Communication Support

Speech & language therapy and assistive communication

Communication Support

The speech & language therapy (SLT) and assistive & communication technologies (ACT) teams work closely together to support the communication needs of learners. SLT also support learners with dysphagia (chewing and swallowing needs).

The SLT team are Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust staff and work at Portland College via a long standing service level agreement.

How we work:

With individuals there is the possibility of

  • 1:1 work
  • Assessments for both communication and dysphagia (chewing and swallowing)
  • Group
  • Support in sessions/observations
  • Support in dining room/mealtimes
  • Individual communication resources
  • Work with communication aids
  • Individual communication plans
  • Eating & drinking guidelines
  • Attendance at person centred reviews

Work with staff….

  • Communication needs on staff induction and refresher training
  • Eating & Drinking needs on staff induction and refresher training
  • Training around individuals as needed
  • Signing training
  • Support in sessions with overall communication and individual learners
  • Setting joint targets
  • Curriculum resources e.g. symbols, photos, communication boards, sequence strips

Environmental work….

  • Helping with accessible and easy read information
  • Producing and monitoring consistent symbols use in college
  • Signing booklets and displays around college
  • Key tips to support communication posters

The speech and language therapy team are always happy to answer any questions you may have, simply email

Assistive and Communication Technology

Communication is essential in enabling learners to access college life and ensure their full participation and inclusion in all environments.

The Assistive and Communication Technology team provides support to learners who require additional help in expressing their needs and wishes, and for increased social interaction. The team employ a learner-centred approach and provide support with a range of high and low tech communication methods, depending on the needs of each individual.

The team have a wealth of experience in working with high-tech electronic communication aids and, in conjunction with our Speech and Language Therapists, will work with our learners to assess, trial and evaluate a range of suitable communication devices, access methods and language packages. The team can provide one to one sessions, support within the classroom environment, or group sessions that promote communication as a way to live more independently.

Our team can help to plan and prepare personalised language packages, teach key skills relating to the use of communication aids and assistive technology, add vocabulary to devices and arrange repairs. We also provide training to all staff across the college to help them implement good communication strategies and practice.

Our E-learning team can offer additional support to enable learners with more specific ICT needs to access the curriculum and as a means of recording their work. iPads play a significant role in helping learners to access their sessions and the E-learning team will guide staff and learners in their most effective use. The team are also able to implement and support the use of computer and software-based solutions including Clicker 7, Choose-it!Maker 3, Interactive whiteboards and now Clever board technology.

The Communications Team are always happy to answer any questions you may have, simply email

Thank you so much for taking such great care of our daughter this last year. We were able to relax knowing she was with people who care about her

Parent of a learner