Saturday, 30 April 2011

Is your child's environment communication friendly?

The Hello campaign aims to increase our awareness and understanding of communication and how to best develop it. A child's environment can be crucial. See for further information. The following is their guidance on what to consider to optimise the environment.

Elements to consider:
  • Space, light and layout
Is there good light, with a comfortable temperature and not too many visual distractions
  • Noise levels
Are noise levels conducive to learning – what can be done to minimise necessary noise?
  • Use of visual support, this may include
  1. A colour coded map of school or setting , colour-coded directions, photographs of staff members,photographs/ symbols used to support routines, e.g. washing hands, getting ready for PE
  2. Visual timetables used for daily / weekly activities
  3. Objects, pictures and symbols used to teach vocabulary, to make stories more active and support engagement in other lessons
  4. Displays are used throughout school or setting to support learning
  • Adults who can prioritise communication, this may include adults who
  1. Have knowledge of language development.
  2. Understand the language levels of the children and the language demands in the environment.
  3. Can adapt their language so it is not a barrier to learning or communication.
  4. Give children strategies to say when they don’t understand
  • Routines
  1. Are children aware of rules and expectations?
  2.  Do they know daily routines; could these be supported visually?
  3. Are children given opportunities within lessons to say when they don’t understand?
  4. Are they explicitly taught how to listen, how to work together in groups? 
  5. Are there opportunities for children to interact and use language in different situations, with different people at an appropriate level?
Small Talk Speech & Language Therapy are able to offer audits of the environment, for more information please contact

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