Research suggests that individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience difficulties in communication, ranging from intelligibility issues to more severe problems in the use and comprehension of spoken, written or sign language. Despite the negative effects that the inability to communicate have on quality of life (QoL), not much research has explored the relationship between communicative competence and QoL in the adult population with ID. The aim of this study was to describe the global communication profile of a sample of 281 adults with ID recruited from Grupo AMÁS Social Foundation, who differed in their level of communication support needs (CSN). The relationships between communicative competence and CSN with QoL were further examined. The results showed lower QoL indices for those participants characterized by their limited use of discourse and inability to exhibit certain communicative purposes, with the largest differences in the dimensions of self-determination, social inclusion, interpersonal relationships, emotional wellbeing and personal development. Overall, low levels of QoL were found for all participants, with even lower scores for the group identified as having CSN. A multiple regression model revealed that having speech/discourse competence is a powerful predictor of QoL, along with the level of disability and having the communicative competences to express likes and preferences or to establish new relationships. This clear relationship between communication and QoL is an important argument for disability support services when it comes to setting communication supports as a priority and as an important preventive step towards the protection of those at risk of exclusion.
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