Widgit Symbols designed to support the Sherborne@Sunfield Project
The Sherborne@Sunfield project is an adapted teaching approach for use with Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. New symbols were developed to support this approach and increase pupil engagement...
This two-year study was a collaborative work between Sunfield School and the Sherborne Association UK and supported by the Three Guineas Trust. The project started in September 2004 and ended in August 2006. As an organisation which operates a 24 hour curriculum for children with severe and complex learning difficulties, the majority of whom have Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Sunfield was ideally placed to investigate the resonance of Sherborne Developmental Movement (SDM) programme with the concept of engagement in the 21 st century.
Sunfield as a research institution is renowned for advancing knowledge and ensuring that the knowledge and skills, which are based on valid research evidence, are shared with other service providers and professionals in the field of autism. Teachers' contribution towards the adaptation and development of appropriate teaching strategies responsive to the unique learning patterns of these children is vital.
Symbols - Visual Clues
There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the implementation of the SDM programme through structured teaching approaches targeted to autistic pupils' strengths as visual learners, through the use of visual cues contributed significantly towards pupils' engagement.
Visual Cues immensely reduced the need for verbal instructions and other prompting strategies by improving the pupils' levels of understanding of the expectations. The visual clues used in this project were symbols specifically designed for the project by Widgit.