At Greenfields Specialist School for Communication, we think in terms of total communication, where our pupils are encouraged to use whatever form of communication is appropriate for them as individuals. We work hard to ensure all of our pupils have an effective communication system in place. We will work to find out what motivates each pupil because if we can constantly tap into motivation and consistently provide someone to communicate to, all pupils will have many more opportunities to practice and perfect their communication using the means that is best suited to them. We will give our pupils time to respond and we will listen to them. We are committed to working with parents and carers, siblings, family members and other professionals, as we recognise that this is vital in ensuring the success of our pupils.
Communication taught through the RIDE curriculum will foster the desire to communicate. Our pupils are taught to better express their needs and wants. This may reduce challenging behaviour and social isolation and assist in the development of social closeness. Being taught to exchange information will resulting in increased independence in many activities of daily living and increasing their ability to make choices and decisions.
We have established that our pupils need three things to communicate. Firstly, they need the means to communicate. All of our pupils are assessed in order to provide them with the most effective communication system possible in any given situation. We will consult with Speech and Language Therapists to support us to understand the pupils’ communicative needs and the best means of communication to be used with them. At a pre-formal level, this may be accomplished through gestures, eye movement, vocalisations, and sensory cues, objects of reference, signs symbols or words.
At a semi-formal and formal level, this may include vocalisation, gesture, eye movements, signs, symbols, and high tech communication devices. Secondly, they need to be motivated to communicate. We will endeavour to ascertain what interests, motivates, excites and engages our pupils in order for them to want to communicate and we will incorporate these things into our lessons. We will not do things for our pupils that they can do for themselves and we will encourage them to become more pro-active. Our pupils will learn communication by communicating and we aim to give them as many communication opportunities as possible encouraging our pupils to communicate with both staff and their peers. Our semi-formal curriculum focuses on ten areas of communicative, learning these are: Imperative communications, following instructions, declarative communication, dynamic communications, narratives, formal social interactions with familiar and unfamiliar people, personalised reading and writing, non-verbal, behavioural communications, peer to peer communications and augmentative and alternative communications. These areas are not developmental or linear.