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.

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More about our approach


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Death and Dying

The ‘Dying to Talk’ pilot project will enable us to help people we support, their families and MacIntyre staff understand and feel supported talking about…

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We have expertise in supporting people with dementia or at risk of developing dementia.

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MacIntyre was established by the parents of a disabled child in 1966 for all people with a learning disability to live a life that makes sense to them.

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Great Interactions

Great Interactions are based on 10 facilitation skills, including touch, warmth, eye contact and creativity, which when used well result in good outcomes…

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People with a learning disability are living longer, yet they are still dying 20 years younger than the rest of the population. It is well known that…

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Health and Safety

At MacIntyre we are committed to achieving excellence with our health and safety practices.

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Intensive Interaction

Intensive Interaction is an approach to interacting with and teaching early communication and interaction skills to people who do not find it easy communicating…

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Learning Disability

It is estimated that 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.

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Person Centred Approaches

Providing person centred support means always listening, learning and focusing on what is important to and for someone, now and in the future.

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Positive Behaviour Support

A Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) approach involves focusing on improving a person’s quality of life and understanding the reasons behind any behaviours.

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We are committed to the safeguarding of the children, young people and adults we support across the organisation and encourage openness and transparency.

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Transforming Care

MacIntyre is at the forefront of supporting people to move from long stay hospitals, inpatient facilities and assessment and treatment units back into…

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Voice of the people we support

We know that we can’t make decisions about a person’s support, staffing changes or new activities without involving them and understanding what is important…

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Have you seen our resources?

As part of sharing our expertise we created a number of resources.
These include: guides, posters, leaflets, case studies and much more.
View our resources