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Academic progress vs communication needs

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by jumpingstar, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    A child in my setting has complex communication needs. (non verbal, autism)
    We use B Squared to assess small steps.
    SLT are concerned they not making any progress.
    I realise that they "stuck" at a.level they can't access now as they haven't developed the means of communication.
    They are on Stage 4 of PECS but only use it to request food items.

    My question is - I feel under pressure to flog away and numeracy and literacy targets to no avail and myself and my class staff feel we are failing the child. We are out of ideas. We are expected to do Literacy and Numeracy but can't achieve anything at the moment!!! My personal opinion is we should be building their PECS beyond food items (but this doesn't fit any of their B Squared targets) and forget B Squared for now but I know that doesn't stand up "data wise" ARGHHH

    Any thoughts, ideas, help?
  2. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I have the same problem but at least I have SLT in my school who understand and who accept small steps as well. We use MAPP to do this so that even though the target might be the same for a whole year, there is progress throughout the year.
    We just had our internal assessment moderation and everybody agreed that assessing as per the P Scales is quite silly but as long as this is a statutory requirement, there is not much you can do about it...

    I work mostly on functional skills with my students so yes, I would be extending their PECS skills, even though this does not literally fit in with the P Scales. Just like in numeracy I have a big focus on things like completing puzzles (problem solving skills) and really am not bothered with rote counting although the rote counting is there in the P Scales but puzzles are not.

    Thankfully I work in a school where SLT is supportive.

    What level is your student on? If it is like any of mine we could perhaps share ideas and strategies?
  3. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    That's the annoying thing. Yes I think perhaps I need to try and be more confident about thinking outside the box (although I do try sometimes it is hard to link it to a p scale assessment.

    The child is P4/5 for everything. Would be great to share ideas and strategies if they are the same @sofia_sen
  4. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    Hi @jumpingstar,

    I have a student who is P4/5 in my class. She is year 5 and ASD/SLD. She is also non-verbal. She is able to follow short verbal instructions although we support everything with Makaton and visuals.

    For numeracy she is working on completing puzzles. I have simple puzzles of 4-6 pieces that she needs to put together. She needs support with this so definitely a 'working towards'. Before this, we worked on inset puzzles which she did really well. We also have an exercise where she is given a picture of a construction of 4 Duplo blocks. She is then given those 4 Duplo blocks and has to copy the picture. Again, she needs support with this although she is getting a lot better. This will ultimately (hopefully) lead to being able to follow visual instructions which is an important life skill.
    We also worked on big and small and she is now confidently able to match big to big and small to small. I created different folder tasks for her and she is now able to complete them independently and with speed & accuracy.
    For the numbers strand we have worked on '1 and many' with a folder task but this did not work. I think it is too abstract for her.

    For literacy we are working on eye contact and responding to greetings, eg: touching my hand if I wave hello to her. There is also quite a lot of intensive interaction with her. She is great with PECS and is able to use 'I want' for different curriculum areas although the best results are with snack since she is highly motivated by it.
    For her individual tasks (I try to have a TEACCH environment but don't always succeed) she is matching (not) identical pictures and pictures to symbols. This task has been the same since the beginning of the year and will probably be the same until the end since she still finds it challenging to generalise this.
    We do story as well in small groups. I write the story myself and the tasks during story are again matching (not) identical pictures and symbols. There is also the beginning of identifying the correct verb,but she finds this challenging. Story is a great way to introduce 'I see' by the way.
    I have found with the P Scales that I am able to show some progress at word level, but not at the others. She is not going to hold up a book the right way or finish sentences, and honestly, who cares? For my more able ones I focus on sight reading, especially signs from the environment (toilet, bus, underground, things like that) or even words from the timetable like circle or snack.

    For the most part of the day, the focus for this student is on independence. We are doing a lot of work around transitions, being able to put coat on/off, finding her way around the school (she joined this year), going to the toilet, etc. Also developing play skills and beginning of danger awareness. In the last half term we went to the kitchen twice a week to learn about 'careful, it's hot' and this half term it's more road safety.

    What I found really interesting in the EHCP meetings is that almost none of the parents were worried about the educational side. I would say that 95% of the targets are around communication and independence.

    What are some of the things that work for you?
  5. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    I'll private message you!
  6. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    I'd love to have the confidence to work on all the things you've outlined as this seems like what this child needs but I don't know how I would get away with it - as my data is checked every half term and I am pulled up if they have made too much/not enough progress. I even get my data altered by my manager to make it "fit" the right amount of progress. This is something that I have learnt is not a battle worth fighting as I have fought so many battles over the year.

    I think I am just such a slave to data and is why I left mainstream!

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