How to enhance my learning environment to support the speech, language and communication of children and young people with more specialist needs

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The resources here will help you reach the outcome: "I know how to enhance my learning environment to support the speech, language and communication of young children with more specialist needs."

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Balanced System for Schools and Settings

The Balanced System Scheme for Schools and Settings is a whole system approach to improving outcomes for children across the range of speech, language and communication needs for any setting that supports children. The framework enables a setting to understand existing need and provision for speech, language and communication and develop provision to address the gaps. The framework supports a setting to demonstrate impact of the support for speech, language and communication.

Cost: £

Balanced System for Schools and Settings
Family SupportEnvironmentWorkforceIdentificationIntervention
Family SupportEnvironmentWorkforceIdentificationIntervention

Afasic Is your school a communication-friendly school?

This 28-page booklet for mainstream school staff is full of information which is specifically targeted at those children who have speech and language difficulties although many of the ideas will also benefit the whole school community.

EnvironmentWorkforce
EnvironmentWorkforce

Communication Supporting Classrooms Observation Tool

Developed as part of the Better Communication Research Programme (2012) following a review of provision for children with speech, language and communication needs, the audit tool is to be used when observing the quality of a learning space from Early Years through the first half of primary school. By auditing the environment, language learning opportunities and language learning interactions, practitioners will be more informed about what they are doing well and what else they could do to support communication.

Cost: Free

Communication Supporting Classrooms Observation Tool
EnvironmentWorkforceIntervention
EnvironmentWorkforceIntervention

AAC information

A range of information to support use of argumentative and alternative communication approaches.  This include the “Focus On…” series of eight leaflets cover topics related to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). They are available in print copy and as downloadable PDF files.

AAC information
EnvironmentWorkforceIntervention
EnvironmentWorkforceIntervention

Makaton sign and symbol resources

These free Makaton resources are available for you to access and use to support communication with young children.  These symbols and signs, which can also be shared with families, help you to provide extra information and clues about what you are saying as well as support the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening and understanding. 

Cost: Free

Makaton sign and symbol resources
Family SupportEnvironment
Family SupportEnvironment

Signs and Symbols

Widgit provides symbols that can be used to support communication making information, documents and resources to be more accessible and inclusive.  The symbols can be used for a variety of purposes such as creating communication books to share information; visual timetables to support understanding of structure and routine; task boards to support independent learning; pictures to develop vocabulary and to support children learning English as an additional language.

This website has information to support your understanding of how to use symbols including training resources, events and links to a network of organisations around the UK who offer advice and support.

There is also information for parents and carers to help them understand how they can use symbols to support their child. 

Cost: £

Signs and Symbols
Family SupportEnvironmentWorkforce
Family SupportEnvironmentWorkforce
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