Signalong is an augmented communication system which can be used highly effectively to support people of all ages who have communication and learning disabilities.
The keyword signing vocabulary is available for the full age range and has been developed for a wide range of health related context e.g. continence and diet, women’s health, men’s health, hygiene, hospital and dental visits.
Under the Children and Families Act, greater emphasis has been placed on giving young people and families choice and in listening to their views. Services are likely to use a range of methodologies with children and adults to secure user feedback. CCGs have a responsibility to commission services which meet need, including for those who have SEN and/or disabilities and will need to show how that feedback has been secured.
Signalong is a structured communication system which is highly flexible and enables:
- the service user to have the tools with which to communicate their experiences, wishes and feelings.
- the professionals to be able to explain and prepare them for any changes in service.
A central tenet of Signalong is “one concept, one sign” which is different to other British Sign Language based systems, which require an understanding of the context in order to distinguish meaning. People who have learning difficulties, especially those with Autism, may find it difficult to differentiate the context.
Through the use of Signalong, children, young people and adults with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties can give their views, can be taught about healthy living, can be made aware of dangers (for example from exploitation) and can ”talk” about things that have upset them or made them uncomfortable. Signalong can be used to prepare people for complex (frightening) procedures. Signalong is an invaluable tool which can support professionals in their work with vulnerable adults and to enable them to understand and make choices about treatment in line with the Mental Capacity Act.
Who should be using Signalong?
Signalong have a national network of Tutors who have trained:
- Mainstream teachers and staff teams
- Special school teachers and staff teams
- Therapists including SLT, OT and Physio
- Social workers
Signalong could be used to build capacity in your workforce for anyone who works with or comes into contact with people who have a learning disability. We would be delighted to train staff who come into contact with learning disabled service users.