Pupil with Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties

Pupils at Percy Hedley School present with a range of significant and severe speech, language and communication difficulties.

To meet these communication needs we have an integrated approach to teaching and therapy. Speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and teachers work together with skilled support staff, using a range of recognised strategies, to address pupils’ highly specific and individual needs. Additional staff, such as Teachers of the Hearing or Visually Impaired are part of the wider school team and are involved as needed.


Therapists may work with pupils individually, in pairs or small groups or lead whole class sessions supported by teaching staff. Therapy objectives and targets are seen as an integral part of curriculum delivery and are embedded within the daily programme for each pupil. This joint responsibility and collaborative way of working allows for each pupil to receive an individualised approach to their learning which can be immediately responsive to their changing needs.

Approaches include:

  • Structured work on understanding and using language including vocabulary development.
  • Use of other means of communication if needed such as signs, symbols and communication aids.
  • Structured and visual programmes to build the skills underpinning reading and spelling.
  • Social Stories and social communication strategies to develop friendship and relationship skills.
  • Sensory Integration programmes.
  • Fine motor skill programmes to develop independence skills.
  • Work in the community to promote independence and personal safety.
  • ‘Growing-up’ groups to support pupils through puberty.
  • Specific activities to develop physical skills such as balance, co-ordination, strength and stamina in order to support curriculum access and promote independence.
  • Group Pilates work to develop physical skills and strategies for relaxation and well-being.


High levels of visual structure are used to support the pupils’ learning such as timelines and class rules, jobs lists etc. The learning environment is calm, ordered and uncluttered to promote concentration and there are clear reward systems in place. This ensures that all pupils understand what is expected of them and can work within a class group where they can be challenged in their learning yet still feel secure and supported.