Signing

As explained, signing is commonly used in everyday situations to add meaning to what is being said. Young children and adults use different signs with each other to convey meaning. Nothing is required to use signing, except a pair of hands and someone to sign to; therefore it is one of the easiest forms of alternative communication that we can use to communicate with each other at Wren Spinney.

The deaf community has developed a language based on signing and in Britain this language is British Sign Language or BSL. BSL has its own grammatical structure which is different from English (as the structure of French or Spanish differs from English). Like any language BSL has different dialects where different signs are used in different parts of the country.

At Wren Spinney we use a simplified form of BSL to add meaning to what we say to the pupils. As signs are used to add and clarify the meaning of what is being staff speak naturally and sign the key words to help enhance their language.

Although signing with speech has been used at Wren Spinney for many years staff are currently being trained in a recognised method of signing called Signalong. Signalong is a method of signing specifically designed for use with people with special needs and is based on BSL.

This method emphasises recognising the level of understanding the child has and reducing or raising the speech and signing according to the child's needs. Signalong is used in many other special schools including Kingsley School, from which several pupils join us each year. The same signing system ensures continuity for these pupils.

Pupils are encouraged to practice the signs to enhance their communication. It is the policy of the school to offer training opportunities to parents and all those connected with the school.