Communication in school

Alternative, Augmentative Communication

We use various forms of alternative and augmentative communication within our school.  These  support the adult’s spoken word. The type of communication used is determined by the need of each child or the needs of the class group.

We use:

Objects of reference OOR’s

Small objects are used to inform what is happening next, for example, a child will be shown/given  a square of towel to denote swimming, a soft ball to denote soft play,

TOBIS True object based icons

These are photographs of real items which are cut out and laminated to inform children of what is happening next, for example, a chair to denote it is time for circle time.

PECS Picture exchange communication system

This system uses picture symbols to enable non verbal children to communicate their needs and wants.  This system encourages verbal communication.   The child will have a book containing the picture symbols and the picture symbol choices are put on the front of the book by the adult. The child is then able to chose their preferred activity/food/drink.  Once the symbol is handed over, the adult gives the child what they have asked for. There are various stages of progress, for example, once the process is learnt the child is encouraged/expected to initiate communication, further on, where the symbols are put on a sentence strip and handed to an adult.  The adult then verbally reads the child’s request, encouraging the child to verbalise before giving the child their preferred choice.


Picture symbols or words are put in order to inform a child of what is happening.  This is mainly used for children with ASD

“My Voice” Communication books

These are currently being piloted with 4 children.  The book comprises of key vocabulary opposite specific vocabulary page. These can be added to. Children are using these if their speech is unclear.

Each class will have a larger my “My Voice” book for whole class use.


Rowan Gate uses British Sign Language for key words across the school and to support spoken word in classes where pupils expressive language is emerging. Our Communication Support Workers use BSL with individual children.


Rowan Gate uses a  variety of battery operated switches, for example Big Mack, 4 talk,  to enable non verbal children or children with profound learning needs to have a voice, make a choice and operate toys.


A specific programme is used to enable non verbal children or children with emerging speech to communicate their needs and wants.