SCERTS is an acronym for Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports.
The aspirational goal for all pupils is to become confident and competent communicators so that they are able to actively participate in social activities. Pupils who are able to communicate effectively have access to increased opportunities for play and learning and are able to participate more fully in enjoyable social relationships. In SCERTS, social communication is addressed in two areas; Joint Attention and Symbol Use.
Social Communication skills are needed to participate and learn:
• Understand intentions
• Express preferences, needs and emotions
• Share ideas and play with others
• Communicate for a variety of purposes
• Initiate interactions
• Engage in imaginative play
• Relate to peers
• Understand routines and expectations
Within Social Communication, children are placed into three partner stages:
Social Partner Stage- pre-symbolic
Children may develop the ability to communicate intentionally with gesture and/or vocalisations
Language Partner Stage-symbolic-/early language
Pupils communicate for a purpose using symbols, signs and/or words
Conversational Partner Stage
Pupils use words, phrases and sentences. They begin to learn how to engage fully in conversations. Pupils begin to develop an understanding of the feelings and thoughts of others.
This is the ability to be actively engaged and be able to adapt to different situations. The child’s ability to regulate emotional arousal so they are more able to attend to, process and filter environmental and sensory information is the focus of this section. In SCERTS emotional regulation is addressed in two areas; Mutual-Regulation and Self-Regulation.
When our children are emotionally and sensory regulated they are more likely to be ready for learning and;
- Attend to the most relevant information in an activity or setting
- Remain socially engaged with others
- Process verbal and non-verbal information
- Initiate interactions using appropriate communication strategies
- Respond to others in reciprocal interaction
- Actively participate in everyday activities
- Understand levels of emotional regulation strategies
An individual’s ability to regulate their emotions is placed into three key stages;
Children use simple motor actions or sensory-motor strategies to regulate their arousal level, remain alert, and/or self-soothe. These can include behaviours such as rocking or spinning an object and having a hand massage.
Children use words or symbols to regulate their arousal level, such as using an individual timetable or saying “It’s ok”. At this stage, children are learning about a wide range of emotions and how to deal with emotions appropriately.
Metacognitive Level (Knowing about knowing):
Child is able to think about, plan, and talk about ways of helping themselves regulate.
Transactional Support is the planned supports and strategies that adults use to help the child participate in social interactions and everyday activities.
The SCERTS programme focuses on ensuring that the adults within school provide the correct supports for children at all times in order for children to achieve set objectives. These supports take the form of:
This refers to the way that communication partners (adults or peers); adjust their language, interaction styles and how they provide models of play and behaviour for individuals.
Ensuring that the environment and activities are structured in a way that ensures social communication and emotional regulation are encouraged.
See below for more information and examples of frequently used goals...