Signing is used across MacIntyre, either expressively or receptively, to support understanding.


A person may have been introduced to signing at nursery, school or college, where there is often a strong signing environment with many opportunities to learn and develop signing skills. This communication skill can be further developed by the introduction of new signs as the person moves on to new experiences and opportunities for communication.


For signing to assist someone’s understanding, it is essential that everyone in their environment uses this method of communication.

MacIntyre has a 50 word core vocabulary, which staff teams are trained in.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

PECS is designed to teach functional communication skills with an initial focus on spontaneous communication. People can use picture symbols for the exchange or an iPad version. It has particularly been shown to increase communication skills for people with autism.

PECS begins with teaching someone we support to exchange a picture of a desired item with a communication partner, who immediately honours the request. After the person learns to spontaneously request a desired item, the system goes on to teach differentiation among symbols and then how to construct a simple sentence. In the most advanced phases, the people we support are taught to respond to questions and to comment.


Staff receive training in all areas relating to facilitating communication for the people we support. Training includes writing quality Communication Profiles, Intensive Interaction and speech, which is covered as part of our three-day Great Interactions training. Bespoke training is also available for staff who are supporting a person with particular needs, either face-to-face or through MacIntyre’s e-Learning programme.

To find out more please contact

Gwenne McFadzean, Facilitation Advisor