Endeavour Academy provides a highly structured adapted environment for our students. This is designed to prevent our young people becoming too stressed to learn by being overloaded with lots of information and faced with choices and change.
This environment is helpful to those with difficulties with communication, social interaction, the ability to think flexibly, and specific issues that arise from environments that may affect their sensory perception.
Every child and young person has enhanced opportunities to follow programmes that focus on their development of functional communication and social skills, all of which will be delivered discretely and embedded throughout the general curriculum.
Intensive Interaction is an approach that our staff use at any available opportunity with all students, across the school. The idea is that the adult is open to communicate and respond to the student - giving them time where they can build communication through the movements, body positions and vocalisations the student may make. This connection between the staff and student is key to the interaction, which can extend or finish on the student's terms.
The staff team at Endeavour are working with Macintyre School and the Intensive Interaction Institute in order to recognise the skills of staff in this area, developing the role of Intensive Interaction Competent Practitioners.
Widgit symbols provide our students with a clear, visual support to enhance their communication and learning. We use symbols to create timetables, checklists, calendars, social stories and communication books, as well as for learning core content and vocabulary that each individual student needs. Staff carry frequently used symbols on a lanyard so that key symbols students might need are available and ready as a visual prompt.
Endeavour Academy chose to work with Widgit based on its national reputation and we continue to work with the organisation to promote the positive impact which a total communication environment can provide.
See the Widget website for more information and some good downloadable resources.
All staff members across the school and residential settings are trained to use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) which we believe is integral to the development of young people’s language and communication skills. We also ensure that expertise from key professionals like speech and language therapists are used.
Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS) was developed in 1985 as an alternative communication intervention package for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities. At Endeavour Academy we use PECS for all of our young people. PECS helps to develop our students emerging and functional language skills.
Have a look at this link for more information about PECS
Often known as 'bucket' sessions, Attention Autism is an intervention that is designed to build student's focus of attention within a group, as well as developing key communication skills. Students start by watching interesting items being pulled from a bucket - the attention grabber, before watching a creating task designed to be mesmorising - where students simply have to watch. Staff leading the session will use key action and concept vocabulary through this second, attention builder stage. The third stage allows the students to each take a turn in a quick interactive activity before they return to their seat to watch their peers.
Gina Davis developed this approach, Have a look for more information.
Here's a video that Gina has posted on You Tube giving advice about how adults can support this approach Attention Autism on You Tube
Across the school the staff use Makaton signing to support students with understanding key words. Signing key words gives extra information that can help some students, particularly those who are better at taking information in visually rather than relying on just hearing it (auditory).
The staff team practice 'Signs of the week' to practice their core signs that are used regularly as well as key topic signs for upcoming events. You can sign up to get your very own Sign of the Week from Makaton directly at we talk Makaton.