Speech and Language
Parayhouse has 4 Speech and Language Therapists [SLTs] as members of its multi-professional team.
All prospective students have an informal speech & language assessment on Observation Days to determine speech, language and communication needs; this is followed by in-depth diagnostic assessment on entry to Parayhouse, which forms the basis for classroom support strategies & individual intervention programmes.
The SLTs provide all students with weekly lessons in Social Communication Skills [SCS], Vocabulary & Semantic Skills [VSS] and Social & Emotional Aspects of Learning [SEAL]. In addition, SLTs lead daily Phonics sessions in every Key Group, and support speech, language & communications skills in a range of lessons across the curriculum, including Personal Health & Social Education [PHSE], Science, Drama, Lifeskills & Maths Topic.
Depending upon their specific requirements students can also receive individual, paired or small group speech & language therapy sessions.
•The SLT team introduced shape coding into Parayhouse in 2012 and it has since become an integral part of our curriculum to facilitate both comprehension and writing development. Shape coding is a syntactic-semantic approach to language development. In this system, sentences are coded into shapes, colours and arrows to make the word order structures of English concrete, permanent and available for discussion with the students (by Dr. Susan Ebbels). This year we have introduced a new approach, 'Pacers' (by Dr. Libby Kumin) to further support the students' expression both verbally and in the written form.
••In July, 2014, Ofsted noted that “Teachers’ marking does not always lead to improvement in knowledge and skills in writing, particularly for the most able students”. In consideration of this, the SLTs have recommended and trained teachers in the use of visuals, i.e. Shape Coding and PACERS to support the students in identifying their errors in grammar and encouraging longer, more accurate sentences. This has been shown to lead to improvements in the students’ writing, evidenced in students’ books and increase in sentence length (see below).
••There is a robust, current evidence base that identifies the impact of speech and language disorders with reading and literacy development. In a recent study, evaluating the effect of speech sound disorder on literacy development, Skebo et al. 2013, found that phonological awareness predicted decoding abilities in reading in early key stages of school and overall language predicted reading comprehension abilities through to key stage 4.