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Go Communication Team! Working in Communication Teams in Special Schools in Birmingham

Practice Report
  • Heather Hallett (Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust)
  • Kay Hemming (Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust)

To describe the model of collaborative team working, in special schools in Birmingham, and consider the outcomes for AAC users.


Many special schools in Birmingham have implemented a "Communication Team" model of working to establish a basic level of specialist communication knowledge and skill throughout the school. We have designed documentation which supports this process: a Partnership Working Agreement and a Process Map for "How to set up an Effective Communication Team".


This model of working has enabled us to support AAC users and their families in our schools through:

  • Developing supportive resources (e.g. for transition, staff induction, curriculum)
  • Device support
  • Identifying whole school development needs and delivering joint training.

Clients, carers and practitioners have benefitted from this approach as evidenced by questionnaire and DVD about our service in special schools.


Outcomes for AAC users have improved over time as a result of working in communication teams because: they have provided a vehicle for enhancing total communication environments within schools; and team members have become highly skilled and share the responsibility for meeting the communication needs of AAC users and other clients. This enables us, as speech and language therapists, to target our intervention more effectively.