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Communication & Interaction (SEN Early Years Resources)

This webpage has been created to give Early Years Practitioners and Parents/Carers easy access to relevant information and resources to support young children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

It is part of a series of SEN Early Years Resources

For older children at school you may find it useful to visit our SEND Support resources for pupils/students with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) webpage

You may also find the Torbay Council, Early Years Foudation Stage, Speech, language and communication webpage useful.

Speech, Language & Communication development in the Early Years

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust website has a range of freely downloadable resources that will help adults to support young children’s communication and interaction

New course from the Communication Trust

The Communication Trust are excited to share the new and improved free CPD online short course – An introduction to speech, language and communication! We have re-developed this course so it is now tailored for the needs of practitioners working across all the different education phases. Users have the option to access four different pathways – early years, primary, secondary or further education.

Each course has a number of activities and resources to support learning. The course aims to boost practitioners’ knowledge and skills in:

  • Understanding the importance of speech, language and communication as central life skills
  • Understanding typical speech, language and communication• Strategies to support children’s speech, language and communication development
  • Identifying and supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)

The course is suitable for anyone working with children and young people across all different backgrounds and is completely free. To access the CPD online short course please click here.

Please see The Building Blocks of language in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage. There are also downloads of the Building blocks of reading and Building blocks of writing.

Using Visual Communication

Visual Communication Systems

Any visual communication system using objects, pictures, photos or symbol pictures can be used to break down steps of an activity or routine throughout the day and offer choices for a child.  It is like using a diary or making a list using pictures with words to aid understanding for the child and reduce anxiety about what is happening next and to offer choices and control for the child.

Parents/carers can also use a mobile phone to create a timeline or create visual choices by taking photos of each step.  Widgit symbols and charts are available through signing up to WidgitOnline.  It is important to decide which type of symbols to use when creating visual communication systems and by using the Symbol Ladder it will help give you an idea of how symbols develop from concrete referencing to a more abstract representation of an idea.

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust website has a range of freely downloadable resources that will help adults to support young children’s communication and interaction

Makaton

Makaton is a language programme aimed at supporting understanding and speaking skills. Please see the What is Makaton booklet in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage.

There are a range of free downloadable resources on the Makaton Charity website. Click on these titles to go directly to these examples

Torbay Council has a licenced Regional Makaton Tutor offering courses to the early years sector and families of children needing to use Makaton.

For information please contact the Early Years Advisory Teacher for Inclusion 01803 208261

About Makaton gives a quick overview of the benefits of Makaton and links directly to the Makaton Charity blog page that share personal success stories from Makaton users.

Make sure you look at the Makaton sign of the week in order to develop your signing skills

Singing Hands – for useful examples of Makaton signing in song have a look at a range of Singing Hands YouTube videos to share with children and practitioners, such as this example

To keep up to date with all the new initiatives that are happening with Makaton subscribe to Makaton Monthly

Torbay Council SEN services support young children’s communication skills through using Widgit as well as other picture and object visual supports. Please see 'Some pictures to use everyday' example of some Widgit pictures to use everyday with your child to support your words in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage. For more information and support go to the Total Communication Now website

Widgit

Widgit Online create, save and share symbol resources and offer a free 21 day trial to support learning and communication by creating symbol documents, flashcards, activities and timetables in your web browser.

Autism Education Trust (AET) - A Guide for Teachers

Social Stories

The National Autistic Society has produced a good article to explain how to use social stories. Please see both the Social Stories document and Social Story example in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

PECS is specifically designed for children with ASD and/or significant communication difficulties.  The aim is for the child to communicate requests and intent through picture cards.  The child may have little or no spoken language.

The intervention is a specific, manualised intervention covering 6 phases.

Children are taught the approach with the aim of them giving a picture of a desired item to a communicative partner in exchange for that item as a mode of expressive communication or ‘speaking’. The child then goes on to use PECS as a way of commenting.

Visual Support for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Do2learn

Do2learn provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioural regulation activities and guidance, learning songs and games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment and life skills. In addition, we offer premier products including View2do, JobTIPS, FACELAND, books, and apps for purchase.

Supporting Speech, Language & Communication Skills

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust website has a range of freely downloadable resources that will help adults to support young children’s communication and interaction

ICAN

ICAN have produced this video Top Tips for Early Years Practitioners. It reminds us of the useful strategies we can put in place to support young children’s communication and interaction.

Attention Levels and Strategies

ICAN has produced this useful video clip to remind us what is necessary to promote good listening and attention skills.

Early Support Information

Although the DfE Early Support Programme is no longer currently running, all the materials remain relevant and up to date, apart from a few of the links, and are now available through The Council for Disabled Children website:

Early Support Information on SLCN

Early Support Information on ASD

Torbay Children's Centres

Action for Children in Torbay are supporting families and their young children with communication and interaction delays through the Let’s Talk and Play Sessions. Please see the leaflet on 'Let's Talk and Play' in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Torbay and South Devon NHS speech and language therapy services

The Torbay and South Devon NHS speech and language therapy services can be contacted through the following website