THINGS TO DO AT HOME DURING THE TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF SCHOOL
* Click on the LINKS within the text for further ideas/information *
We appreciate that it is a challenging time for everyone at the moment and your child is likely to be a little confused about being at home and not being in school. Understanding what is happening and what a ‘virus’ is difficult for most of our students so we’ve provided a social story that you can read with/to your child to help them understand – CORONOVIRUS STORY
Washing your hands is the best thing you can do to help stop the spread of the Coronovirus so we’ve also provided a HANDWASHING SEQUENCE to help your child to wash their hands correctly.
This is a great time for families to work together and support children in their own personal development whilst at home. To help you, we have provided some ideas for activities to do at home and some useful links to many websites that you can access with your child. Of course many other families will also be accessing these websites so demand is likely to be high so please be patient should you experience any access difficulties.
For most children with Special Educational Needs, routine and structure plays an important role in helping them to make sense of their day, know what is expected and reduce their levels of anxiety. Visual timetables are a great tool to help let the child know what’s going on but did you know they can also help with….
Developing memory and recall skills – seeing the structure of the day can help with memory skills for children who think better in pictures than in verbal language. The symbols can be retrieved from the ‘finished’ pocket to review the day and put things in time order.
Teaching organisation and independence skills – the child should be managing their own timetable. That means self-checking what they should be doing and where they should be, managing taking off of symbols and putting them in the finished pocket themselves.
Here is some information about using a VISUAL TIMETABLE. Symbols for activities at home can be downloaded from Twinkl: https://www.twinkl.co.uk/home-learning-hub
It can be very tempting to let your child slip into spending extended time playing on the computer or tablet now they are at home. Whilst playing of these can help hand-eye coordination and is of course lots of fun, it’s important to balance the amount of screen time with other types of play and learning. Here is a guide that you may find useful: BALANCING SCREEN TIME
Good communication skills are vital in all areas of a child’s development and learning to communicate is one of the most important skills that we teach in school. It would be really useful if you could try some of these activities to help develop your child’s speech and language skills….
Singing nursery rhymes together can be great fun. It can help to develop your child’s attention and listening skills as well as learning new words. Sitting directly opposite your child and being down at their level can be really helpful for developing eye contact and noticing different facial expressions. Include actions as you sing – the more times you sing and use the gestures, the more likely your child will be to copy these. Try missing a word off at the end of a familiar rhyme, can your child add it in? Here are some ideas for actions songs to try: ACTION RHYMES
Lots of children can have fun making funny sounds and using these within their play. This can be a great activity to play with your child if they are not yet saying any words. Sit in front of your child so that he/she can see your face and make it fun. Click on the link for some ideas of where to start: PLAYING WITH SOUNDS
For children that are already using words whose speech may be unclear, there are GENERAL SPEECH AND SOUND STRATEGIES you can use to help support their speech sound development.
Play is such an important skill for children to develop. They will have even more fun if you join in with them. Try and let your child choose what they want to play with. Wait and see how they would like to play with the toy. Join in by copying their play and talking alongside what you and your child are doing. Name the toys they are playing with and describe what you and he/she are doing. See the attached sheet for some ideas of games to play: IDEAS OF GAMES TO PLAY TOGETHER AT HOME
For children that are not yet ready for this level of play, a range of sensory play ideas can be found here: http://www.thesensoryprojects.co.uk/covid19-resources
Here are some ideas to practice taking turns. This is a really important skill for your child to develop – first children learn to take turns in play and then they can start to take turns in conversation. See the attached list for ideas to try with your child: TURN TAKING GAMES
Playing memory games is a great way to develop your child’s memory skills. Auditory memory is important because it helps your child to remember what has been said for long enough to understand the words. When playing these games, make sure your child is sitting calmly and is ready to listen. Try to cut down on background noise so that your child can focus on your words, e.g. turn of the TV and put your mobile phone on silent. Make this fun by playing the games attached: AUDITORY MEMORY GAMES
Use every day routines to help develop your child’s vocabulary. Name the things you play with together throughout the day e.g. ‘bubbles’, ‘car’, ‘puzzle’ and the items you use throughout daily routines, e.g. ‘spoon’, ‘cup’, ‘chair’. When it’s bath-time or time to get dressed, name body parts and clothes, e.g. ‘hands’, ‘face’, ‘jumper’. Action words (verbs) are really important too as they help children begin to link words into sentences. Name the different actions as you do them with your child, e.g. ‘we’re walking’, ‘you’re eating’, ‘washing’, ‘jumping’. See the attached sheet for some games to play to develop vocabulary skills: NAMING SKILLS
When your child is using single words, help them to start using 2 words together by adding one word on to what they are saying and repeating it back, e.g. your child says ‘bubbles’, you say ‘more bubbles’ or ‘want bubbles’; your child says ‘feet’, you say ‘wash feet’.
If your child is now using lots of single words, play the games attached to help them start putting two words together: GAMES TO ENCOURAGE 2 WORDS TOGETHER
Playing barrier games is great for helping develop both your child’s understanding (listening to your instructions) and use of language (giving you instructions to follow). A BARRIER GAMES PACK is available here.
If your child is not yet using any/many words, you can model language using an aided-language display (ALD) – a single page of symbols relevant to a specific activity – by pointing to a symbol at the same time as you say a word. We call this ‘language modelling’ and it’s really important that your child sees you using symbols to communicate if they are going to use symbols in this way too!
You can download a variety of ALDs directly from the ACE Centre website at: https://acecentre.org.uk/product-category/symbol-charts/ (in school we use the Widgit symbol boards)
The ACE Centre has also produced a short guide to getting started with symbol charts which you may find useful. It can be accessed here:
The following YouTube videos are useful in showing how to model language using aided-language displays:
Using aided language support during 1:1 session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiqYapgu69g
If you can’t get to the park and don’t have any outdoor space at home, you can help to keep your child fit and active with these great videos on YouTube:
Disney Shake Up: https://www.nhs.uk/10-minute-shake-up/shake-ups
Disney Dance-Alongs: https://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/activities/disney-workouts/
GoNoodle – https://www.gonoodle.com
PE with Joe – a daily workout for children every morning at 9.00am
Cosmic Kids – yoga and mindfulness for children
Just Dance 2018 – Waka Waka This Time For Africa – a real favourite with all our students! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCzgc_RelBA
Indoor activity ideas:
Other useful links – learning resources:
BBC Super Movers: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/supermovers
Number blocks: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/shows/numberblocks
Teach Your Monster to Read: https://www.teachyourmonstertoread.com
Topmarks – https://www.topmarks.co.uk
Newsround – https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround
Maths online – https://www.youtube.com/user/MathsOnlineAU/videos
Twinkl – https://www.twinkl.co.uk/home-learning-hub
https://symbolworld.org – lots of symbolised resources (you will need to create a free online account)
https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/books/free-ebooks/ – free ebooks to enjoy reading at home
https://www.getepic.com – sign up to access free books for 30 days
FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM:
https://twitter.com/talkslt – posting a new Attention Autism video each week.
FOR STUDENTS WITH HIGHER LEVEL LANGUAGE:
Moor House Research and Training Institute is offering its Shape Coding app free for a limited period – https://bit.ly/3a4fOuu
https://liftlessons.co/home – animated video lessons to help teach science vocabulary