This is a very worrying time for all with the constant changes in advice and the feeling of unknown times ahead. For our children with additional needs this can be even more so. Please continue to reassure them and try to maintain as much normality as is possible. I will over the coming weeks post any useful resources and advice I come across.
Take care of yourselves
Communication is so important.
If there is one thing that I could ask for you to do at home it would be to help develop your child's communication. You don't need any resources but I have put some links at the bottom if you would like.
These are ideas of activities recommended by the children's therapy service.
Listening and attention
Let the children run around freely. When you shout :
“red” the children must stop,
“amber” they must sit down,
“green” they must resume their running.
2. I Spy:
Play “I Spy …” using descriptions of objects, instead of first sounds of the word. For example :
“I spy with my little eye, something that we sit on.”
“I spy with my little eye, something that is under the window.”
3. Simon Says
Ask the children to draw a “listening story”, so that they listen to your instructions to complete a drawing : for example :
“Draw a big circle in the middle of your page. … Colour it pink.”
5. Draw A House:
Work in pairs. One member instructs his partner to draw a house. The person drawing should do exactly what his partner says.
Auditory Memory - can't remember what they have heard
You will need two sets of objects that make a sound, for example, rice in an empty margarine tub, two spoons to bang together, a wooden spoon to bang in a saucepan, two empty crisp bags to rustle together, … etc. Give the child one set of sound makers and keep the other for yourself. Position your sound makers so that the child can’t see them, for example, behind a cardboard box.
Play one of your sound makers and see if the child can find his same one and make the sound. If the child can’t find it, play yours again and give him a clue.
Pictures of food or real food items can be used for this game. It will be more fun if you also have a shopping bag, purse and some money.
Ask the child to fetch you something from the “shop”. Just ask for one item to begin with.
Once he has the idea of the game, ask for two food items; for example : “cake and bread.” If the child can remember two items, ask him to give you them in the correct order; for example : “bread then cake.”
If the child is successful, then ask for three items, and so on.
3. I went to …:
Begin by stating the name of the place you have been to, for example :
“I went to the zoo and saw …”
Say an animal and then gradually increase the number; for example :
“I went to the zoo and saw an elephant”
“… … … … … … and saw an elephant and a lion.”
“… … … … … … and saw an elephant, a lion and a tiger.”
4. Find the Toys:
Choose a selection of toys and place them, within sight, around the room; for example :
“ball, car, teddy, doll, book, … etc.”
Ask the child to fetch one of these toys for you. If he can do this, gradually increase the number of toys that the child has to remember.
5. Drawing Game:
You will need to divide a table in half with a screen (books or a cardboard box).
Seat the child on one side of the screen with yourself on the other, each having to hand paper and crayons or pencils.
Take it in turns to tell each other what to draw; for example :
“Draw a house”
“Put a red door on it”
“Draw three windows”
Gradually increase the length of the instruction that you give to the child.
6. Chinese whispers
7. Working behind a screen, the child explains to how to make or draw something that is in front of him.
1. Using a series of pictures that tell a story, see if the child can place them in the correct order.
2.See if the child can select either an object or picture after hearing its description. For example, a ball can be described as “black, round, bouncy” or “It’s made of rubber, and you play sports with it.”
3. Describe an item after it has been removed from sight
4. Identify an item from touch – describing as you feel the object.
5.Describe an emotion after hearing a story. Encourage more than just “happy” and “sad”.
6.Odd One Out Games: 3 objects, 1 of which does not fit, for example an apple, a lemon and a cat.
7. Naming Categories:
choose a category, e.g. animals, take turn to name things which fit this category e.g. dog, cat, fish...
Have a puppet show (puppets can easily be made from socks). Have conversations with the child pretending that the puppets are talking. Say, for example :
“What’s your name?”
“What are you doing today?”
“Where’s your mummy?”
“Have you got any friends?”
“Who are they?”
Then encourage the child to get his puppet to ask questions about yours. Say “You ask me something.” You could get the people in the family to play and model two-way conversations with the puppets.
9. Twenty Questions:
Put an object or a picture unseen into a large envelope / bag. Working round a small group of children, each child must ask questions to find out what the object may be.
The teacher models this first by allowing someone else to choose the object.
Encourage questions that proceed according to a hierarchy, that is, that become specific, for example :
a) is it something to eat?
b) is it a fruit?
c) is it an apple?
Concepts - understanding words like : in, on under, big, small...
1. Make an obstacle course for some teddies (or the child) round the room (going under or on chairs, tables, etc).
2.Play a “hide and seek” game where the child leaves the room while you hide a favourite toy in, on or under something. When he returns, tell him where the toy is (for example, “it’s under the table”) and the child finds it.
3.Draw a picture with the child and suggest putting things in, on or under other things, for example, “a cup on the table”, “a teddy under a car, with just his head poking out”.
4.Put out some coloured bricks and give the child a collection of farm animals – “Put the cow on the red brick”
5. Make up clues for a treasure hunt and then hide them round the room.
Make sure the clues follow one another logically so that if Clue 1 says “Look under the table”, Clue 2 must be hidden under the table. Put a small prize in the last hiding place.
1. Cooking is a very useful way to help develop the child’s sequencing skills. Talk about what you need to collect before you begin. Ask the child “What are we going to do next?” … etc.
2. Make up simple stories.
3. Songs and rhymes. Sing the first line – can the child sing the next?
4.Predict what may occur next in a story.
5.Using weather pictures and pictures of people in different clothes, see if the child can match the person with a weather picture
1. Wink “Go” playing “Ready, … steady, … go!” games
When you say “go”, wink or blink at the same time.
Gradually take away the verbal prompt so you are saying “Ready … steady … (wink)” – so the child has to look at you to know when they can go.
Here are a couple of resources I have downloaded from Twinkl (which is free for parents to access during lockdown) which I think are useful.
A really good activity to do at home to help with your child's reading is playing games which improve their visual skills. For example; developing eye tracking, focus, perception, attention, memory, coordination...
Examples of these activities could be
For children who are get a bit 'fizzy' , here is a website which has 150 sensory learning ideas.
Here are few useful links to help support you and your child