Total Communication

You may find it beneficial to understand the concept of total communication, which involves using various methods of communication to improve overall understanding and comprehension. Total Communication is a strategy that was created for individuals who have difficulty communicating through traditional means such as speech or writing. It includes different methods like sign language, gestures, facial expressions, and even technology-based tools like tablets or smartphones. The approach aims to maximize communication opportunities to increase inclusivity practices.

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Total Communication has been proven effective in many contexts, from educational settings to workplaces and community events. By incorporating different modes of communication, it creates an environment where everyone can participate regardless of their abilities.

For instance, in a classroom setting, a teacher who uses Total Communication strategies can effectively communicate with students who are deaf or hard of hearing by using sign language and written materials simultaneously. However, some argue that relying too much on Total Communication could limit the development of other important skills such as verbal language acquisition. It is also not always feasible due to lack of resources or time constraints. Additionally, some individuals may not be comfortable with certain forms of communication included in Total Communication strategies.

In summary, understanding the pros and cons of Total Communication is key in deciding whether it’s the best fit for you or your organization’s needs. While it provides various benefits such as improving inclusivity practices and enhancing overall communication skills across diverse groups, there are also disadvantages such as potential limitations on other areas of development and feasibility issues. Ultimately finding balance between its use alongside traditional forms is crucial to ensure successful implementation while supporting all individuals involved in achieving their goals together.

Advantages of Total Communication

If you’re looking to truly connect with those around you, embracing a variety of methods to express yourself can help ensure that everyone is heard and understood. This is where total communication comes in.

The benefits of total communication are numerous, and they include better communication and understanding between individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. By utilizing a variety of communication methods such as sign language, visuals aids, body language, and verbal cues, total communication has the potential to create a more inclusive environment where everyone can participate and feel valued.

One of the success factors of total communication is that it acknowledges the diversity among individuals’ speech and hearing abilities. It recognizes that not everyone communicates in the same way or at the same level, therefore providing different tools for different people to communicate effectively.

Total Communication also empowers individuals by giving them multiple ways to express themselves. This approach helps build self-esteem since each person’s unique strengths are utilized instead of focusing on their limitations.

Another benefit of total communication is that it fosters an environment that encourages active listening. When individuals use multiple forms of expression, it requires others to pay attention more closely so they can understand what’s being communicated fully. As a result, this leads to deeper connections between people because they’re actively engaging with one another rather than just passively receiving information.

In summary, employing total communication provides many benefits in creating an inclusive environment where everyone has a voice regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Its success factors include acknowledging individual differences while empowering people by giving them various ways to express themselves effectively. Also fostering active listening builds stronger connections among people leading towards better collaboration within groups or teams who work together towards common goals.

Negatives of Total Communication

If you rely heavily on visual cues, total communication may be the perfect fit for you. However, it can be overwhelming or confusing for some individuals who aren’t comfortable with relying on multiple forms of communication simultaneously.

Although it has its benefits, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks before committing to using total communication in your daily life.

Reliance on Visual Cues

You’ll find yourself relying heavily on visual cues when using total communication, which can be both helpful in improving communication but also challenging if the person you’re communicating with does not have strong visual skills.

This method of communication involves using multiple modes of expression, such as speaking, signing, writing, and gesturing to convey a message. While it can be a useful tool for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or those with language barriers, it can also create accessibility barriers if the other person is unable to understand your gestures or facial expressions.

Here are some potential challenges that could arise from relying too heavily on visual cues when using total communication:

  • It may impact social interactions: When you rely solely on visual cues to communicate with someone who has poor vision or limited understanding of non-verbal cues, it may lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication. This may make them feel left out of conversations and isolate them socially.
  • It can be frustrating for both parties: If one person relies too much on visual cues and the other struggles to interpret them accurately, it can lead to frustration and even conflict.
  • It may reinforce stereotypes: People who are not familiar with sign language or other forms of non-verbal communication may assume that individuals who use these methods cannot fully participate in society.
  • It creates additional work for interpreters: Interpreting gestural language requires more effort than interpreting spoken language alone.
  • The quality of interaction may vary: Relying too much on visual cues may result in a decrease in the quality of interaction between communicators because they spend more time trying to interpret each other’s body language instead of engaging in meaningful conversation.
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Overwhelming or Confusing for Some Individuals

The use of multiple modes of expression in communication can be overwhelming or confusing for some individuals, leaving them feeling lost in a sea of signals and struggling to stay afloat. Total communication involves the use of different channels such as speech, sign language, gestures, facial expressions, and written words to convey messages effectively.

While this approach may benefit many people with hearing loss or other disabilities who have different strengths and preferences when it comes to language and sensory input, it can also pose challenges for those who find it hard to process more than one source of information at a time.

As with any form of communication, accommodating personal preferences and needs is crucial for success. Some individuals may prefer one mode over another based on their cultural background, cognitive style, age group, or social context.

For instance, older adults who grew up in a predominantly oral society may struggle with sign language or written notes if they are not used to these forms of expression. Similarly, children who are still developing their language skills may feel overwhelmed by too much visual stimuli and need more time to process auditory cues before switching back to visual ones.

Therefore, total communication should be tailored to each person’s unique abilities and limitations while still promoting inclusion and diversity in all settings.

Effectiveness of Total Communication in Various Settings

In discussing the effectiveness of total communication in various settings, there are two key areas to consider: education and classroom settings, and workplace and business settings.

In an educational context, total communication can be especially effective for students who have hearing impairments or other disabilities that affect their ability to communicate effectively.

Similarly, in a workplace or business setting, total communication can help ensure that all employees feel included and valued, regardless of their individual abilities or backgrounds.

Education and Classroom Settings

As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the language and culture of your Deaf peers through the use of various communication methods in classroom settings. Total Communication allows for inclusive learning by utilizing multiple teaching strategies that cater to different learning styles.

For instance, using sign language as a primary mode of communication can be beneficial for visual learners who prefer to see information presented visually. Furthermore, incorporating both spoken English and sign language ensures that students with varying degrees of hearing loss are able to access information equally.

This approach also fosters a sense of community within the classroom because it encourages students to support one another in their language development journey. However, one potential downside is that Total Communication can be time-consuming and requires significant effort from both teachers and students.

Despite this challenge, many educators believe that the benefits outweigh the costs when it comes to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

Workplace and Business Settings

Utilizing various communication methods in workplace and business settings can foster an inclusive environment that supports the language development of Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Collaborative strategies, such as team meetings with interpreters or written agendas ahead of time, can ensure that all employees are on the same page and have equal access to information. This not only benefits Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals but also promotes clear communication among hearing coworkers.

Technological advancements have also made it possible for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to fully participate in workplace activities. Video conferencing software, like Zoom or Skype, allows for real-time communication with sign language interpreters present on screen. Additionally, messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams provide a quick way to communicate without relying solely on spoken words.

While there may be some initial adjustments needed to accommodate these different methods of communication, the end result is a more inclusive and diverse workplace that benefits everyone involved.

Determining Whether Total Communication is the Right Approach

Considering whether or not total communication is the right approach for your workplace or business can be a challenging decision. It requires careful consideration of your individualized needs and goals.

A communication assessment can help determine if this approach is suitable for you. Total communication is an individualized approach that requires a significant amount of time, effort, and resources to implement effectively. It requires training for staff members, as well as ongoing support to ensure everyone understands how to properly communicate using this method.

Additionally, it may not be the best option for industries that require quick decision-making or fast-paced environments. However, there are many benefits to using total communication in the workplace.

This approach helps create an inclusive environment where everyone feels heard and understood. It also promotes teamwork and collaboration among employees by encouraging open dialogue and active listening. Ultimately, determining whether or not total communication is the right approach depends on your specific circumstances and goals as a business owner or manager.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does total communication differ from other communication approaches?

Total communication is an approach to teaching that emphasizes the use of various communication methods, such as speech, sign language, and visual aids. This method is beneficial in education as it allows for a more inclusive learning environment, especially for students with hearing impairments or other disabilities.

However, implementing total communication can be challenging as it requires specialized training and resources. Additionally, advancements in technology have impacted how total communication practices are used in classrooms. While technology has made certain aspects of total communication easier to implement (such as video conferencing), it also presents new challenges (such as ensuring accessibility for all students).

Overall, understanding the benefits and challenges of using total communication in education is crucial for creating a successful learning experience for all students.

What are the key components of total communication?

So, you think you know communication, huh? Well, let’s talk about total communication. It’s not just about speaking and listening – it’s so much more.

Visual aids and sign language interpretation are key components of total communication. By incorporating these elements, it allows for a more inclusive form of communication. It’s ironic that something as basic as body language can be so easily overlooked in traditional forms of communication.

Total communication recognizes the value of all types of expression and works to integrate them into everyday interactions.

How has total communication evolved over time?

Sign language recognition has played a significant role in the evolution of total communication.

Over time, there’s been an increased awareness and acceptance of sign language as a legitimate means of communication. This recognition has had a positive impact on language development for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. It allows them to communicate more effectively with others.

The use of sign language also promotes inclusivity and diversity. It helps to break down barriers between people with different abilities.

As technology advances, there are now even more opportunities for sign language recognition and integration into everyday communication devices. This further improves accessibility and inclusion for all.

What are some common misconceptions about total communication?

Oh, you poor soul. You’ve fallen for the misconceptions surrounding total communication. Allow me to debunk them for you.

One common belief is that it means using every possible communication method all at once, resulting in chaos and confusion. In reality, it’s about using various methods to ensure effective communication for each individual’s needs.

Another myth is that it hinders speech development for those with hearing impairments, when research evidence shows the opposite – it actually enhances language acquisition.

As with any approach, there are benefits and drawbacks to total communication, but real life examples demonstrate its success in facilitating meaningful interactions between individuals of varying abilities.

Don’t let these myths discourage you from exploring this valuable mode of communication.

How can parents and educators support the use of total communication in their daily interactions with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing?

To encourage the use of total communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, there are several ways parents and educators can support this approach in their daily interactions. One way is to incorporate visual aids such as sign language, facial expressions, and gestures that can help improve communication.

Another approach is to provide opportunities for individuals to practice using different modes of communication in various settings. However, challenges faced in implementing total communication include a lack of resources and training for those involved.

Despite these challenges, focusing on the benefits of total communication for all parties involved can help motivate individuals to continue using this approach.


So, is total communication right for you? Ultimately, the answer depends on your individual needs and the context of your situation. However, it’s clear that total communication can be an effective approach in many different settings.

By allowing individuals to communicate through a variety of methods, they’re able to both express themselves and understand others more fully.

One interesting statistic to consider is that over 90% of deaf children today are born into hearing families. This means that family members often have limited knowledge and experience with sign language or other forms of non-verbal communication. Total communication can bridge this gap by incorporating spoken language, sign language, lip reading, and other techniques to create a more inclusive environment for all parties involved.

So, if you’re considering total communication as an option, keep in mind its potential benefits as well as its drawbacks and determine whether it aligns with your goals and objectives.