What does communication look like in school? Have a look at our poster below:
It has been agreed that a Total Multi-modal Communication Approach, which includes all modes of communication, is used throughout the teaching and learning process, where appropriate. This not only reinforces each pupil’s communication system but provides models of how each system can be used to communicate. It also provides the teacher with an opportunity to assess which mode or modes of communication the pupil is able to receive and understand and other pupils learn how to communicate with the child using an alternative communication system.
In order to achieve this we need to:
‘To encourage pupils to express their likes, dislikes, feelings, emotions and preferences for different audiences, it is important to develop vocalisation where possible, whether spontaneous or imitative, and/or the use of a range of communicative movements and gestures’. To develop the above skills an Intensive Interaction approach is used with pre-verbal pupils, with more complex needs, to facilitate learning.
Objects of Reference
Each class has a set of whole school objects of reference which represent certain lessons and activities experienced throughout the school. Some of the objects are also used to label certain rooms/locations in school to aid pupils’ understanding.
Some pupils have unique objects of reference which are chosen according to individual needs – taking into account sensory impairments, physical impairments and their preferences.
Photographs are used with those pupils who are able to develop their skills beyond objects of reference (concrete) to a more symbolic form of communication.
Digital cameras are available to teachers to enable them to respond to the pupils’ developing communication skills.
Symbols are used throughout school
It has been agreed that all symbols will be black and white unless it is felt that colour would better develop an individual pupil’s skills. The text is to be under the symbol and the font used will be ‘Comic Sans’ in both Key Stage 3 & 4. Post 16 may use a range of fonts to extend pupils reading skills.
All classes have at least one symbol ‘Answer book’ and a set of large timetable symbols.
A number of our pupils also use individual symbol timetables and/or the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and, as such, have their own timetable symbols and Communication Books containing a range of symbols for choice-making, for example, snack items, activities, places etc.
‘Communicate: In Print ’ and Clicker 5 is available on all computers to allow access to symbols by both teachers and pupils.
Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) – See Inventory and Class lists.
Most non/pre-verbal pupils have been assigned a VOCA to aid communication. This may be a BIGmack, Partner Two, Go Talk 4/9 or other suitable device for their own use in school.