Here at Fountains Primary School, we strongly believe that communication is the centre of all learning and the core focus for pupils throughout the curriculum. Everyone has the right to communicate and we strive to promote pupil choice, control and independence. Both the NHS and private speech therapists work with staff and parents to break down individual barriers to communication, to develop their strengths and reach their full potential.
All pupils have a communication profile that provides key information of an individuals communication ability and how best to support their speech, language and communication needs. Pupils have the opportunity to access a range of tailored programmes to develop speech, expressive language, comprehension and social interaction skills in a Total Communication environment.
A communication book contains lots of pictures/symbols and works in a similar way to PECS, but requires no exchange. The pupils can use their book to point at the pictures to communicate. In time, they will learn to point out simple sentences and use their communication book to comment, request and answer questions. Communication books can be developed from something quite simple into a complex communication system as the children develop.
Speech is used consistently within the school so that all children are exposed to language throughout their learning experiences and this is enhanced by using a range of strategies which are outlined below. The children usually use a combination of these dependent on the activity or how receptive they are.
High-Tech communication systems are electronic devices often referred to as Voice Output Communication Aid (VOCA) or Speech Generated Devices (SGDs). These can be divided into static displays where all of the vocabularies are constantly displayed on the device and dynamic displays which enable access to multiple pages of vocabulary. The programmes can be tailored and adapted according to the level and needs of the pupil. The pupil accesses the vocabulary by touching a word/symbol or sequence of words/symbols which then produce speech output. This enables the pupil to learn to develop a range of functional communication; these include greeting others, making choices and decisions, commenting, expressing opinions and giving information.
The sign of the mid-tech devices can range from a single switch, Big Mac switches and single touch communication boards which verbalise what the child wants to say.
Intensive Interaction is a practical approach to interacting with people who have learning difficulties and/or autism and are still at an early stage of communication development.
Intensive Interaction is based on early parent-child interaction that involves mirroring movements, noises, speech, facial expressions, body language, gestures and breathing. The approach is child-led, enabling you to step into their world and build social interaction by helping them to better relate and enjoy the company of others. This helps build trusting and positive relationships.
Intensive interaction enhances the communication abilities of the child by developing pre-speech fundamental communication skills to nurture social interaction and connection.
Objects of Reference
An object is presented which has a particular meaning associated with it. For example, a toy apple may be the object of reference for snack. The object is closely associated with and comes to represent another object, activity, person or event. These objects give the pupil information about what is going to happen.
We use Makaton signs in school and provide regular opportunities for parents to attend workshops to develop both their ability to sign and to understand what is being signed to them. Signing is immersed within our culture at the school to support both understanding and expressive language. We have a Makaton sign of the week which we link to a whole school theme or an important event that is happening that week, for example, Remembrance Day.
A symbol or photo is a visual representation of an item, idea or concept. At Fountains Primary School, we use Widget Symbols through the InPrint software. These symbols are used throughout the day and especially at transition times to
ensure that everyone understands the expectations and to lessen any anxieties that the children may experience.
REQUEST FOR SYMBOLS - Please let your child's class teacher know if we can support you with symbols to use at home to ensure consistency for your child.
Blank level questioning is used throughout the school and is divided into 4 levels depending on the child’s understanding, this approach is used as part of the day to day interactions we have with the children.
Level 1 – Naming
Children at Blank Level 1 are talking about things in front of them or that have only just been taken away. Their responses are short or nonverbal e.g. pointing. An example of this would be – ‘What did you see?
Level 2 – Describing
Children at Blank Level 2 are talking about things directly in front of them. They can talk about part of an object. They will be talking about what an object does or what it looks like. E.g. What colour is it?
Level 3 – Identify
Children at Blank Level 3 are learning to tell stories and define words. They must think and know the facts before giving an answer. for example, ‘How are these the same?’
Level 4 – Justifying
Children at Blank Level 4 can make inferences and deductions. They can talk about cause and effect. They use their past experience and information beyond what they can see and hear. An example of a level 4 question would be; ‘What will happen if…?’
Colourful semantics is an approach created by Alison Bryan. It is aimed at helping children to develop their grammar but it is rooted in the meaning of words (semantics).
Colourful semantics reassembles sentences by cutting them up into their thematic roles and then colour codes them. The approach has 4 key colour-coded stages. There are further stages for adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions and negatives.
WHO – Orange
WHAT DOING – Yellow
WHAT – Green
WHERE – Blue