Communication and Interaction Lead

My name is Rachel Holt, I am a Communication, and Interaction Leader (CIL) based at Penny Field School. 

As a CIL, I work alongside the Speech and Language Therapists and have also worked with Autism Specialists (STARS TEAM) Educational Phycologists, Occupational Therapists and the Visual and Hearing Impairment Team. I advise Teachers and TA’s on various strategies and techniques which can be used to support a wide range of pupils with Special Educational Needs. 

Part of my role is to create multi-sensory experiences for our pupils and I write these as fun interactive stories that can also be turned into music and movement sessions, role-play and larger productions.

Pupils who I work with have moderate to complex learning needs and can be working at lower developmental ages in communication and learning. They also often have associated physical/sensory impairments and specific health care needs.

I recognise that each child has his/her own strengths and abilities and I aim to work with the child and offer a wide range of activities and experiences. This will allow them to maintain their present skills and interests as well as learning and developing new skills, relevant to the real world around them. This will support them with life skills needed in the future. 

Knowing our pupils comfort zones is key to successful learning.

As a CIL, I aim to provide a broad range of activities to meet the needs of each child, providing stimulating activities to enable a child to be engaged and to improve their communication with others. I can provide the building blocks and 

support to bridge the communication gap by using a variety of ways to constantly challenge pupils.

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In addition to this, I am also an Intensive Interaction Assessed Practitioner and am able to Mentor staff with this communication strategy in school by modelling different techniques. This is personalised for each pupil and together we gather evidence to show progression and work on next steps. 

I can also provide training and advice on behaviour strategies and I am also a Makaton Tutor and can provide training for staff, parents and other outside agencies. 

Our pupils engage regularly in Sing and Sign sessions and every week we learn new signs to support us with our school topics and in every day life.