At The Walnuts we recognise that each student is a unique individual; however, the underlying difficulty for every Walnuts student lies in the area of communication.  We therefore provide an environment where spoken language is clear and precise and, where appropriate, augmentative or alternative strategies are used to enable non-verbal learners to understand and communicate successfully, enabling them to respond and interact to their full capacity. These might include the use of objects of reference, representational objects, photographs, symbols or written words according to the individual needs of the child.  We use the SCERTS model (Social Communication Emotional Regulation Transactional Support) as a framework to support our students.

The speech and language therapists work closely with the occupational, art and movement therapists to support the child’s communication development and emotional regulation/wellbeing. 

At The Walnuts School the speech and language therapy team provides support at Universal, Targeted and Specialist levels:-

Universal Level

  • Staff and parents are offered regular bespoke training from the speech and language therapists on a range of topics including: using objects/symbols to support language and communication; developing play and interaction skills; developing social skills to enable conversations and interacting with peers.
  • Staff are supported to create “communication friendly” classroom environments.
  • All students are supported to be able to communicate their emotions using behavioural or/and language strategies relative to their SCERTS communication stage.


Targeted Level

  • Access to speech and language programmes designed by SALT and implemented by support staff, focusing on play, language, interaction and social skills.
  • Joint working with support staff to enable them to carry out specific activities on a daily basis in small group activities.

Specialist Level

The speech and language therapists carry out specialist assessments and provide highly individualised programmes for children referred through a provision meeting, as well as meeting EHCP requirements. Some children require assessment and in the first instance specialist intervention, to implement high tech alternative augmentative communication (AAC) systems such as iPads using a communication app.


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