Communication & ASD

St Crispin’s School uses Inclusive Communication which means that our pupils are introduced to any form of communication which will help them to communicate more effectively both expressively and recptively. We use visuals, signing, objects of reference, song signifiers, gesture and simple speech to aid our pupils’ communication. We carry out baseline assessments such as PEP3 (Psycho Educational Profile 3) and ComFor to identify the levels at which our pupils are working.

Who is it for?

Pupils who are cognitively unable to use photos and symbols as representations of objects or activities.


A signifier is anything that is used consistently to represent and introduce an activity, place or person. Signifiers can be objects, smells, songs, photographs, pictures or words. They help pupils to identify the activities and routines of their day. They are used to signal what is about to happen and may be used to offer choices.

Many children find transitions between activities difficult. They need time to prepare themselves. Songs and objects are used to let them understand what is happening and to give them time to adjust. Our pupils need to understand what is happening to enable them to feel secure. They may not understand the spoken language and so will not get that security from just being told what is happening. Their signifiers are essential to their well-being and without them they can become distressed which may lead to challenging behaviours (see St Crispin’s Behaviour Policy for further details on managing challenging behaviours).


To assist with transitions

To help pupils make sense of their day


Some objects of reference are being used at St Crispin’s but this is an area that we would like to expand upon. We have begun to standardise the objects used and have started to use a consistent approach throughout the school. For example, giving a pupil the apron that they always wear at lunch can signal that lunch is about to happen. The next stage would be to use an object that has a concrete relationship to the event but is not intrinsically used itself – e.g. a piece of seatbelt strap for going on the bus. In this way, objects can support pupils in developing a representational understanding (that objects can ‘represent’ an activity).


We are currently working on developing the use of object signifiers in the first 2 classes. In conjunction with our speech and language therapists the staff will devise a system that is effective for a range of children. It will then be rolled out throughout the school for use with suitable children. We have regular communication meetings and this is an area that we would like the meetings to focus on in the future.

Objects of Reference how to sheet

Here is a list of the OOR to use for specific activities, and how to use them. This must be consistent throughout the school so please follow these steps:

Activity Item What to do with it All pieces required
Playtime/break Coloured disc

(blue-junior, green-mid, red-senior)

Post into the letter box Coloured discs


Brush teeth White toothbrush Put into orange plastic cup White toothbrushes

Orange plastic cup

Hilly play Astro turf Place on to Velcro strip on hilly play gate Astro turf
Lunch Dycem square Place into basket at table Dycem square

Green half size basket

Snack White plate Use plate at snack White plate
Class gym (primary) Cd Place on to Velcro strip on wall Cd each
PE Green bean bag Put beanbag into basket Bean bag each

Basket to put into

Art Black whiteboard pen Make a mark on piece of paper Whiteboard marker each


Music Wristband with bell Shake bell then post into basket Wristband each


Soft play Ball Post into box Ball each


Toilet Glove Post into box Gloves


Choosing time Blue choosing box Choose toy/item/photo/symbol

from box

Blue choosing box each with items inside that are specifically motivating.

Photo on each box

Swimming St Crispin’s logo swimming bag Take to swimming Swimming bag each
Cooking Wooden spoon Place wooden spoon into metal bowl. Can stir as well. Wooden spoon each

One metal bowl

If you misplace items come and get new ones from Natasha as we have spares and again it needs to be consistent all the way through the school.

The Learning Rounds approach is modelled on medical rounds where colleagues share observations together to learn from each other.
It is non-judgemental and evidence based. The evidence is descriptive and focuses on learners only. It’s about developing observational skills.
It is hoped that both observers and observed will be volunteers.
It encourages those taking part to view their own performance and approach from a new perspective
Ultimately it is a tool for reflection and improvement.
It also stimulates wider professional dialogue on the given topic for observation.
Instead of observations being made by individuals, participants work in teams and share observations. Usually no feedback is given to those observed but the observations taken together will be part of an observation summary, which can be further discussed by everyone.
This year we would like observations to be made on differentiation and individualised learning.
New staff will take part in the learning rounds this year as part of their induction process.
We will meet together before the first scheduled observation in the staffroom at 8.30am on Tuesday 22nd November in the staffroom.
Each observation lasts 30 minutes and please make sure you check your time and keep to it.
The model is for teams to observe the children in a class and exchange ideas.
Observers then come together to share and reflect on their observations, and to complete the summary of learner engagement. This will be at 3pm in the staffroom on Thursday 24th November.
Any feedback given will be non-evaluative and non-judgemental.
This summary will then be shared and discussed at an all staff meeting.