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Ivy House School

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Inspire, Nurture, Empower

Communication/Communication and Literacy 

We provide the foundations for equipping pupils with receptive and expressive communication , developing communication methods which are central to every interaction throughout the day in a Total Communication Environment. Communication for our learners is most successful with familiar, responsive partners who care about the person they are communicating with (Goldbart & Caton, 2010).  It is suggested there are four essential minimum conditions required in order for communication to take place; a means of communicating, a motivation to communicate, someone to communicate with and time to communicate. We provide the conditions to maximise opportunities for spontaneous communication. In order to develop effective communicators at Ivy House School, we encourage the development of basic communication skills such as:

  • Emotional engagement
  • Attention skills – person and time
  • Turn taking – reciprocity
  • Using and understanding non-verbal communication – eyes, face, body language
  • Being close enough to a communicative partner – proximity
  • Receiving and giving touch
  • Responsiveness to vocalisations


Intentionality is likely to be crucial for developing intentional communication as, until you realise you can affect the environment intentionality, you are not going to realise you can specifically affect the behaviour of people in the environment (intentional communication (Goldbart, 1994)). The pragmatics of communication can be broken down into four broad areas:

Expression – ability to request, ability to reject, ability to gain attention, intent, other means of initiation

Comprehension -response to [name], response to verbal commands in context, response to gesture and Makaton signs.

Social interaction – ability to joint reference with significant other, turn taken after a model and/or prompt, number of times significant other needed to prompt.

Behaviour – ability to express pleasure, ability to express distress.



  • To develop competence in speaking (or expression) and listening (or comprehension)
  • To be aware of the purpose to communicate
  • To communicate functionally or express self through preferred modes confidently and competently appropriate to individual needs and abilities
  • To interact and communicate for social reasons and personal self esteem
  • To communicate needs, ideas and emotions
  • To listen and attend
  • To comprehend or understand others
  • To develop early visual skills
  • To develop functional hand skills leading to early mark making, name writing or labelling.
  • To develop and increase an appropriate vocabulary for individual students
  • To read with understanding
  • To develop reading for purpose and pleasure
  • To develop writing skills for purpose
  • To utilise communication skills across all subjects and sessions


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