At Stone Bay School, staff are passionate about supporting the communication skills and needs of individual students.
New staff joining the school attend training in PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), Makaton signing and Communication during their induction.
We are passionate about PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) throughout the education and residential provision at the school, having seen so many times what a positive impact PECS can have on individual students and their ability to make their needs/wants known using symbols. PECS is embedded into the 24 hour curriculum at the school, and the students who use PECS have lots of opportunities to practise asking for motivating items through their day. The school has robust systems in place to track the individual progress our students make with PECS. We welcome parents and carers to attend PECS workshops at the school.
There are students at the school who use 'Context Specific Communication Boards' to support their expressive language during learning activities, structured choice time and at mealtimes.
There are a number of students at the school who use Stage 2 Communication Books to support their expressive language. We are looking for those students to use their language for a wider range of functions beyond requesting e.g. commenting or describing.
There are also a number of students who are practising using VOCA (Voice Output Communication Aids), and the school has formed a close partnership with the local Communication and Assistive Technology service who recently delivered training to our teaching and residential leaders.
We are passionate too about using Makaton signing to support communication with the students at our school. We have a weekly Makaton Choir at the school, and we have had Makaton Champions in every class and residential team. We (staff, parents and carers and students) focus on three Signs of the Week.
Every class and each residential flat use visual timetables to support our students' understanding of the structure of the day. Now and Next visual aids are very important for individual students. All staff have a set of Transition Cards which they wear at all times and use these to support our students' understanding of what is happening next.
There are students at the school who benefit a lot from Social Stories to support their understanding of what is going to happen during medical appointments, for example.
We value and use Intensive Interaction techniques to develop relationships with individual students following an Intensive Interaction Good Practice Course delivered by the Intensive Interaction Institute at the school in 2018. We also highly value the role of TAC PAC, a sensory and communication intervention, at the school.
Lego Therapy groups are very popular with some of our students.
Every student who finishes the school at the end of 6th Form leaves with a Communication pack which has a Communication Passport, a Communication Profile and copies of their individual communication aids to support their transition into adult life.