At Ifield School we use a holistic approach to provide learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) with positive experiences of being socially included and emotionally connected with others. The educational needs of these pupils are complex and wide ranging, so a personalised learning curriculum at the school is designed to reflect this diversity and develop the following aspects of their lives:-
Fundamentals of Communication
We support pupils at the early levels of development to learn the Fundamentals of Communication. We aim to facilitate pupils’ communication skills through responding to sounds (vocalisations, clapping, etc.) visual cues (facial expressions, eye contact) and touch. Through this approach of Intensive Interaction, we enable learners to develop a sense of self and enjoy being with peers and familiar adults. Staff understand that developing the Fundamentals of Communication provides a strong underpinning to subsequent learning, development and wellbeing.
Pupils with PMLD have opportunities to develop communication skills through Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) with access to switch operated toys to develop cause and effect skills, switches with pre-recorded messages to participate in peer and group interactions. Pupils can also develop cause and effect and choice making skills through the use of eye pointing including high tech options such as eye gaze and low tech options using symbols/ photos attached to an e-tran frame.
It is important to ensure that all pupils are in a state of positive well-being so that they are able to access learning and function within the school community. Emotional responses and reactions of our students with PMLD will be valued, nurtured and developed by all staff. Some of the approaches that we incorporate into everyday school to promote well-being for our PMLD learners include;
- Using a Total Communication Approach
- Stimulating learning environments
- Anticipatory cues including body signing and objects of reference
- Appropriate pace to learning
- Community visits
It is important we enable pupils with PMLD to learn to use all their senses to help them to explore and interpret the world around them. This is supported by the use of facilities such as the sensory room, rainbow room and hydropool, and access to Rebound Therapy, Gong Therapy and the use of resonance boards. Many of our pupils with PMLD experience sensory impairment or sensory integration difficulties. Staff work closely with pupils to establish what sensory components support/prevent their learning and use this information to ensure an optimal learning environment for individual pupils, as well as to set personalised targets.
Through the M.O.V.E (Movement Opportunities via Education) program students develop physical, cognitive and communication skills designed to improve their independence, social inclusion and well-being. Students have access to the hydro-pool which is equipped with ceiling hoists, changing beds and multisensory lights and sounds. This enables a relaxed and calm learning environment for learning communication and interaction skills without the barriers of their physical disabilities.
The curriculum aims to be motivating, relevant, challenging and focused providing learners the opportunity to work towards their own individualised outcomes.