Communication and Interaction

This page describes the support available to schools and settings to support the needs of CYP with communication and interaction needs including autism (with or without a diagnosis).

Communication and Interaction needs encompass all aspects of communication and so includes:

  • Autism
  • Social communication difficulties
  • Speech difficulties
  • Stammering
  • Understanding language
  • Selective mutism 

Each SEND hub in North Yorkshire has:

  • Autism specialist teachers
  • SLCN Specialists
  • Speech and Language therapists
  • Autism specialist practitioners
  • Speech and Language therapy assistants.

How can the communication and interaction team support your setting/school?

  • Assessment of need
  • Evidence based interventions and support
  • Coaching & modelling effective support and intervention
  • Speech and language therapy (alongside and not replacing NHS Speech and Language Therapists)
  • Transition support
  • Expert professional development and training
  • Parent programmes (including Barnardos licenced Cygnet programme for parents of children with autism diagnosis, and new for 2020 – speech programme for early years and also a parent programme to access before autism diagnosis).

This support will be offered free of charge to children and young people 0-25 who meet the criteria for a core service:

Having significant SEND which requires more support than would usually be provided in a mainstream school or setting

School/setting have already assessed the child/young person’s needs, and completed approximately 2 cycles of intervention (assess, plan, do, review), but further support is needed.

In most cases Speech and Language Therapy referrals will have already been made. This service does not replace their assessment and intervention.

The Communication and Interaction Team are also able to give schools and settings generalised anonymised advice pre referral. This would be via phone or email. This support is in line with the SEN Code of Practice 2014. In this instance no personal details of a CYP will be shared- contact

All of the above assessment, support and intervention is available on a traded basis via NYES for children and young people who do not meet criteria for a core service, or if additional training, professional development or hands on support is needed. A “top up” service is also available to enhance a core offer, including speech and language therapy.

In addition to support from the Communication and Interaction team other professionals or agencies may be involved in supporting a CYP- the SEND hubs will allocate a keyworker who will coordinate this support and draw in other professionals if needed.

How Do I make a Request to the Service?

All requests for involvement from the Communication and Interaction Team should be made on the SEND hubs referral form.

School/setting responsibilities/Quality First teaching

Learning environment

  • Does the child or young person have the opportunity to use visual resources such as time tables, pictures or symbols?
  • Has the child or young person been given the opportunity for a sensory or self-regulation break?
  • Has the curriculum been adapted for the individual?
  • Does the curriculum overlap with the strengths of the individual?


  • Are resources accessible for the child or young person?
  • Does the child or young person know where to find resources and been shown where they are?
  • Are they clearly labelled with visuals?
  • Are the colours appropriate for the child or young person regarding sensory input?

Social environment

  • Does the child or young person have the opportunity to interact with peers?
  • Does the child or young person know how to make friends and maintain friendships?
  • Does the child or young person know how to cope with peer pressure?
  • Does the child or young person show signs of loneliness and withdrawal?


  • Has the child or young person been assessed for communication needs?
  • Does the child or young person show signs of struggling or little interaction with peers and has this been fed back to the SENCo?
  • Have staff modelled for the child or young person how to use ‘First/Then’ to help structure tasks?

Emotional wellbeing

  • Has the child been taught a range of strategies to help with emotional regulation (if this applies and is appropriate)?
  • Is the child showing signs of low mood?
  • Does the child have sleep issues?

Sensory needs

  • Does the child and adults working with them know and understand their sensory needs?
  • Has an environmental sensory audit been considered?
  • Has the child or young person been provided appropriate resources to help manage sensory needs?

References/links to associated information

Autism Strategy

Easy Read Autism Strategy

NICE Clinical Guidance 2011 - Autism - Recognition, Referral and Diagnosis - Appendix B

Autism Good Practice Guidance 2010 - Appendix D*

Autism resources

National Autism Society -

The main link for all resources for teachers can be found at

Autism Education Trust (AET) -

SLCN resources


Hungry Little Minds -

Talking Point -

Contact for more information