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2012-05: Commtap Newsletter Summer 2012  

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Welcome to the Commtap summer 2012 newsletter. It's been a while since the last newsletter. We haven't been sleeping, but have been very much active in developing the Commtap site (www.commtap.org).


Current news about the project

Have you noticed the improvements to the site? 

  • Easier to upload and edit documents to put on the site. You can upload a document written in Word without logging in. Why not try it and contribute to the site?
  • The site has a new server which means documents can be downloaded and uploaded more quickly - and everything generally runs faster;
  • There are now over 300 hundred pages of targets and activities on the site to support people with communication difficulties. Let's make a push to get up to 350 by the start of the new school term in autumn 2012. Everyone benefits from uploads of new material and uploading is now so easy. So go on ... give it a try! Even if you feel your contribution is very modest, it will inspire others to develop it and add to it (and you can upload anonymously!)
  • The site is still free for everyone to use and contribute to but there is now a 'Donate' button. This means you can make a donation however small or large to help maintain the site for the benefit of all users. The site is run by a community interest company which relies almost entirely on donations to keep it all going.

10 Top tips for working with children on the autistic spectrum

  1. Use pictures to communicate and keep language simple.
  2. Communicate face to face and at eye level. Use a calm voice.
  3. Singing or chanting can help a child process language more easily.
  4. Take the pressure off a child by using language to comment rather than question.
  5. Warn a child about things which are going to happen – especially if it is something different.
  6. Before a child becomes too stressed, using deep pressure squeezes can help restore equilibrium with some children.
  7. Avoid big gestures when a child is stressed. Make sure the child is safe and turn away for a spell – even leave the room if possible.
  8. Use tangible rewards to direct behaviour. For example a 5 minute spell with a special toy rather than social rewards like saying 'Well done! I am really pleased with you.' 
  9. Unstructured time like playtime or free time can be stressful for some children. They may need access to a peaceful space to read or play quietly.
  10. Children with an autistic spectrum disorder find it hard to see things from another's point of view. If things go wrong it is up to us to put ourselves into their shoes and try to sort things out from their perspective.

Workshops for SLT departments and SENCO conferences

We can come and run a workshop for your speech and language therapy department or your SENCO conference. A workshop lasts between one and two hours. The workshops are suitable for people working with children or with adults. The workshops include:

  • A demonstration of all the features of the site (here's a five minute taster video);
  • The scales used with the site (Early Years, P-Scales, National Curriculum, TAP scale);
  • Adding material to the site (in the two hour workshop only);
  • Enthusiasm!

For a limited time, we are offering one hour workshops at £85 plus expenses (e.g. second class rail fare) and for those who would like to see how to add material to the site (such as SLTs and specialist teachers) the second hour for free. More information.

Keeping up to date with developments on Commtap

In addition to this newsletter, you can keep up to date with the latest on Commtap by:

That's all for now

Best wishes from

Lorna, Neil and the Commtap team.

If you find the Commtap site useful, please fill out a review of it on EdTech impact. This really helps us to get funding to continue running the site. Thank you!
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