Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders exhibit significant social communication and language difficulties. Appropriate communication and social skills are necessary in order to express needs, desires and feelings. Language and communication are the foundations for the development of relationships, participating in society and accessing the curriculum. It is therefore crucial to develop skills in these areas in order to improve pupils’ quality of life. For this reason, TreeHouse places greater emphasis upon receptive and expressive communication (speaking and listening) within English.
Learning English encompasses all the aspects of communication – non-verbal, verbal and written. Work in English promotes learning across the curriculum and underpins pupils’ achievements and participation in all aspects of their lives.
Speech and Language therapists work within the multi-disciplinary team to develop appropriate programmes to encourage and development communication.
Individual assessments of each pupil and conversations with their family inform decisions about which communication system to use with any individual pupils. For many, additional (augmentative) communication systems are used. These include PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), Makaton (a signing system) and the use of ‘Communication books’ which include words or pictures that a pupil can point to in order to comment on their environment or to make a request without (or alongside) speech.
Speech and language therapists work with all members of the support team, including qualified teachers to develop resources and programmes that promote communication throughout the day.