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Objects of Reference

The Objects of Reference (OoR) approach uses objects that have particular meaning and refer to a person, object, location or event.  For example a spoon to represent lunch time.

It can be used with those who have complex disabilities and find it hard to use speech, signing, photographs and symbols to communicate.  OoR’s are especially useful for those with a multi-sensory impairment.

OoR’s increase a pupil’s understanding and awareness of the world around them, help them make choices, anticipate what might be coming next and develop early thinking skills.

OoR’s should be used consistently and as often as possible to reinforce meaning to the object used.  Some pupils will need individual objects that have meaning just for them. 

Photographs, symbols, signing and spoken word can and should be used alongside OoR’s as the young person using them may be able to move on to a different form of communication in the future.