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Athelney Primary School

Success for today; prepared for tomorrow. Nothing is beyond our reach.


SCERTS (Prizant et al, 2006) is a way of everyone who knows the child best working together. The child the best chance of succeeding by staying calm and able to communicate. 


SCERTS helps focus on what your child most needs to communicate stay calm and be ready to learn.


Social Communication (SC): to develop their day-to-day communication 


  • doing things with other people (joint attention) 
  • telling us things in a way we understand (actions, gestures, pictures or words).

Emotional Regulation (ER): to be able to stay calm and attentive


  • ways they keep themselves calm alert - for example by movement or sounds  
  • ways we help them and they know they can get help from us

Transactional Support (TS): teachers/ caregivers/parent role


  • strategies you use - such as offering choices, being at the child’s level
  • changes you make to environment, routines and activities to ensure success for your child - for example using an object to show your child what happens next.  


I also have these descriptions of the partner stages. FYI I always include the appropriate description in my reports on children, parents are likely to have seen them already.


The Social Partner Stage is when intentional communication is emerging.  Children at the Social Partner Stage need motivating materials and many daily opportunities to initiate interactions. This could be by bringing a Perspex box with something highly motivating inside to an adult to open, making a choice, or playing a ‘people game’ such as tickling.  Parents and staff can encourage the child’s initiations by making activities great fun and responding to their subtle forms of communication.   


The Language Partner Stage is when language is emerging. Children at the Language Partner Stage need many daily opportunities to increase the range of spontaneous communication involving others (e.g., requesting actions and social routines, commenting on actions, and sharing experiences with others), and increase the range of word combinations for subject + verb (e.g., “Sarah open the biscuits,” “Jason play basketball,” “Mum pour the juice.”).  They also continue to need opportunities to use conventional gestures with shared meaning (e.g. looking, giving, pointing, pushing away, head nods, and head shakes).  


The Conversation Partner Stage is when the child is using creative language to communicate and learning how to succeed in a range of social settings.  Children at the Conversational Partner Stage need many opportunities to increase spontaneous communication with their peers and a sense of self efficacy, and learn to understand other’s thoughts and feelings.  This child needs us to embed motivating themes (e.g. music, video) and provide visuals for success in group activities.  The critical priority is to ensure that their interest and motivation is not met with repeated failures.  We accomplish this by continuing to build relationships and encouraging frequent and positive interactions with peers.   


*The SCERTS Model L Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin & Laurent, 2007 is an approach for children with social communication difficulties, some of whom may have or go on to have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Dis

order. There are three partner stages: Social, Language and Communication partner. Children progress at different rates and have different needs at different stages.