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The Hollies School

The Hollies School

Learning to Flourish

Support for Families

Here’s a reminder of numbers you may need:


Cardiff Family Advice and Support Service: 03000 133 133

Speech and Language Therapy Service: 02921 836585

Occupational Therapy Service: 02921 836910

St David’s Children’s Centre: 02921 836789


Stay safe, stay well – The Hollies Team

Mencap Wills and Trusts Guide - Financial Planning for a Child with a Learning Disability

Glossary of Terms


PECSPicture Exchange Communication System. PECS is an augmentative/alternative communication system. It consists of six phases and begins by teaching an individual to give a single picture of a desired item or action to a “communicative partner” who immediately honours the exchange as a request. The system goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in sentences. In the more advanced phases, individuals are taught to use modifiers, answer questions and comment.

TEACCH— the TEACCH method provides tools and strategies for teachers to create a structured environment for learners, focusing on supporting meaningful engagement with learning activities. It also works to increase students’ flexibility, independence, and self-efficacy. This includes the physical organisation of the classroom, individual schedules, work (activity) systems and the visual structure of materials in tasks and activities.

Work basket—Children learn to complete independent activities in a ‘work basket’ at an individual work station, in line with the TEACCH method as above. Through a sequence of visually clear, engaging tasks pupils develop independence skills and consolidate knowledge. These activities are motivating and personalised to each child, and updated regularly.

AAC—Augmentative and alternative communication. Tools which are personalised to each learner to support them with communication including PECS, Ipads with communication apps, Makaton.

Attention Autism —Attention Autism is an intervention model designed by Gina Davies, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. It aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication and shared/joint attention through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities. Uses a ‘bucket’ of exciting objects, children may know the session as ‘bucket time’.

Makaton —  Makaton is a communication system using simple ‘key word’ signs to support communication. Signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying.


Sensory sensitivities and sensory processing — all classrooms are designed to sup-port the individual sensory needs of learners, and Occupational Therapy programmes incorporated where appropriate. Individual sensory differences mean that any of a child’s senses may be over (hypersensitive) or under (hyposensitive) or both, at different times. This can result in differences in how sights, smells, sounds and tastes are processed, as well as difficulties with balance and body awareness.

• Differences in the sense of balance are referred to as ’vestibular’ e.g. a need to rock or swing, or difficulties controlling movements.
• Differences in body awareness are referred to as ‘proprioception’ eg. Difficulties with navigating a space and avoiding obstructions.
• Differences in awareness and ability to attend to internal bodily sensations is referred to as ‘interoception’ e.g. difficulties in recognising and interpreting the sensations of hunger, thirst, fullness, heat, cold or needing to use the toilet.


SCERTS Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support. The SCERTS Model is a research-based educational approach that directly addresses the core challenges faced by children and persons with ASD and related disabilities, and their families. The core domains are:
• Social Communication: aims to help the child become a competent, confident and active participant in a social world. To achieve this a child needs to develop competencies in two key areas: Joint attention and Symbol Use
• Emotional Regulation: aims to support pupils to develop the capacity to self-monitor levels of physical arousal and emotional states in terms of Self-Regulation and Mutual Regulation (with an adult).
• Transactional Support: individual support provided by adults and adjustments made to the environment in order to support the best possible learning out-comes.


Total Communication Approach —Total Communication is an approach to communicating that aims to make use of a variety of methods of communication such as signed, oral, auditory, written and visual aids, depending on the particular needs and abilities of the person. In the UK 'Total Communication' is also known as 'inclusive education'.

Visual Schedule — Schedules are personalised to the individual needs of every learn-er. A schedule may take the form of words, symbols (left to right or top to bottom), photographs or objects of reference. Once an activity has been completed the symbol/photograph/object of reference will be put out of sight from the learner/crossed off by the learner. This aligns with TEACCH methodology and ensures that learners are clear about the expectations of the day.

Traffic lights — Green, yellow and red circular symbols used to indicate time within an activity. Green—activity starting, yellow—activity nearly finished, red—activity finished. Used consistently these can be a very effective visual support system for pupils.

Objects of reference - Objects of Reference are objects used to represent a person, activity or event. When used, children will learn over time that the object represents an event, activity or a person. These objects are used to help a child to understand what is happening in their environment. They can also be used to help children make choices. E.g. a wellington boot to indicate playtime, a bowl to indicate snack or a paintbrush to indicate an art activity.

First/Then — A First/Then board is helpful in teaching children difficulties to follow directions and learn new skills. The boards can motivate them to engage in less preferred activities and clarifies what they are able to do next using symbols e.g. ‘first work then trains’.

Choice board — A choice board using symbols or photos helps children to make choices about what they would like to do, foods to eat, songs to listen to etc. Beginning with a few choices and building up, this can help to reduce frustration and anxiety for children through giving some control over their environment.


SFER - Skills for Early reading. A system of teaching and assessing pre-requisite skills needed prior to learning to read, in a sequential order. For example, tasks based on the framework help pupils develop matching, categorising and visual discrimination.

Phonics – A method of learning to read by correlating sounds (phonemes) with letters (graphemes). Used alongside other methods (e.g. SFER, ‘sight words’, AAC as appropriate for each learner).

POPS — ‘Plenty of Potential’ reading scheme. A reading scheme designed for pupils with ASD and other speech and language needs, It progresses in small easy steps, helping the child to become an effective reader by developing both word recognition (phonics) and reading comprehension (meaning) skills. It is designed to be easily adaptable to each child’s individual learning needs.

Sensory Story — A small group activity in which pupils experience a simple narrative through sensory experiences. Each section of the story (normally just a short sentence or two in length) is accompanied by a sensory experience to help bring the story to life.

Social Stories — social stories are a social learning tool designed to support people with autism of all ages. Social stories are constructed according to a set of criteria, with distinguishing characteristics using text and images designed to add meaning and help people make sense of issues, experiences or topics that may otherwise be very confusing and overwhelming.

Intensive Interaction—Intensive interaction involves a 1:1 session between a child and well known adult, in which the adult responds to the child’s actions, vocalisations etc by copying and joining in. The adult develops this over time into social play routines that support early communication skills. The adult follows the child’s lead and focuses on the child’s interests, attending closely to the child’s actions and watching what the child does next before responding. Sessions may be a few minutes initially and extend over time.


Write Dance — Write Dance is an activity that provides movement opportunities so children can develop the physical skills needed to develop their handwriting skills. The movement is driven by the music and the underlying principle is enjoyment to build confidence. Pieces of music are chosen so the children can follow and learn specific movements to develop their physical skills including, balance, coordination, flexibility and stamina.

Pegs to paper—A literacy intervention designed to support pupils to develop the fine motor skills needed for writing, through a fun and simple series of activities using ‘pegs’, boards and cards.
Fine Motor skills: Stages of pencil grip

Palmar grip — Pencil held in the palm (fist) using all fingers and thumb, movement from the shoulder. Produces light scribbles.

Digital Pronate Grip—All fingers holding pencil but wrist is turned down so that palm is facing towards the page. Movement comes mostly from elbow. Horizontal, vertical and circular lines may be able to be copied.

Splayed four finger grip—Fingers held on pencil opposite thumb. Movement from wrist, hand and fingers move as a whole unit. Child at this stage may be able to produce zig zag lines, crosses and simple people drawings.

Static tripod/quadropod grip — 3 or 4 finger grasp, thumb index finger and middle finger work as a unit. Movement usually from the wrist. Child may copy triangles, circles and squares.
Dynamic tripod grip—pencil held in stable position between thumb, index and middle finger. Index finger and thumb form an open space. Movement comes from fingertips. Ideal grip for letter formation.


Play: Stages in the development of play skills
Unoccupied play—Making movements with arms, legs, hands and feet and discovering how body moves
Solitary Play—Child plays alone and is interested only in their own play at this stage
Onlooker Play—Child begins to observe and show an interest in others playing but does not engage in play with others
Parallel play—Child plays near or alongside others but does not yet play with them
Associative Play—Child starts to interact with others during play, to a limited extent, for example using the same resources or play equipment to take part in an activity related to those around them.
Cooperative play -When a child plays together with others and has interest in both the activity and other children involved in playing they are participating in cooperative play.

Continuous Provision —refers to the resources provided in the classroom learning environment for the learners to interact with. Some examples may be physical equipment, sand, interactive displays, sensory equipment, book corners.

Enhanced Provision– refers to extra materials and resources added to the continuous provision to enhance it for learners. For example, letters added to the sand, topic based toys and symbols added to a ‘play tray’, books based on the topic added to the book corner.


Interactive Whiteboard—Every class has an interactive whiteboard which is touch screen enabled for pupils to access online resources and take part in digital activities through touch.
Clicker—literacy software providing child friendly word processing and access to activities and games based on the reading schemes used in school (e.g. POPs and ORT) most commonly used with interactive whiteboard. Can support reading, sentence formation and lots of other literacy skills.

Helpkidzlearn—an inclusive accessible online platform designed for pupils with additional needs which can be used with touch screen or AAC (switches). There are a wide variety of games and activities to support the development variety of skills including digital skills, cause and effect , turn taking and motor skills.

Dough Disco —a group session pupils may take part in to help them develop their fine motor skills. Pupils use play dough, alongside music or rhymes, to practice different finger movements such as ‘poking’, ‘pinching’, ‘squeezing’ etc. which help develop hand strength and skills needed for mark making/writing.

Process Art —Process Art is art that is child-directed, choice-driven, and celebrates the experience of discovery. In process art, the final product is always unique and the focus lies in the creation of the work, not the outcome. For example, using unusual materials or methods such as splatting paint with fly swatters or rolling conkers through paint.

Messy/sensory play – activities with different materials/textures which encourage pupils to engage their senses and explore in ways which may be less familiar. Sensory play is a great way of supporting pupils to develop a variety of skills, increase confidence and become more aware of the world around them. Sensory exploration is also great fun and an accessible and inclusive form of play.


Group Session– Any class activity where the whole class or part of the class are working together as a group. For example group sessions may include activities such as ‘circle time’, ‘sensory story’, ‘dough disco’

Collective Worship – a group session which aims to promote spiritual, moral and cultural development. This can take many different forms for example, songs, stories and reflection and allows pupils to reflect as appropriate on their own beliefs.

Four Purposes —The Four Purposes (Wales) are the base for the new Welsh curriculum. It’s different to the previous National curriculum which had stricter guidelines stating which subjects should be taught, with which content and with no defined end goals for the education. These four purposes are for children to be ‘healthy confident individuals’, ‘ambitious capable learners’, ‘enterprising creative contributors’ and ‘ethical informed citizens’. Information about how we are meeting these purposes as a school are provided in the curriculum guide that is shared with families for each topic.

Digital Competence Framework– a framework of mandatory cross-curricular skills within the Welsh curriculum to aid pupils in developing digital skills e.g those needed for using computers, Chromebooks, Ipads and other technology.

RAG Profile — ‘Red, Amber Green’ profile. Each pupil has an individual profile detail-ing each pupil and their family, how they learn best, how they can best be supported, their strengths, preferences, things they find difficult and are working towards. These are contributed to and shared by all staff working with each child.