Review April 2011
Shown to staff at staff meeting July 2008
Shown to full governors meeting.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Policy
This policy has been developed at the request of the Senior Management team to
support the use of Makaton signing, and use of symbols to facilitate meeting the needs
of an increasingly complex school population
Communication-‘the transmission and reception of meaning between one individual
and another, or between an individual and a group’.
Meaning includes social and emotional content as well as what is the proposed
message. The mode (speech, writing, non-verbal signals, symbols, signs, electronic
code) does not change the central essence of communication.
Augmentative and Alternative communication (AAC) refers to methods of
communication which supplement or replace speech and handwriting. In terms of the
Dame Ellen Pinsent population, systems are predominantly used augmentatively
rather than as an alternative.
Proposed mission statement
“To ensure all children have access to systems which support, develop, and
extend their communication and learning to their full potential”.
Aims of the Policy
1. To enable every child to communicate at a level appropriate to their development.
2. To create an environment where attempts at appropriate communication are
valued and reinforced.
3. To create an environment where all methods of communication are given equal
1. Children are given the opportunity to learn and use their communication systems in
as many everyday situations as possible.
Assessment of the child’s developmental level- this will incorporate data from
school staff, speech and language therapists, parents and other agencies in order to
build up a holistic picture of the child.
Identifying, and if necessary, creating opportunities for the child to communicate
with in their everyday environments (home and school).
Identifying the communication system/s to be used in consultation with parents,
school staff, speech and language therapist, and the child if able to.
Training the child, parents, and school staff in the use and development of the
Ensuring that a child is supported by members of staff able or willing to be trained
in their system as they move through school.
2. To ensure the quality and, maintenance of the systems in use.
Raising awareness of the communication systems in use or available in school, the
skills needed by the child, and the listener for effective communication to take
At least half-termly meetings of the policy steering group(?Augmentative
Communication Strategy Group) to monitor the implementation of the policy and
Maintaining and updating the quality, accuracy, and fluency of signing on a
Coordinating the quality and use of signs and symbols
Thinking about the purpose and meaning of the concept behind the sign and
symbols being used, i.e. going through the processes of translation and
interpretation as underlined by Makaton in the Enhancement workshop. (This can
also be applied to all symbol systems.)
3. To ensure the availability of the child’s communication system to them at all
Ensuring the child has a means of asking for their communication book/ PECS
book/ High-tech aid.
Supporting the child in taking their system around school, and encourage
independence in this.
Ensuring that the systems are used across all curriculum areas.
Encouraging the child to use new vocabulary as they are taught.
4. To ensure that the environment of the school reflects the systems in use.
Recognising that it may take longer for a child who uses an augmentative system
to respond in a lesson, or to make a request, and allow time for this.
Use of appropriate symbol information on visual displays, learning materials.
Displaying photographic evidence of system use.
Rewarding children for achievement in using their systems (certificates,
stickers, include in ‘Star of the week’)
5. Accurate records of children’s progress in using their systems will be kept.
Open availability of all targets set, and reports written by speech and language
therapy- copies to be given to SENCO.
Speech and Language Therapy to provide information for Annual Review as
The need for a system to be recorded in a child’s statement as appropriate.
Recording in B2 as appropriate.
Formal and informal assessment in school.
6. To ensure equal opportunities are taken into account.
Aiming for all methods of communication to be of equal status.
Taking into account the differing cultural backgrounds, and gender of children
when planning communication systems.
7. To ensure parents/carers are involved in planning vocabulary for a child’s system.
Setting joint targets at annual review.
Ensuring parents have access to training in the system that is agreed for their
Collaboration with Speech and Language Therapy and school staff in agreeing the
use of a system.
8. To take account of changes in the population of the school and the developing
needs of the children.
Monitoring the effectiveness of systems used.
Review of the policy annually.
Systems in use
Hand drawn Makaton symbols if appropriate.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Pointing books- Communicate in Print/Writing with Symbols 2000/photos.
High-tech aids if appropriate.
Signs used shall be from the Makaton Vocabulary 1996 revised version. The Core
vocabulary will be used, supplemented by signs from the National Curriculum
Resource Vocabulary, and other Makaton resource Vocabularies as they become
available in school, or are published.
Communication Link BSL signs (3rd edition) shall only be used if there is no
access to the Makaton Vocabulary signs in school. The Makaton Charity can also
be contacted, should the need for a ‘new’ sign arise.
Makaton sign production techniques such as placement, movement, and
directionality shall be used, and key word signing shall be adhered to.
AAC Policy Strategy Group May 2008.
Communication Quality 3 Royal College Speech and Language Therapists.
AAC Policy, Wilson Stuart School.