Signing on the farm with our new picture communication cards
Posted on Apr 26, 2016
Encouraging children with non-verbal language to fully participate while they are on holiday is a high priority for us.
Recognising that many children who visit us use a form of BSL (British Sign Language) we have produced a selection of picture cards which are available to borrow to help our team and other children and families to communicate effectively.
The cards can be used to encourage signing. They can be used with children who have hearing difficulties, babies learning to sign, children who have Autism as a way of reinforcing their speech, as well as children with other learning support needs.
Many children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) are slower to develop language skills, therefore other methods of communication need to be used.
Single signs can be used as a primary form of communication and by using signing and picture cards on the farm it can help to initiate social interaction when they first arrive.
Following the same animal feeding routine twice a day provides the children with structure, order and predictability. This helps to manage any anxiety about social situations which can then help with their social communication as they relax.
Our set of picture cards show all of our animals (typically in the order in which we feed them each day) as well as communal fun areas around the farm such as the Playbarn and the Tractor park. They can be collected from reception to use during your stay but can also be emailed to you prior to your child’s holiday to help prepare them. This can be of particular benefit to children with anxiety issues, allowing them to predict their environment and therefore feel more in control when they arrive.
We must never underestimate either the value of the animals themselves.
We have seen many of our young ‘farmers’ visibly relax during the routine feed sessions and enjoy contact time with their favourite one!
Processing information can be challenging so keeping language simple is key to a child’s understanding. Picture cards can be a great help to children who have difficulties with verbally delivered information.
Using short sentences, repetition and space for responses can also all help with communication skills.
Establishing eye contact can be difficult for some, so being at the child’s eye level and using visual aids can help with this.
Your child needs a reason to use eye contact and we have found that collecting his/her bucket of food for the animal feeding tends to be a good one!
If you would like further information about how we can help make your holiday as successful as possible and how we might be able to meet specific needs then please don’t hesitate to contact us .