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Our next Parent Workshop will be on Thursday 7th March at 10am. This will be led by our maths lead and will focus on developing maths through play.
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Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

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Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

Communication, Interaction and Social Skills

The curriculum and strategies used to support development of communication and interaction skills

What learning looks like in Willow pathway within this AoL:

  • We develop children’s vocabulary through moving on from Objects of Reference to visuals with photographs and then symbols

  • We use a whole class and individual visual timetables

  • We encourage children to show speaking skills through using AAC and other means to capture their voices, wants, likes and needs

  • We continue to build up children’s sound and sight vocabularies through repeated songs, and phrases reinforced with key Makaton signs and visuals

  • Staff act as models of good Reading the World of School & Community to build up children’s vocabulary and understanding, expanding the challenge of educational visits as children grow within Willow

  • We continue to develop early interaction skills through the use of TAC PAC, play interaction and intensive interaction sessions.

  • Children continue to develop their listening and attention skills through having daily Attention Autism sessions focusing on stages 1 and 2.

 

What learning looks like in Elm pathway within this AoL:

  • We develop children’s vocabulary through visuals with symbols, moving onto black & white images and there is a range of different ways in which pupils manage their timetables
  • We encourage children to develop their communication skills supported by PECS and communication books
  • We continue to build up children’s sound and sight vocabularies with key Makaton signs and visuals
  • Children are encouraged to develop their use of longer sentences through the use of colourful semantics.
  • We encourage children to show speaking skills through purposeful play interaction sessions
  • Children continue to develop their listening and attention skills through having daily Attention Autism sessions focusing on stages 1, 2 and 3
  • Staff act as models of good Reading the World of School & Community to build up children’s vocabulary and understanding
  • All educational visits are planned with literacy and communication opportunities in mind

 

What learning looks like in Cherry pathway within this AoL:

  • We develop children’s vocabulary through visuals with black & white images moving towards print only cards, and there is a range of different ways in which pupils manage their timetables with high independence
  • We encourage children to develop their speech skills supported by subject specific communication boards, communication books and electronic AAC
  • We use the Reggio approach within literacy to enable clear opportunities for children to develop their communication and interaction skills
  • Children are encouraged to develop their use of longer sentences through the use of colourful semantics
  • Word aware is used to build up children's understanding of vocabulary enabling them to use the words they have learnt in different contexts
  • We encourage children to develop effective speaking & listening skills through planned opportunities to practice conversations, supported by sentence starters and minimal scripts
  • We encourage children to continue to develop their interaction skills through planned whole class opportunities
  • We work on developing children’s grammar and vocabulary so that they can develop expressive communication
  • All educational visits are planned with literacy and communication opportunities and independence in mind

 

Strategies and teaching tools used to support development of CISS skills

  • The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in which a child is taught to communicate with an adult by giving them a card with a picture on it. PECS is based on the idea that children who are non-verbal or with limited functional speech can be taught to communicate using pictures. 

  • Communication Books and Electronic Devices: A Communication Book provides pages of symbols, usually organised by topic. Depending on the age, cognitive and physical abilities of the user, the page may have anything from one to many symbols on a page. The topics depend on the age, ability and interest of the AAC speaker.  Some users also have an electronic system and, in that case, it is helpful to print out all the pages from the electronic system so that the user has access to their vocabulary when the electronic device breaks down or in situations where it is inappropriate to use it, such as the swimming pool.

  • Visual Systems hierarchy & dual coding: to increase understanding and lower the cognitive load of processing speech alone, we use dual coding throughout the school (Widgit symbols on rooms; visual timetables; Now & Next boards; Makaton alongside key words in Book Study etc. etc.)

  • Attention Autism is an intervention model designed by Gina Davies, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. It aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities. It works to develop joint attention, a skill seen as essential in the development of language, social communication skills and learning. 

  • Intensive Interaction works on early interaction abilities - how to enjoy being with other people - to relate, interact, know, understand and practice communication routines. Intensive Interaction teaches and develops the ‘Fundamentals of Communication’. It is a 1:1 session intended to develop early communication skills through mirroring by a staff member to encourage responses and interactions through positive feedback to a child. 

  • Play interaction is structured time 1:1 or in a small group. Through play children learn how to interact with the world and with others. They learn to understand the world and to manage their own behaviour and emotions. It is a core prat of high quality EYFS practice. 

  • TACPAC draws together touch and music to create a structured half hour of sensory communication between two people. TACPAC creates sensory alignment and helps people of any age who have sensory impairment, developmental delay, complex learning difficulties, tactile defensiveness, and limited or pre-verbal levels of communication. 

  • Colourful Semantics is a system for colour coding sentences according to the role of different words. It can help children to break down sentences and understand the individual meaning of each word and its role in the sentence. It can help children to better understand word order. Children can use colourful semantics to build up meaningful, well-structured sentences. 

  • Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression. 

Resources, Training and CPD 

https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/communication/understanding-and-developing-communication 

https://www.autismspeaks.org/social-skills-and-autism 

What is PECS? https://pecs-unitedkingdom.com/pecs/ 

https://www.widgit.com/products/inprint/index.htm 

https://www.intensiveinteraction.org/ 

https://makaton.org/ 

https://tacpac.co.uk/ 

 

Staff CPD - see staffshare & OneDrive CPD folders:  

Planning and advice guides linked to PECS, Makaton, Intensive Interaction, TACPAC, Attention Autism 

Strengths we celebrate about teaching & learning within this AoL:

 

  • Staff have a strong understanding of the communication needs of their students.

  • Staff role play, model and comment so children can learn how to communicate and interact appropriately. ​ 

  • Staff teams are able to create engaging and purposeful curriculum for their pathways that allow pupils to develop their communication and interaction skills.

  • There is a clear hierachy of visual supports that children can move through at their own individual speed.

Areas for development & refining within this AoL:

  • To ensure all staff are communicating effectively and providing planned means, reasons and opportunities (MRO) so that children’s chosen voices are heard every day across the curriculum.
  • Trips to include real life experiences to support communication rather than just role playing, e.g. visiting hairdresser, going shopping etc.
  • To develop the communication facilitator role so that children can receive bespoke interventions and support to develop their communication.

 

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