Pitcheroak School is a SIGNING school and Signalong is used in school to empower our pupils to understand and express their needs. Together with other communication strategies we equip pupils with the necessary skills for them to be able to make independent choices and develop their own language skills.
By using Signalong, we aim to:
For those pupils who are unable to communicate effectively using speech we explore other augmentative and alternative methods to enable them to have a voice. Natural gesture supported by body language, facial expression and tone of voice are all used by everyone of us to convey meaning. Signalong is an unaided augmentative form of communication that supports expressive and receptive language skills.
Signalong helps in the following ways:
Collectively the population of pupils at Pitcheroak cover a broad spectrum of Speech, Language and or Communication difficulties. It is therefore crucial that every member of staff gains a working knowledge of Signalong, even in an environment where speech is the universal means of communication.
All staff that work at Pitcheraok are each Augmentative and Alternative Communication users ensuring equality of opportunity and social inclusion for our entire community.
We are fortunate that we work with NHS speech and language therapists at Pitcheroak. We feel that developing communication skills is a shared responsibility and the best way of helping your child’s communication skills is by parents, carers, teaching staff and therapists working together. This involves sharing information and practical ideas on how to help. Communication difficulties are often more appropriately managed in the classroom and at home, where skills can be developed in a meaningful environment.
Whilst therapists are unable to visit school and see children face to face due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, they are continuing to support children virtually with their communication as much as possible. The Speech and Language Therapists remain in contact with the teaching staff at school and are working collaboratively with staff. You can find lots of free advice, links, demonstration videos and activities for your children on the Speech and Language Therapy website at https://www.hacw.nhs.uk/childrens-speech-and-language-resources/ and on the speech and language therapy social media pages on Facebook and Instagram by searching for “Worcestershire Speech and Language Therapy” and on Twitter by using @SLT_worcs.
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they experience and perceive the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share four key areas of difference/difficulty and the impact of differences within each of the four areas may affect them differently. Some people with autism are able to live independent lives but others may need a lifetime of specialist support.
The four areas of difference that are particularly important for staff in schools and educational settings to understand are:-
Children and young people with Complex Communication Needs may have difficulties which present as similar to autism.