Everyone is included in signing at our school, so that we are all able to:
- Understand basic life skill words such as: help, toilet, no, stop.
- Express simple wants, needs or instructions such as: food, drink, quiet.
- Join in with simple rhymes, songs and chants.
- Understand more complex ideas such as: choosing, sharing.
- Express more complex ideas such as colours, numbers, feelings.
- Ask and answer questions.
- Be a full part of all activities.
WHAT IS SIGNING?
It is a communication system, using the hands and facial expression.
It is always used with speech and focuses on signing the most important key words in the sentence.
Signing is a form of ‘augmentative communication’ like Picture Exchange Communication System(PECS) and Voice Activated Communication Aids (VOCAs).
We use the Signalong (firstname.lastname@example.org) system at Hall School. The Signalong Group is a national charity based in Kent. It has a huge library of signs, adapted from British Sign Language and has a thorough method of teaching signs by handshape, orientation, placement and movement. We have all the manuals of signs in school and run frequent training and revision of signing.
WHY DO WE SIGN?
Signing is a visual form of communication, using a different part of the brain from speech and listening. It can add to and strengthen a child’s understanding of the world.
- It builds on natural gestures.
- It can be recognized in any language
- It allows access to a wide range of people with difficulties and disabilities
- It works alongside speaking, supporting understanding.
- It may help children with communication difficulties to overcome a block in developing speech.
- It can relieve tension and frustration for people who cannot understand or use speech.
HOW SIGNING WORKS AT HALL SCHOOL
All Staff have training in Signalong, they start on the introductory workshop and most have completed the Foundation Course.
Each pupil has different needs for signing vocabulary but they all have access to our core vocabulary, which is taught through the Communication theme for each half term.
Individual signs can be taught and shared with families, there are short video clips on our website which you may find useful.
Families are welcome to request special signs for home, through the home school book.
Each week we revise a few signs or learn new ones. These are the ‘Signs of the Week’. They are practised in class and incorporated into the curriculum and routines of school.
Signing goes on throughout the day during lessons, on the playground and at lunchtime. Our songs for Assemblies and special concerts are signed by a leading signer. Some pupils are so good at signing they can be lead signers as well. For our Signing Leaflet, please click here.
TEACHING SIGNING TO PUPILS
This can be in whole class sessions; as the curriculum requires subject specific words eg for a Geography topic: river, water, mountain, sea.
Signing may also be taught in small groups that are working intensively, for example building confidence with core signs, or making hand shapes clearly, and ensuring understanding.
Occasionally 1:1 work can be helpful to get a pupil started on signing, this gives them the confidence to sign. 1:1 work is also used to assess whether signing is going to be suitable for their needs and to see whether they understand core signs.
SIGNALONG COURSES AT HALL SCHOOL
Signalong is organised by the Communication and Interaction team at Hall School. Tina Rawlinson and Emma Cane are our trained tutors in Signalong, they run all courses in and out of school.
Introductory workshop: three weeks of 1 1/2 hours.
Foundation Course: ten weeks of 1 1/2 hours.
For any enquires about Signalong please contact the Communication Team through the school:
Telephone: 01603 466 467