Interventions and programmes which inform our teaching strategies are research, theory and evidenced based. We work in collaboration with other professionals, such as Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. The following programmes may be delivered:
Communication and Interaction
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. Gina’s primary objective is that the sessions are fun and “offer an irresistible invitation to learn”!
Stage 1: The Bucket to Focus Attention A bucket is filled with visually engaging objects and toys, aiming to gain the shared attention of the group. The adult leader shows each item to the group and uses simple repetitive vocabulary to comment on the various objects.
Stage 2: The Attention Builder Visually stimulating activities are shown to the group by the adult leader, aiming to sustain attention for a longer period. The activities are fun, visually engaging and can often involve delightful mess!
Stage 3: Turn taking & Re-engaging Attention The adult leader demonstrates a simple activity, often modelled with another adult in the group. Some children are then invited to have a turn but only if they are comfortable to do so. Not every child in the group will get a turn, which then teaches important emotional regulation skills, as well as the essential skills of waiting, turn-taking and learning through modelling.
Stage 4: Shifting & Re-engaging Attention The adult leader demonstrates a simple creative task, and then gives each child an individual kit to copy the task. The children take their kits to a table, complete the task independently, and then everyone returns to the group to show their completed tasks. More complex skills can be introduced as confidence and social skills develop e.g. sharing materials, working with a partner, problem solving. Attention Autism principles can then be generalised to curriculum activities (e.g. literacy and numeracy) to facilitate learning and skill development
Why do we use attention autism?
- To engage attention
- To improve joint attention
- To develop shared enjoyment in group activities
- To increase attention in adult-led activities
- To encourage spontaneous interaction in a natural group setting
- To increase non-verbal and verbal communication through commenting
- To build a wealth and depth of vocabulary
- To have fun!
Intensive interaction is a practical approach that can help children who are in the early stages of communication development or who have complex communication needs to relate, interact and share experiences with others on their terms. The approach can be used if someone is reluctant to, or disinterested in, interacting with other people. Techniques such as turn taking, mirroring, rhythm and repetition, and sharing personal space can be used to support communication exchange that is initiated and led by the child, and in turn promotes a positive interaction.
Why do we use intensive interaction?
To develop the fundamentals of communication based on the principals of parent-child interaction in the first years of life.
PECS was developed by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy at the Delaware Autistic Program. The Picture Exchange Communication System or PECS approach is a modified applied behaviour analysis (ABA) programme designed for early nonverbal symbolic communication training. It is not designed to teach speech, although the latter is encouraged indirectly and some children begin to spontaneously use speech. PECS training occurs during typical activities within the natural settings of the classroom and the home. Training techniques include strategies such as chaining, prompting/cuing, modelling, and environmental engineering. Professional training regarding PECS is required. There are 7 phases of PECS and PECS can be used across all ages to teach functional communication.
Why do we use PECS?
- To help individuals who have no, or limited functional communication skills in a systematic and evidenced based manner.
- To ensure pupils are given the opportunity to acquire basic communication skills and provide them with a voice, this in turn often sees a reduction in behavioural issues.
Colourful Semantics is based on independent research carried out in the UK by Alison Bryan. What is unique about this approach is that children learn to associate different ‘types’ of words with particular colours whereby:
▪ Level 1 – Who? “the man” (Subject – Orange)
▪ Level 2 – What doing? “is eating” (Verb – Yellow)
▪ Level 3 – What? “the sandwich” (Object – Green)
▪ Level 4 – Where? “in the kitchen” (Location – Blue)
Why do we use colourful semantics?
- To enable pupils to understand information and produce sentences.
- To follow discussions and to communicate their own ideas effectively
- To develop competent use of simple and increasingly complex sentence structure
- To develop a concept of narrative (e.g. what makes up a ‘story’)
- To produce grammatically correct sentences in speaking and writing (through modelling)