Makaton is a type of sign language that is now used by over 100,000 children and adults. We use Makaton in school as an enhancement of communication to all students. Due to its increasing popularity we feel it is important for all students whether dependant on AAC or not, to have an awareness of Makaton and at least know some basic signs. This will enable them to venture out and speak to people in the community as well as their peers who are reliant on using sign language in school.
Makaton are very active on social media and promote a ‘sign of the week’. Why don’t you take a look and try giving the sign of the week a go at home?
PODD is a symbol-based language presented in a book format. The letters PODD stand for Pragmatic, Organisation, Dynamic Display and refer to how the symbols and language within the book are laid out. PODD books can include any symbol language but are usually formed by PCS symbols.
PODD books come in all shapes and sizes and when we identify that a student requires one, they are made, personalised and given to the student. This is an exciting process that we like parents/carers and wider families to get involved in. Have you seen a PODD book in action before? If not, try heading over to YouTube to see lots of people interacting using PODD books.
Another communication system accessed widely and regularly at Blackfriars is Grid player. This system is normally accessed via an iPad and depend on the user they access different symbol sets such as ‘Symbol talker’ and ‘Super core’. Students are often highly motivated to interact with grid player because it’s on their favourite things – the iPad! Students touch the symbols on screen and a voice (which they can choose form plenty of options) speaks the word out loud for them.
This is fantastic for those students who are unable to use their voice or to assist those with limited language. We have a close working relationship with Smartbox (who own grid player) and staff access regular training and assistance.
PECs is one of the most widely known methods of AAC. It stands for picture exchange communication and students are able to obtain their wants and wishes by exchanging a photograph, picture or symbols for the object of their choice. PECs has many levels and users start off by using to get one object at a time to potentially building up their knowledge to use symbols to create a whole sentence.
It was first designed and created back in the 1980’s more specifically for children and adults who had been diagnosed with autism. It is now well known across the world and students with various diagnoses access and have fantastic success!