Next Steps Event - Thursday 25th April 5pm-7pm

Objects of reference

Objects of Reference (OoR) are objects used to represent a person, activity or event. When used, in a structured and consistent way, children will learn over time that the object represents an event, activity or a person. These objects are used to help a child to understand what is happening in their environment. They can also be used to help children make choices.

OoR 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.

They 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. 

Once the objects become objects of reference the person can begin to use them themselves to ask for activities and make choices.

Objects can be used in the form of a timetable, so the person can begin to predict the events of the day. 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.