Total Communication Environment

What is a total communication environment?

Communication is a golden thread running through the curriculum at Sandside Lodge School. There are many forms of communication that the students may use which are individualised to meet the needs of each one. As well as speech, these include

  • Gestures
  • Eye contact and facial expressions
  • Makaton
  • BSL
  • Symbol exchange
  • Writing with symbols (Widget)
  • Switches
  • Voice output communication aids
  • Core boards
  • Communication books
  • Grid 3 software
  • Supercore 30

Access methods are also varied depending on need, so some may use direct touch, some may scan with switches, and some may use eye gaze.


Why we do it?

We believe that communication is the key to everything, including forming relationships, finding out information, giving important details about yourself to doctors, choosing what you want to wear each day, choosing leisure activities, deciding where you want to go to college, choosing what you want to eat or drink, and myriad other reasons. 

Our students are a diverse community with diverse communication needs, and we know that one size does not fit all. So we embrace all forms of communication attempts and teach students how to develop these into forms that will help them express themselves to a variety of people, from family to people in the community. 

What impact has it?

Being able to communicate effectively reduces frustration, increases self-esteem, develops independence and enables someone to thrive. We see students go from displaying challenging behaviours and lack of interest in other people to being visibly happier, calmer and more engaged with others as their communication skills develop.


Take a look at some communication in action!

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