Having a good understanding of a child's current level of communicative competence is the first step in developing an appropriate communication intervention program for the non-verbal child with autism. Alternative communication systems for these children must also be considered. At this preverbal level of communicative competence, it is critical for the child to have some way to effectively communicate, rather than focusing solely on the development of verbal skills. These skills (i.e. learning to speak) may develop in conjunction with the use of alternative communication systems.