So starting with communication, which is obviously a key aspect of inclusion of anyone but it's essential that we get it right.
A few things to consider relating to Communication, Additional Needs and SEN
- Attempt to simplify and reduce language, particularly ensuring you reduce jargon and cliches
- Speak clearly
- Speak at a steady pace that isn't too fast and ensure some pauses between important points (not long silences, just a pause)
- Supplement spoken language with changes to pitch and tone appropriate to what is being said with appropriate (maybe exaggerated) facial expressions
- Supplement spoken language with visuals e.g. gestures, props, pictures, signs and symbols (some ideas for this below)
- Idioms can be difficult for some people with additional needs, such as autism to understand. (Also consider the use of metaphors with some individuals, who may need more concrete examples I remember talking to a very verbal teen with additional needs after a talk using the metaphor that we should be like a stick of rock have Jesus' name running through us, she said she thought the talk was great I asked what they liked the reply "Christian's should be crispy like a stick of rock")
- Offer appropriate/ adapted opportunities for the individual to communicate alongside peers (you will need to consider the individual needs)
- Ensure you communicate with the individual, their parents or carers about their needs and adapt accordingly
- Make inclusive practices a part of your "usual" practices, consider how the TV show Something Special has made Makaton mainstream.
Makaton Signs and Symbols
"Makaton uses signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate. Signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign." (Makaton website)
- Makaton Signs and Symbols (originally from the Makaton website) check out the Makaton website for free resources at regular intervals.
- We wish you a merry Christmas Makaton You Tube video from Singing hands.
- Widgit Nativity symbols and story pack
- Symbol World online Nativity story
- Christmas Communication Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) secular and Christian
- Christmas Communication board for craft activities (PCS)
British Sign Language
The sign system by some members of the deaf community in Britain.
- Silent Night British Sign Language (and other songs) recorded for youtube
- Silent night British Sign Language, printable song. It costs £1.99 to download
- BSL We Wish you a Merry Christmas Printable
Check out one of my previous Inclusive Christmas Post