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Ivy House School

Working together to;
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.

Our Whole School Intent

We inspire our learners to utilise their communication by maximising every opportunity for them to have meaningful and purposeful interactions. We have exciting and vibrant lessons which engage our learners and motivate them to communicate with the world around them. We immerse our students in a rich, age-appropriate literature environment to develop their knowledge of key vocabulary and contexts. 

We nurture all types of communication through listening and interpreting all methods of communication. We “listen” to different movements, vocalisations and gestures. Our staff are attentive to pupils’ communication and always respond appropriately. We aim for our pupils to have a powerful voice in and out of school. Every student is able to express themselves through a range of communication techniques which are appropriate to them and their needs including all Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies.  

We empower our students to use their voice to communicate wants, needs, thoughts and feelings to express themselves through preferred modes confidently and competently appropriate to individual needs and abilities. We provide opportunities for our students to interact with one another, with different staff members and with the community to build their self-esteem.  

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