f teaching is a vocation then working in the field of special needs is a calling.
It is that time of year when trainee teachers are finishing their placements and looking for a school to begin their teaching career in. I hope some of you consider moving into the SEN sector. It is a great opportunity to build so many essential skills. It is also a great way to get to know the child behind the label, behind the stereotypes and textbook generalisations.
Many "Sensory" resources can be created from free or existing material, bubble wrap, packaging foam, a little dot of oil on a radiator. Food is easy and usually cheap, rainbow rice or spaghetti. I am a fan of getting outside, feel the breeze, listen to the waves (my school is just above the beach). Sometimes you want something a bit different. These can be used in a sensory room or individually to encourage calming or even concentration. I would love to hear your ideas as well.
this post is specifically focused on strategies that may be effective for autistic children. This post draws heavily on the work of Damian Milton from who's writing I have learnt so much from over the last year or two. This booklet has particularly shaped my approach to teaching. Most of these strategies are really just aimed at reducing stressors throughout the day. I would like to stress these are interpreted through by teaching experience and context is very important.
Inclusive education is at the heart of education thinking in the UK but seems constantly challenged by policies such as Zero Tolerance behaviour and spending cuts that remove the support so important for our children to thrive in school.
I am aware this blog is quite niche to special education settings but I hope teachers from all settings will be able to find use for these suggestions.
In this post I am classing reluctant learners as those who often do not finish tasks, they may do the minimum to get by or even flat out refuse to take part. As inclusive teachers we constantly have to be mindful of the drivers of the child's behaviour. The key to creating engaged learners is to know the child and the barriers they face. Some issues may go deeper and require additional specialist support. A class teacher dedicated to engaging their students can have a huge impact on the students experience of education and their outcome in life. Engaging learners is as much about emotional confidence as intellectual propensity so make that bond and enable all to achieve
This is part two of our post on making sure your classroom is accessible to all learners. Part one looks at making the environment right for all learners. This post looks at the essential human aspect that changes a room into a learning space that your children want to be in. Remember the biggest influence… Continue reading Making your classroom Inclusive for all learners: Approach
This is blog post is primarily school-based and SEND focused, but can any education or care setting that strives to be truly inclusive should be able to use this as an environmental and relational approach based checklist or simple inclusion audit tool. Before you start looking at strategies or labeling a child's actions as challenging… Continue reading 13 Questions to ask to ensure you are an inclusive school.
There are many many children out there who are crying out for help. There are many dedicated, enthusiastic, creative and compassionate people who are desperate to help. These people need help, we are increasingly facing highly complex issues that very few educational professionals are equipped to deal with. I am writing this as a teacher but I know there are CAMHS workers, social workers and support staff throughout the country who are feeling like this.
If you have a recruitment crisis in your sector you work to encourage people to join that industry not make excuses for why the barriers exist.
These are purely a bank of questions you might face in interviews for leadership positions in schools and colleges. You may also like to use them if you are about to interview. Good luck!
Seeing as my most popular post is Star Wars quotes I thought why not tap into the force and write a post on Using star wars toys, games and lightsabers in the classroom. All these have links to the products but my favourite way to gather resources is to ask fellow Jedi teachers/friends to remember my little rebel alliance when having a pre-Christmas clear out.
I needed something quick and simple to support a young student through a difficult time. She was very reliant on staff to support her with very little idea ways she could help herself without getting overwhelmed. Her actions suggested she needed some prompts to think of ways to ask for help.
These are the resources I have made to use with my class to support learning about Remembrance Day this November. Poppy themed with a UK focus all use similar images and symbols . I hope they are of some use with your children.
These books are only those I have read and can recommend. They all follow an inclusive and positive support ethos. They all also focus on the only part of behaviour support we can control - ourselves. If your school has a zero tolerance behaviour policy read these and make it your mission to get that rewritten.I will get around to doing a second post but I need to get reading first!
This post will outline the role relationships play in behaviour support, I will also outline some of the research led practices I have used. Before I start I do want to say that I have read studies I do not agree with. I also know that a huge number of studies conducted ON Autistic children/adults focus on strategies intended to normalise social behaviours which is a huge ethical issue. Fortunately I have had the opportunity to listen to and discuss elements of my practice with actually Autistic academics and practitioners. This has greatly shaped my approach and ethos towards behaviour support, I will also admit this has slanted my view of a lot of studies that remove the human element from behaviour and reduce the children to purely objects to study. To this end I fully expect some of the approaches in the post and the presentation to be a bit controversial and I am 100% sure that at least some of them will contravene your school (or center's) behaviour policy.
A Guide to supporting transitions and changes with Autistic students within school. Transition is a challenge that our students face on a daily basis. These transitions take place on a range of scales. From the micro transition of switching thoughts between tasks to major physical transitions between environments. The number of individual transitions an individual will undertake throughout the day is huge. Each one may well be a source of stress and anxiety for each student. The level of this anxiety and how it is communicated to us will vary dramatically. As with all the actions of our students this stress may not be easy for us to interpret. The quotes are from Autistic people I asked but are anonymised. I know I do not include enough Autistic voice, I will strive to expand this in future posts (I would welcome your comments.)
Looking beyond “No apparent reason”. Internal Antecedents: Does Behaviour Really come "Out of the Blue?" Often overlooked, internal antecedents are an important element in behaviour support. This article is based on my experiences working with Autistic children who also communicate in ways we find challenging. We do our best to find patterns, clues and reasons… Continue reading Does Behaviour Really come “Out of the Blue?”
One of the most interesting things I found on the Twinkl site was the "create" feature, this allows you to build a range of resources from displays to interactive games to worksheets. Now I'm not the biggest fan of a worksheet but with a bit of laminating they can easily turn into a folder task. I hate seeing folders of random sheets that all use different fonts imagery etc. If I am creating a pack for a topic it is much better that all the resources have a common look and feel. It just looks more cohesive and planned.