Advice to Parents supporting Children and Young People with additional Needs.

Structure, routine and consistency is something as humans we rely on and for some students this is something pivotal in maintaining their positive wellbeing. Quite often school is a place that provides this each day for a child and we are now embarking on a period of time that may feel isolating, confusing and frustrating for our students. For those with additional needs there are some steps that we can take to ensure this is as supported as possible.

Over the next coming months, our SEND Team will continue to keep in regular contact with their key students and this will happen on a weekly basis across our wide range of communications systems including E-praise, Google Classrooms, Telephone Calls and E-mails. We appreciate those of you who have already engaged with this support and share in our understanding that it is crucial that as parents and carers we can continue our positive communication for the following reasons:

  • Communication between families, students and school continues to build positive relationships with school staff throughout this difficult time.
  • Students can have an adult to talk to about any work concerns they have or their wellbeing.
  • Parents/Carers can express any concerns or worries that may be affecting their child.
  • School staff can continue to have a clear insight to our pupils lives over a continued period of distance.
  • Staff can continue to provide resources, information and support around particular additional needs as well as links to the local authority.

The following areas act as advice for this current time in supporting children with additional needs at home:

1. Communication as mentioned above

2.Setting a clear, established routine for students to follow at home. Making this visual with a particular learning space set up in the home (if possible). Our usual daily routine in school is:

9:05-10:05 – Lesson 1
10:05-11:05- Lesson 2
11:05-11:25- Break Time
11:25- 12:25- Lesson 3
12:25-1:10- Lunch Time
1:10-2:10- Lesson 4
2:10-3:10- Lesson 5

Changes to routines and environments can be very difficult for students on the SEND register. At times, it will be easier to let them play on their favourite computer game or build their new Lego set. The more you embed the routine at home, the easier it will become and perhaps those fun activities can be built as part of a reward. Working for 30-minutes to gain a small reward can be very motivational for students; after all, everyone likes the sense of achievement. If any parent requires any support in setting this up in the home environment, our keyworkers will be happy to help create any of these resources such as visual timetables, reward charts to support your new routine.

3. Time to Talk- Provide your child with time to talk about their feelings and emotions and use rational explanations (to the best of your ability) to help them understand what is happening in the world right now. Try to reassure and remain positive about the ongoing situation. Again, keyworkers can provide social stories, wellbeing activities and factual/child-friendly information. Should you feel you would benefit from this, please discuss with your keyworker how they can help.

4. Positivity – There are ample opportunities for students to learn within the home during the period of social distancing and now would be a fantastic time to teach students life skills such as; cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening and DIY.  You could discuss what their next year at school may look like to begin easing any anxieties about ‘next year’ and ask that students message their keyworkers if they are becoming worried about this.

Finally, exercise is a great way to occupy the mind and body and students could become involved in mapping out your daily family walk.

For any further information regarding supporting students with additional needs, those with EHCPs and those considered as ‘Vulnerable’ please, find the government guidance through following this link.

Thank you for your continued support towards our school and SEND Department and we hope you all remain safe and healthy in the coming months.

Kirsty Gemmell

Released March 31, 2020

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