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Curriculum Overview

Communication and Interaction


Intent: ‘To build safe independent lives for autistic young people through support, understanding and enablement.’ Our communication and interaction intent is realised through our autism approach which is accessed by all students and is personalised to meet the specific needs of individuals. 


A diagram of autism

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It is informed by the Autism Education Trust Progression Framework and the TEACCH approach. It covers four focus areas:


 Developing Social Communication, Social Interaction and Social Imagination and Flexibility:

Aspirations for our learners are to:

· Develop expressive communication skills so that they can confidently apply conversation skills, enabling them to communicate effectively in all contexts.

 · Build positive relationships with adults and peers.

· Develop social interaction skills enabling them to partake in group activities and social situations successfully.

· Be enabled to cope with changes and transitions in a wide variety of situations and contexts.

 · Develop play, problem solving and thinking skills that increase flexibility of thought.

We do this through modelling positive communication behaviours that are embedded throughout interactions in daily SAIL experiences. Time with the individual with autism Understanding theories of autism.

Applying knowledge and theory into practice staff endeavour to support communication skills by:

· Calling each student by their name when gaining their attention

· Using one voice to prevent distraction

· Being specific with instructions and requests

· Using visual prompts or gestures to support understanding of language

· Implementing additional communication strategies as identified in students pupil profiles.

Additionally, students benefit from specific social skills intervention tailored to areas of development identified through their pupil profile as well as targeted language intervention as identified by our Speech and Language Therapist.


Emotional understanding and self-awareness:

Aspirations for our learners are to:

· Develop the ability to understand and express their own emotions and implement appropriate strategies to self-regulate their emotions.

· Understand that other people have emotions or intentions that are different to their own and that is ok.

· Develop self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem. Emotional literacy support is embedded throughout the structure of the SAIL day. Children regularly use the ‘Incredible Five Point Scale’ to support the identification of their emotions; personalised strategies are then implemented to support self-regulation as identified in a child’s pupil profile. Where children find it more complex to identify their emotions and respond with appropriate strategies, they access specific therapeutic interventions to support the development of emotional understanding that is person centred and adapted to meet individual need.


Sensory processing:

Aspirations for our learners are to:

· Understand and express their own sensory needs

· To respond to sensory interventions, increasing their tolerance of sensory input

· To have strategies to manage their own sensory needs. At SAIL we maintain an autism friendly environment that is structured, predictable and where changes are reduced promoting a sense of calm throughout the academy. Our Occupational Therapist works closely with all staff to ensure sensory input in all environments is reduced to support students who are hypo or hyper sensitive to the world around them. When a student’s sensory need is particularly complex our Occupational Therapist conducts a full assessment of need and advises specific personalised strategies that are recorded on a child’s pupil profile or implements the appropriate sensory intervention to meet the sensory need.



Aspirations for our learners are to:

 · Use strategies to organise their learning independently

· Be able to access academy routines

· Be motivated and engaged in activities all activities, including where able those not linked to their special interests

· Evaluate their own learning Classroom structures support the development of these skills through implementing the TEACCH approach in differentiated formats. Students are aware of what is required in each session as learning is presented following the same structured format: Students are presented with

· What they are learning.

· A defined amount of work.

· A clear finishing point/time.

· What to do next. Students access this information through individualised formats for example some children have individualised TEACCH systems, some children use personalised task cards, some children refer to whole class schedules. There are additional systems in place to support the development of learning skills presented in a variety of ways specific to cohort and individual need such as visual timetables, visual schedules, specific subject visual supports, zoned environments and teaching areas, clearly labelled areas and resources.


Assessment of need:

From the first term in the academic year or their first term at the academy each student will be assessed against these skills and enablement strategies planned to target development based around presentation of need.

Impact: Pupils will be able to lead a safe independent life as they will have developed skills in:

  • Social communication
  • Social interaction
  • Social imagination and flexibility
  • Sensory processing
  • Emotional understanding and self- awareness
  • Learning to learn skills
  • Academic progress, achievement and accreditation
  • Independent life skills
  • Community participation


Contact Us

SAIL (Salisbury Academy for Inspirational Learning)
Wilton Road

T: 01722 694013