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Listen first

For many children with complex needs, expressing a view is a major issue.

Finding ways for such pupils to express their views is the key to empowering them.

Establishing communication is the first and most important step.

Steps to develop a communication system

Watch the following video to find out how an effective communication system was put in place for Becky.

  • Consider the steps that Becky has had to go through to find a voice.
  • What positive effects have the establishment of this system had on the quality of Becky's life - both socially and in terms of her education?
  • What does the school have to do to make sure that Becky can communicate effectively in school?

  • Poster

You may have identified the following steps that Becky took to find a voice:

  • Becky learnt how to use switches such as BIGMacks to deliver simple messages
  • She learnt to scan rows and columns with her eyes to highlight and items

And some of the ways Becky's quality of life improved include:

  • By having her communication device attached to her wheelchair, Becky can use her voice anywhere in the school.
  • She can tell people what she wants and needs (self-advocate)
  • She is now able to contribute in lessons.
How do your pupils communicate?
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Find out the different ways in which pupils in your school communicate.

How are they helped to make progress with their communication?

Are there any features of the school environment or of the support that children receive that, you feel, either help or hinder communication?

Are there any simple changes that you could make to improve pupils' ability to communicate?