Communication is a vital part of our everyday life, and when it is impaired, it can lead to frustration, isolation, and other negative consequences. Functional Communication Training (FCT) is a behavior therapy approach that aims to teach individuals effective ways to communicate their wants and needs. This article will discuss the strategies and benefits of FCT for individuals with communication difficulties.

Understanding Functional Communication Training

  1. What is Functional Communication Training?
    • Definition and purpose of FCT
  2. How does FCT work?
    • Basic principles and methods of FCT
  3. Who can benefit from FCT?
    • Individuals with communication difficulties, including those with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, or developmental delays

Strategies of Functional Communication Training

  1. Identifying the Function of the Challenging Behavior
    • Understanding the reasons behind the challenging behavior can help identify the communication needs of the individual
  2. Providing Alternative Communication Skills
    • Teaching communication skills that are appropriate and effective to replace the challenging behavior
  3. Reinforcing Positive Behavior
    • Using positive reinforcement to encourage the use of the newly learned communication skills
  4. Making Communication Accessible
    • Adapting the environment and communication methods to make them more accessible for the individual

Benefits of Functional Communication Training

  1. Improved Quality of Life
    • FCT can reduce frustration and increase satisfaction in the individual’s life
  2. Enhanced Social Interaction
    • Improved communication skills can lead to more social interactions and relationships
  3. Decreased Challenging Behaviors
    • FCT can help reduce the frequency and intensity of challenging behaviors
  4. Improved Independence
    • Improved communication skills can lead to greater independence in activities of daily living and employment


Functional Communication Training is a behavior therapy approach that can improve the communication skills and quality of life for individuals with communication difficulties. By identifying the function of the challenging behavior, providing alternative communication skills, reinforcing positive behavior, and making communication accessible, FCT can help individuals achieve greater independence and social interaction.


  1. Is FCT only for individuals with autism?
    • No, FCT can be used for individuals with a variety of communication difficulties.
  2. How long does FCT take to show results?
    • The duration of FCT depends on the individual and their specific communication needs, but positive results can often be seen in a matter of weeks.
  3. Can FCT be used with nonverbal individuals?
    • Yes, FCT can be adapted to use nonverbal communication methods, such as sign language or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.
  4. Do I need to be a professional to use FCT?
    • While FCT is often used by professionals, such as behavior therapists or speech-language pathologists, caregivers and family members can also learn and implement FCT strategies.
  5. Can FCT be used with adults?
    • Yes, FCT can be used with individuals of all ages who have communication difficulties.