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Total Communication Approach

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Teacher and Pupil

The Total Communication Approach is a comprehensive and adaptable strategy for children who require support with their speech, language, and communication, regardless of their specific challenges. It acknowledges the uniqueness of each child's communication needs and advocates for the use of multiple communication modes to support their complete participation in educational and social settings.

What is it?

The Total Communication Approach is a versatile philosophy and methodology used in education and communication to support any child in need of assistance with speech, language, and communication, not just limited to those with hearing impairments. This approach underscores the importance of employing multiple modes of communication to enhance effective interaction and language development for a wide range of learners. Here are the key components when applied to children in general:

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Diverse Communication Modes

The Total Communication Approach promotes the use of various communication methods, such as sign language, speech, written language, gestures, facial expressions, and any other means that help children express themselves and comprehend information. By offering a diverse range of communication tools, it facilitates effective communication for children with varying needs and preferences.

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Customised Approach

Recognising that every child is unique, the approach tailors communication strategies to each child's individual requirements and choices. It acknowledges that what works best for one child may differ from what is suitable for another.

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More Than Words

In a classroom that follows the Total Communication Approach, a variety of resources and tools are utilised to support effective communication and language development for students. These resources are carefully selected to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of the students, regardless of their communication challenges. Here are some common resources used in such classrooms:

  • Makaton

  • Objects of reference

  • Picture communication

  • Adaptive books

  • 'Talking' flashcards

  • AAC devices

  • Talk as you do

  • Parallel talk and parallel play

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Ongoing Assessment

Continuous assessment and evaluation are fundamental in the Total Communication Approach for all children. This ensures that communication strategies are adapted to meet each child's evolving needs and preferences over time.

We have developed a library of resources to support this process, each child has their own inclusion profile and the monitoring and assessment tools are chosen specifically to meet each child's needs. 

They are shared to the whole team using SharePoint, and all staff are responsible for keeping them up to date.

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Family Engagement

Families of children who require support with speech, language, and communication play a pivotal role in the Total Communication Approach. We need to ensure that they too receive education and support to facilitate effective communication with their children and actively participate in their language development.

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Early Intervention

The Total Communication Approach often commences at a young age, with a strong focus on early intervention for children who require support with speech, language, and communication. Early exposure to various communication methods helps build a solid foundation for language development and social interaction.

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More Than Words

In a classroom that follows the Total Communication Approach, a variety of resources and tools are utilised to support effective communication and language development for students. These resources are carefully selected to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of the students, regardless of their communication challenges. Here are some common resources used in such classrooms:

  • Makaton

  • Objects of reference

  • Picture communication

  • Adaptive books

  • 'Talking' flashcards

  • AAC devices

  • Talk as you do

  • Parallel talk and parallel play

more than words 3.png

Ongoing Assessment

Continuous assessment and evaluation are fundamental in the Total Communication Approach for all children. This ensures that communication strategies are adapted to meet each child's evolving needs and preferences over time.

We have developed a library of resources to support this process, each child has their own inclusion profile and the monitoring and assessment tools are chosen specifically to meet each child's needs. 

They are shared to the whole team using SharePoint, and all staff are responsible for keeping them up to date.

Sharing Our Resources

Whole Team Strategies

Make Communication Exciting

Hearing & Listening are Different

Listening for Reading

Lanyard Cards

(Widgit)

Speech & Language Appointments

Differentiated Speech

Learning Sounds

ECAT

Activities

Story Boxes

Scavenger Hunt

Supermarket Scavenger Hunt

TCA Presentation

Our Padlets

The resources that we use are detailed on our SEND Padlet, which is publicly available, because we don't believe in keeping good ideas to ourselves! Just click on the name of the Padlet that you want to explore.

We have six Padlets in total and they all link together too!

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Video Creators We Recommend

Websites We Use Regularly

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Canva

Canva is a fantastic website for making bespoke resources to meet the needs of your children, families and staff team. You can create everything from newsletters, to scavenger hunts to posters.

Free if you get verified!
Eligibility Guidelines | Canva for Education

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Twinkl Symbols for AAC App

Create, teach, learn & communicate using a fantastic set of teacher-led symbols and board & book templates from the world’s largest educational publisher, Twinkl.

Version 2 is currently available for free and can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App store.

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Printed.com

Printed.com is the website we use to create our outdoor signage, posters and banners. If you get verified by them you can get 15% off all orders.

Personalised Education Printing Services | Printed.com

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Widgit

The picture symbols we use primarily are from Widgit. You can try them out for free by accessing their refugee support pack. 

Helping Refugees Communicate | Widgit

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Padlet

Padlets are a great way to share lots of information quickly and simply. We use them to share information with parents, staff and our wider community. Think of them as a wall of information.

 

You can have three free Padlets per user.

https://padlet.com/

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SayHi Translate App 

SayHi Translate lets you have a conversation in two languages and easily understand each other.

Great for supporting children and families who have English as an additional language.

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