Speech and
Language Therapy

All students at Northern Counties School have communication difficulties. There is an integrated approach between specialist teaching and therapy staff to ensure that all students access strategies to maximise their ability to communicate effectively.   Across all areas of education, therapy and care of our students, we adopt a total communication approach.

Total Communication Approach:

This approach provides opportunities for students by tailoring all methods of communication to the student’s individual preferences and needs. It allows students to use a combination of communication methods if this is effective for the student. For example, a student may use a combination of speech and sign to express their needs.

When preferred methods of communication are identified, all staff working with that student will provide support to ensure that these strategies are used with the student across the curriculum and in all environments. Preferred methods of communication should be accessed at any point in the school day as required and may need to travel with the student to various environments e.g. the lunch hall.

All staff will be aware of preferred communication methods and will be trained accordingly to ensure that the student is supported in all situations.

This approach ensures that:

  • All students have a bespoke communication programme and identified preferred methods of communication
  • Core vocabulary approaches are used with consistent use of symbols and sign. Personalised vocabulary sets are considered for each individual child- e.g. students are able to ask for motivating activities at choice time
  • A total communication learning environment is provided in which positive role models of communication are demonstrated.

Approaches offered include:

  • Intensive interaction
  • British Sign Language
  • SCERTS ( Social Communication , Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports)
  • Sensory Stories
  • Tassels (Tactile Signing for Sensory Learners)
  • Speech sound and language therapy (such as colourful semantics, shape coding, cued articulation)
  • Auditory rehabilitation and listening therapy
  • smiLE (strategies and measurable interaction in Live English)
  • Eye Gaze
  • A range of AAC approaches such as switches, Voice Output Communication Aids, objects of reference, photographs, symbols and sign.
  • With direct input from our dysphagia trained speech and language  therapists regarding textures and consistencies, individual plans, feeding and tasting protocols are devised and monitored regularly.  All staff are trained to assist children effectively and ensure they enjoy their meal times safely. Staff are also trained to support children with alternative feeding methods such as gastrostomy.