Communication and Interaction Post-16


Universal Quality First Teaching : Needs

    • All students need to be able to understand and use language effectively to access the curriculum and communicate with others. Student’s linguistic competence supports their learning as well as their communication skills.
    • Students may have difficulty in understanding others and in expressing themselves. They may have difficulty with fluency of speech in forming sounds and words and in expressing their thoughts and ideas clearly.
    • Students may have difficulty with social interaction. They may have difficulties with attention and listening; social understanding and lack flexibility in thought and behaviour.
    • Difficulties with communication and interaction may mean that students need some short term support but it should not be assumed that they have special educational needs.
Universal Quality First Teaching : Strategies

All students will require access to the following Intervention and Support approaches:

    • Guidance to ensure that students are enrolled on the appropriate course suited to their needs and aspirations.
    • Curriculum differentiated appropriately to take account of individual needs.
    • Staff set personalised learning targets for all students.
    • An environment that takes account of their communication and interaction needs.
    • Curriculum access facilitated by modification of task presentation.
    • Transition between tasks and specific use of visual communication systems (e.g. visual timetable, visual agenda, Now and Then boards).
    • Flexible use of staffing and resources to support access to learning and teaching.
    • Positive self-esteem maintained through developing areas of strength.
    • Staff appropriately prepare students for routine changes (e.g. change in lessons, change in activity, change in teaching staff).
    • Leisure, sports and community activities which can provide opportunities to reinforce student’s strengths and for social communication in an informal setting.
    • Staff model appropriate social behaviour and interaction.
    • Appropriate use of visual prompts, to show what behaviour and actions are expected.
    • Additional adult support is used to support group work in learning situations.
    • Reduce anxiety through adapting and structuring the learning and social environment as appropriate.
    • Teaching strategies take into account difficulties with social understanding and the generalisation of skills.
    • Curriculum delivery modified to accommodate reluctance to accept adult direction.
    • Use of a structured approach for tasks and activities with a clear beginning middle and end.
    • Whole staff awareness of the implications of communication and interaction difficulties.
    • Appropriate differentiation of spoken and written language, activities and materials in class.

Communication and Interaction: Targeted - some students :Needs Some student’s communication and interaction difficulties cannot be met by universal approaches over a sustained period of time.

Their difficulties may interfere with their ability to access the curriculum. They may also impact on their emotional and mental health.

Students with these difficulties may have a medical diagnosis such as Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

These students will require a graduated approach which draws on increasingly detailed interventions and support approaches, and where appropriate specialist expertise, in successive cycles of assessment, planning, intervention and review; ensuring interventions match needs.

Targeted (Some Students) : Strategies

    • Adult support used to prepare specific resources including use of appropriate ICT programmes to support language and communication.
    • Some adult monitoring/support to promote social skills and interactions with peers.
    • Teaching of specific social interaction skills and social use of language (e.g. Social Use of Language Programme) with opportunities to generalise the skills used on a daily basis through individual and small group work.
    • Liaison to ensure reinforcement of strategies and the generalisation of skills to living situation.
    • Approaches (e.g. Circle of Friends, buddying systems) to develop peer support.
    • Verbal explanations require simplification with visual and/or experiential and/or concrete support.
    • Reduce anxiety through frequently adapting and structuring the learning and social environment as appropriate.
    • Adaptations are made to include use of key wording and pre-tutoring to introduce, teach and reinforce specific vocabulary and concepts, including specific subject vocabulary.
    • A structured language intervention which may be devised in consultation with external professionals (e.g. Advisory Teachers, Speech and Language Therapists) with support to generalise skills taught.
    • Clear, simple and positive instructions with visual support if necessary e.g. visual timetable.
    • Simplification and repetition of instructions, use of gesture and symbols required for effective teaching and learning.
    • Language is given priority in planning to facilitate effective curriculum access. Significant differentiation of spoken and written language, activities and materials in class including use of ICT and assistive technology.
    • Staff use augmentative and/or alternative means of communication, (e.g. use of symbols and visual prompts) approaches to build understanding of abstract and figurative language.
    • Small group work outside the learning environment to address specific language, social communication and listening skills targets as appropriate.
    • Student may require withdrawal from the classroom to a sanctuary at times of stress.
    • Teaching strategies which take into account specific difficulties with social understanding & generalisation of skills.
    • Some additional adult support may be provided at unstructured times (e.g. break-times).
    • Modifications to the teaching environment to take account of sensory sensitivities. Visual approaches to develop social understanding including comic strip conversations and social stories.
    • Adaptation of tasks to take account of preferred learning style e.g. planned strategies to ensure co-operation in less preferred areas of curriculum.
    • Some individual work to address specific targets, if appropriate.
    • Targeted small group work within learning environment to support specific aspects of the curriculum.

Interventions implemented should be well- founded evidence based interventions.

Communication and Interaction: Specialist – few students: Needs

A few students’ difficulties are severe and longstanding and have not responded to focussed and well-founded interventions over a period of time.

The severity of their difficulties may have a considerable impact on their ability to access the curriculum.

The range of difficulties these students are experiencing may be impacting on their emotional and mental health.

These students will require a graduated approach which draws on very detailed interventions and support approaches and specialist expertise in successive cycles of assessment, planning, intervention and review; ensuring interventions match needs. These students may require an EHC Plan.

Targeted (Few Students) : Strategies

In addition to the intervention and support approaches put in place at the targeted level these students may require a very highly modified learning environment to meet their individual needs.

A high level of adult support may be required to provide:

    • A highly structured and personalised teaching environment.
    • A high level of care and supervision.
    • A consistent approach to multi-sensory communication.
    • Individual programmes used to manage emotional and behavioural needs throughout the school day.
    • Staff trained and skilled in responding to very challenging behaviours.
    • A secure, structured and safe learning environment.

Download the PDF version of the Graduated Approach