Doonfoot Communication Support Base
This provision is for children of primary school age who have been assessed as experiencing communication difficulties related to the Autistic spectrum. The Communication Support Base is an integral part of the school. Children who attend follow the Curriculum for Excellence as appropriate to their needs and stage of development. The Base directly addresses the communication needs of its pupils and seeks to include the pupils into the mainstream primary classes as fully as possible. To this end, every Doonfoot Primary pupil is made aware of the work of the Base and are encouraged to support that work by welcoming pupils into the school and participating with them as appropriate in shared activities.
The admission of pupils to the Base is governed by procedures set down by the Local Authority. Assessments for admission to the Base are laid out and the criteria are as follows:
- Pupils should be of primary school age on admission
- Pupils should demonstrate severe difficulties in the area of communication. This will include disorders within the Autistic spectrum.
- Pupils should have the potential to access the mainstream curriculum.
- Pupils should have the potential to benefit from integration / inclusion within a mainstream school.
Parents cannot apply to the school for their child to be admitted. Application should be made through formal review procedures and in the first instance through the pupil's Educational Psychologist who will be in a position to offer advice as to the suitability of the placement.
The staff in the Communication Support Base employ a range of teaching techniques and learning resources according to the specific needs of each pupil. Individualised targets are set across the year in consultation with school staff and parents. Targets are set to focus on Literacy, Mathematics and Health and Wellbeing. Developments in the coming session will include target setting around the principles of Nurture and tackling 'barriers to learning' as a result of the pupils' additional support needs. Targets are set to link in with experiences and outcomes within The Curriculum for Excellence. The classroom is structured so pupils understand where to be, what they can do and how to do it, as independently as possible, using the TEACCH approach, where appropriate. Pupils follow an individual daily work-plan as part of the classroom structure. This gives each pupil direction for certain times in the day. The format of the plan is mainly written, but planned activities can also be presented pictorially. Where appropriate, pupils benefit from inclusion in mainstream classes. This involves joint planning between the Base teacher and the mainstream teacher and ensures that strategies are in place within the mainstream classroom to facilitate the pupil's access to the curriculum.
Communication between home and school is vitally important. The 'SEESAW' app is currently used as a direct link between teachers and families. It is a valuable tool to enable the sharing of learning and to update families with information pertaining to the pupil and the life of the school.