At Newfield we believe all our learners should be able to express their needs and make choices. Staff throughout the school receive training in order to support effective communication.
Developing children’s communication skills is key to our work here at Newfield. We work closely with speech and language therapists to ensure all students have a voice. In addition to working with children in school, we also run regular training sessions for parents and other professionals including respite providers and those from mainstream settings.
Below are some examples of communication support we use at Newfield
Makaton uses signs and symbols to allow learners to communicate more effectively. At Newfield we have a Regional Tutor able to deliver training to staff in school, parents and externally to other education providers and agencies supporting our learners. Signing is used throughout the whole school to support communication.
Communication Books and Symbols
Many of our students are visual learners and the use of symbols allows them to develop their understanding and expression. Students are introduced to symbols throughout the environment and within lessons in order to make choices, understand their routine through timetables and begin to develop literacy skills. Communication books using symbols are created to meet the needs of individuals to include vocabulary for both school, home and the wider community.
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a specific use of symbols particularly used to encourage students to initiate communication. This strategy and resource is used throughout the school including many of our students within the School for Autism.
We are fortunate at Newfield to have an Eye-gaze system which is used to support students with limited motor skills. This equipment uses cameras to allow learners to operate the screen and look to make choices. Alongside developing symbol understanding this can provide many of our students with an effective communication tool as well as enabling them to access activities independently.
We also have a wide range of switches and software to develop expressive communication including social opportunities throughout the school.