At West Gate we believe that communication underpins all learning. We aim to create a Total Communication environment which will be appropriate to the needs of individual learners and will be consistently supported by the staff, to enable our pupils to develop a meaningful and effective form of communication.
Within West Gate School every area of the curriculum subject policy is underpinned by a total communication ethos in order to enable each young person to access the tools of communication that are most relevant. These may include any combination of the following; using speech, vocalisations, objects of reference, photographs, symbols, sign or gesture and access to technology according to their individual needs or circumstances.
Learners are encouraged to use all available and appropriate forms of communication to enable them to become independent and effective communicators. We want pupils to be able to express their needs, desires, commenting, refusing, questioning, sharing information, opinions, feelings developing imaginative play, telling jokes and indicating preferences. We want pupils to feel confident about interacting with others.
Some learners will require an augmentative and assistive communication system (AAC) to support their natural speech, for others an augmentative communication system will be their main mode of communication. Some learners may have a lifelong need for AAC, others may need AAC as an interim strategy whilst they develop their language and communication skills.
Speech – matching level of complexity to needs of students and supporting with …
- Objects of Reference & Natural Cues -
- Signing -
- Symbols -
- Photographs -
- AAC -
- Communication Passports -
- One Page Profile -
- Written Word
The employment of music is also a strong theme within the teacher’s approach to multi-sensory learning and we work closely with music therapists to develop both individual programmes for students and whole class experiences. We use opportunities all day every day, in every lesson, in every curriculum area, at break times and at lunch times, across the school, to support the development of our pupils’ communication skills.