AAC Approaches at Blackfriars

The term 'AAC', an abbreviation of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, refers to any intervention which enhances a pupil's ability to express his or her needs and desires. As such it can encompass no tech strategies such as the use of Makaton signing, low tech approaches such as the use of symbols and simple switches and high tech equipment which has a voice output.

Children who's verbal communication has not progressed sufficiently that they can convey their thoughts in a timely and effective manner require consideration for an AAC intervention. Such difficulties can come about for a wide variety of reasons including physical challenges impacting on the clear production of speech, learning difficulties resulting in language not being acquired in the typical fashion or a sensory loss such as hearing impairment. Blackfriars has a number of children with these challenges and sometimes where several factors coexist in the same child.

At Blackfriars we have a holistic approach to communication and provide a language and symbol rich environment where pupils can use a variety of approaches to develop their communication skills and have a powerful ‘voice’ in and out of school.

Approaches to communication include:

  • Facial gestures
  • Vocalisations
  • Eye pointing – etran – eye gaze technology
  • Fist pointing
  • Objects of reference
  • Symbols and photos
  • PECs – Picture Exchange Communication System
  • Communication books
  • Personal Passports
  • PODD
  • Manual Auditory Scanning
  • Makaton and BSL
  • Electronic communication aids and use of iPads
  • Grid 3

We are always excited when a student attends our school with a new communication system for us to explore with them. We really are committed to a total communication approach. No type of communication is used in isolation and staff receive regular training and updates to ensure can support our students to actively use their communication device both in school and in the wider world.