At Red Hill Special School, we believe communication underpins all areas of curriculum and daily life, and that all students have the capacity and the right to communicate. Students are engaged in genuine opportunities to learn to communicate through spoken language and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) e.g. communication books, manual signs, speech generating devices, etc.
The AAC systems and strategies that we use and model, support individual students with complex communication needs (CCN) to develop their language comprehension skills and their independent and autonomous expressive communication skills. These AAC systems include low-tech (e.g. Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) books, aided language displays) and high-tech (e.g. Proloquo2Go, Grid 3 for eye-gaze) options. We also support the use of a multi- modal approach to communication including the Key Word Sign approach (which uses Auslan signs).
We promote and provide a communication accessible environment for all students. This is a critical part of all learning and teaching within our school community. We believe every student has a voice and we aim to provide the appropriate support for their voice to be heard.
We respect and value all communication attempts. Communication enables us to have control and to understand that we influence and have an effect on our environment. This requires that staff see themselves as smart communication partners and that all learning areas across the curriculum and daily routines include and encourage communication. AAC is embedded into all aspects of the school day.
Our school aims to support each student with CCN and their family along the path towards having their own personal communication system i.e. their own voice, which they can use competently in all interactions
We recognise that behaviour has communicative intent and that the management of student behaviour is closely linked with the development of effective communication.
We support the process of communication by which an individual relates needs, experiences, ideas, knowledge, and feelings in a two-way exchange with a communication partner. It takes a wide variety of forms, from two people having a face-to-face conversation through to interactions where a communication partner supports and interprets the student’s communicative behaviour and intent.
We promote AAC within our school community through professional development, training and support. We provide resources to support the development of communication skills - curriculum, positive behaviour support, a range of evidence-based communication approaches, assessments, therapists, and technological resources.