Area of Learning: Communication - There is cross-over with subjects in the other two areas of learning; Personal Development and Understanding My World.
We use Intensive interaction approaches with pre verbal children whose communication is at an early stage of development, and who often find it difficult to engage with others. The sessions follow the child’s lead, are relaxed, and playful. The purpose is for children to enjoy communicating, improve their understanding of non-verbal and verbal communications and strengthen emotional connections and bonds with others.
Across Middle School, pupils develop their skills following a spiral curriculum. Literacy skills will be covered multiple times across several academic years, each time looking to build on previous progress. In turn, this supports other areas of learning, improves pupil’s Life Skills and positively impacts on overall independence. The overall focus is always on functional literacy and preparing children for both the accreditations of Upper School and eventual adulthood. As much as possible reading and writing activities are linked to experiences and activities children have or will experience in the their everyday life. This helps provide pupils with context and meaning to their studies.
Reading activities take place daily in every class in addition to daily phonics activities. Phonics teaching follows the programme of Letters and Sounds, to ensure consistency between classes and consolidated through the reading books schemes we use. Support for whole word readers and those children requiring a different approach is provided by in-class differentiation, assisted by interventions from the Hive when required. In addition to physical books children also have individual logins to Reading Eggs which provides them with access to a virtual library of books, including books with audio support and additional online content.
Staff use signs and /or gestures to accompany the spoken word to aid the child's understanding of what is being said. Most children use signs and gestures along with speech. Makaton is designed to support spoken language – signs are used with speech, in spoken word order to help children and adults to communicate. Using signs can help children who have no speech (either because they have communication difficulties or are very young) or whose speech is unclear. Makaton is a visual way of communicating with your hands alongside spoken language. A small number of children use only gestures, signs and symbols to communicate.
Social Communication & Emotional Regulation Transactional Support (SCERTS)
This is “a research-based” educational approach and multidisciplinary framework that directly addresses the core challenges faced by children and persons with ASD and related disabilities, and their families. SCERTS focuses on building competence in Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support.
Speech and Language
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
PECS, allows children with little or no communication abilities to communicate using pictures. People using PECS are taught to approach another person and give them a picture of a desired item in exchange for that item. By doing so, the person is able to initiate communication. A child with autism can use PECS to communicate a request, a thought, or anything that can reasonably be displayed or symbolized on a picture card. PECS works well in the home or in the classroom.
For children with limited verbal language, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an approach used to develop the child’s ability to initiate communication. It can also be extended to teach sentence construction and to build vocabulary. Children with more developed verbal communication may have difficulty in processing language.
PECS United Kingdom
PECS was developed in 1984 by Lori Frost, MS, CCC/SLP and Dr. Andrew Bondy. It was first used at the Delaware Autistic Program. The goal of (PECS) is to teach children with autism a fast, self-initiating, functional communication system. PECS begins with the exchange of simple icons but rapidly builds "sentence" structure.
The TEACCH approach tries to respond to the needs of autistic people using the best available approaches and methods known so far, for educating and teaching autonomy. It is not a single method and can be used alongside other approaches.
Teaching – sharing autism knowledge and increasing the skill level of professionals and practitioners.
Expanding – increasing own knowledge to provide high-quality services to people on the autism spectrum and their families.
Appreciating – appreciating the strengths and uniqueness of autistic culture.
Collaborating and Cooperating with colleagues, other professionals, people on the autism spectrum and their families.
Holistic – adopting a holistic approach, looking at the person, their family and community.
VISUAL SUPPORTS: OBJECTS OF REFERENCE, OBJECTS; PICTURES; SYMBOLS
Objects, photographs and pictures are used throughout school and during all lessons to support CYP understanding and communication. Pupils use the objects, pictures or symbols to make their needs known and to share their ideas. Like, signs these are used alongside the spoken word.
Pupils use visual supports in a number of ways, for example for timetables for the day, part of a day, or what is happening now and next. Pupils can use activity related choice boards to select items needed for the activity, or to choose something to eat or play with. Shape coding is a way of using and expanding colour and shape to support expressive and written language learning across the curriculum.