Support for parents/carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability during the Covid19 pandemic.
For children with SEND the present situation as a result of the Covid19 pandemic can be particularly difficult. The destruction of familiar routine and structure being imposed on them may result in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
In addition to the work pack and suggested timetable from class teachers here are some additional ideas that may be useful in promoting calm and wellbeing.
There will obviously be a time of adjustment for home to become a place that is also now school. Having a routine that is as similar to school as you can make it will help.
- Having a timetable displayed visually will create some structure and expectation for the day.
- Keep the time spent on work tasks from your child’s pack short and achievable. Depending on your child’s concentration aim for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Break up the work task into chunks. It may be you briefly list the expectations with a clear beginning and end on a post it and let your child tick off as they complete. This will encourage independent working. When the task is completed don’t be tempted to ask them to do a bit more!
- When the task is complete reward with a motivating activity of your child’s choice for an agreed time span.
- Try and use short precise language, break down instructions into chunks. Give your child plenty of time to process and respond. If the instruction needs repeating do so using the same language. Visual representations e.g. sketches or symbols are a great scaffold to an activity and aid to memory and understanding.
- Throughout the day (every 15 minutes) plan regular short breaks where your child is doing sensory, mindfulness or fine motor activities.
Sensory breaks give the brain time to rest and reset.
- Physical activities e.g. running, jumping, climbing stairs, jumping onto a cushion (crash pad), balancing games, wall push ups, throwing into/at a target.
- Sensory play e.g. water, sand, playdough, paint, cornflour and water, blowing bubbles, rice, cooked noodles, pasta or jelly in a feely tray. Retrieving objects hidden in rice with eyes closed.
- Listening to music, playing an instrument and dancing.
Mindfulness can help minimise anxiety and increase happiness by paying full attention to something, slowing down and relaxing
- Sit on the floor with your legs comfortably crossed in front of you. Open your left hand and extend it slightly in front of you so it looks like an open starfish. Take your right hand and extend your pointer finger. Beginning with your left thumb, take your right pointer finger and go up the outside thumb while taking a deep breath in. Go down the inside of the thumb and breathe out deeply. Continue the deep
breathing in while going up each finger and
- Sit on the floor in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take some slow deep breaths in and out. Picture a bright, shining sun smiling at you. Feel the sun on your face. Breathe slowly and let the sun warm your face. Imagine the sun warming your shoulders and back. Imagine the sun warming your arms. Continue to breathe in and out slowly and calmly. Imagine the sun’s warmth spreading to your legs. Finally, feel the warmth all the way in your fingers and toes. Slowly stretch your arms overhead and your legs and feet out in front of you. Take a deep breath in and bend over towards your feet. Slowly exhale and sit back up. Take one more deep breath in and out and slowly open your eyes.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms gently resting by your sides. Slowly raise your arms and take a deep breath in. Try to breathe in until your hands reach each other over your head. Breathe out slowly while lowering the hands. Visualize the beautiful rainbow you are making. Repeat 5 - 10 times. Each time you breathe in imagine you are adding another colour to your rainbow. What colours are you adding to your rainbow? Once your rainbow is done slowly open your eyes.
Fine Motor Skills Activities
- Threading- beads, pasta, buttons
- Attaching pegs to a washing line, paper plate
- Tearing newspaper into strips, scrunching into balls
- Picking up small items with tweezers, sorting objects and coins
- Turning over coins, cards without bringing them to the edge of the table.
- Scissor activities- cutting up junk mail, making a fringe, cutting strips
Twinkl Home Learning Hub has a section for SEND resources. Each day you'll find a new set of daily activities to get involved with. Qualified Twinkl teachers will provide book readings, live lessons, positive news updates and more. Activities will be listed the day before - giving you enough time to get prepped and set up for the next day's learning.
Please do not hesitate to get in contact via phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of any assistance or support in any way.
Stay safe and well and have fun!
See you all soon
Liz Cooper (SENCO)