Alternative Forms of Communication

Communication needs at Highfurlong

On entering school pupils have a full assessment of their Speech, Language and Communication needs and are allocated a specific Speech and Language Therapist to work with them and class staff on their strategies. Parents are given a full report on their child’s Speech and Language and a copy of future targets as part of their annual collaborative meeting.

For our pupils who have complex communication needs they may need to use alternative forms of communication. In partnership with parents and class staff we provide ongoing in-depth assessments and pupils will have the opportunity to trial different devices to ensure we find the right fit for them.

At Highfurlong we pride ourselves on being a local centre of expertise in the field of AAC. We have a Communication Team consisting of an AAC Manager, 3 Speech and Language Therapists and a Therapy Assistant.

We are a communication inclusive school. Within school we use many different forms of communication such as signing, eye pointing, objects of reference, symbols, gestures, words and high tech AAC devices. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) is any form of aided communication system and we have several users who use high tech AAC with voice output.

The majority of our communication aids are provided by school, however, should a child need access to a high tech device such as voice output equipment or eye-gaze technology we would liaise with the ACE Centre North on the suitability of funding such equipment.

When considering a communication device the team not only look at the language level but also a child’s vision, how they would physically access the aid and where appropriate, mounting to their wheelchair.

With any form of communication strategy or device we offer full support to children, parents and staff. Our aim is for our pupils to be as independent as possible

Assistive Technology

Many of our pupils require special access technology in order for them to access not only the computer but their environment.

Each child in school receives an assessment from our AAC Manager alongside our Occupational Therapist if necessary and a report for class staff as how to best support their physical needs.

This report features in the child’s annual collaborative meeting and includes

strategies and targets for progression.