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ICT to Reinforce Learning

There are many ways that ICT can be used to reinforce learning for pupils with SLCN.

Children and young people with SLCN often have visual strengths.

The use of ICT:

  • Provides an effective tool to access the curriculum

  • Supports the understanding of language through visual support

  • Enables pupils to learn at their own rate

  • Facilitates the organisation and production of work in an appropriate manner.

Decisions about using ICT to reinforce learning must identify what type of technology is to be used with an individual pupil (hardware and/or software) and for what purpose it will be used. An initial audit and assessment would be integral to this process.

The use of ICT in school has implications for planning and preparation and involves allocated time for the explicit teaching of skills so that a pupil gains confidence and competency in using the technology. If a pupil is given some form of technology to support speech, language or communication its use should be consistent across settings and the curriculum.

Further information about the use of ICT and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) aids is outlined in the key documents below:

 Using visual support (picture or symbols support programmes) to enable pupils to understand and develop vocabulary knowledge (vocabulary packages, concept mapping software)
 Developing written language with the ability to listen back, adapt and self-correct work that has been produced (reading and writing tools)
 Developing word processing skills to support the recording of work (text to speech software)
 Providing means to communicate with others for those pupils who have little or no speech (for example: voice output communication aids)
 Using software programmes for promoting expressive language
 Using visual software programmes for organisational and planning purposes (graphical organisation software)
 For increasing listening and attention skills - listening to stories, following instructions
 As a means to recall what has happened through having additional visual evidence to support auditory memory skills (photographs)

Some pupils, who have difficulty communicating because they have no or limited speech and others find their speech difficult to understand, use AAC.  AAC ( augmentative and alternative communication) describes methods of communication which are used by children or adults who find communication problematic because they have little or no clear speech.  It adds to (augments) or replaces (alternative) spoken communication.

There are two main types of AAC- aided and unaided

Unaided communication describes methods of communication that do not require additional equipment/technology 
Examples of unaided communication include: body language, gestures, vocalisations (sounds that have meaning), eye pointing, pointing, facial expressions and signing

Aided communication involves using additional equipment that ranges from simple visual cues to computer or an electronic communication device:

Aided approaches can be either low tech or high tech.

Low Tech devices include anything that is not powered such as objects, communication books/ boards, timetables and charts with pictures, symbols, icons or pictures, pen and paper, alphabet boards

High Tech includes electronic programmable devices and computers which can speak and/or print.

Access method:

Some pupils use alternative devices to control their aided AAC system including a range of switch controls such as joysticks or pointers.  Eye gaze or eye tracking is a way of accessing a computer/ communication aid using a mouse that is controlled by your eyes. Adapted keyboards can also be used to facilitate access.

Many children and adults use a combination of methods. For example a pupil may use a customised communication book/ communication board as well as the use of a high technology device.

AAC resources can be useful in supporting pupils with receptive and expressive communication difficulties

For example low tech methods such as the use of objects, pictures or symbols

At secondary school students with SLCN may typically use ICT to support the following skills- reading, speech, writing, planning and organisational skills and promote independent working skills.

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