Using visuals for activities and hobbies help tasks become more enjoyable and less demanding.
It can be difficult to ask for help sometimes. When our young people (and adults) have a problem it can be difficult to work through. By breaking the problem down into chunks, this can help communicate what the issue is. This doesn’t lessen the problem, but may make it easier to work through. Regardless of how big it may appear to others, it is important to recognise how big the problem is to the person experiencing it. If we do this right, it allows for a more trusting relationship and creating a real and deep support network.
We have taken our information, as always, from the Scottish Government website. These are subject to change.
Please continue to follow local guidance.
We have now added a simplified version of how to complete the Covid Self Testing.
***Edited to fix typo***
Please follow the instruction in the booklet that will come with your testing kit. This has been created to give others an idea of what is required before getting the testing kit to ease some anxiety over what is required.
This is a resource that is aimed more at secondary aged young people. When we are trying to balance dates and tasks, it can be tricky. This resource could be used by being saved as a photo to a table and then edit photo and write in when tasks are due and what the tasks are. Alternatively it can be printed and laminated to make it easily editable.
It can be difficult to balance choice, motivation and expectations when young people feel stressed. This can be used in school or at home. Must is the bare minimum of what they can do. Should is what you would prefer them to do. Could is if they want to push themselves.
At home we would use this for tasks such as eating. e.g. you must have two slices of toast; you should have two slices of toast plus an orange juice; you could have two slices of toast plus an orange juice and an egg.
Or for getting ready
You must brush your teeth and wash your face.
You should also wash your body.
You could style your hair.
At school this could be used to break down activities. e.g.
You must complete 3 sentences.
You should complete 5 sentences.
You could complete 5 sentences and complete a wordsearch.
As always, our information comes from the Scottish Government website.
It can be really tricky to navigate childcare and work. Sometimes some families need more than one childcare option. This planner aims to help show where the young person will be going before school (or if they will be at home); where they are to go after school; who will be picking them up from their child carer and what the evening plans are e.g. going to the shops etc.
Developing conversations can sometimes be difficult. It can be hard to work out where to start. We have created these choice boards to help ask questions to find out more.
We are clearly doing something right. A relative is in the hospital ill and has seen a need for visual supports there.
This is an example of a timetable for the week to support positive mental wellbeing in children and young people.
These are examples of different fun activities that can be done around the home.
It can be very telling when asking anyone what they like about themselves. If someone has low self esteem, getting them to find one thing they like about themselves can be hard but by getting there, this is something that can be built on. Whether it is a case of encouraging them to look in the mirror and say “I like my eyes.” or getting them to use the one thing they like about themselves to recognise that there are positives about themselves.
Sometimes we can think people perceive us the same way we perceive ourselves. When someone does not think highly of themselves, it can be hard to recognise that others may see us in a more positive light. This is something that can happen at any age.
We often use words with our children or young people that they may not understand. When this is something that has a direct impact on them, it is important we give them the information. This allows them to better understand themselves. This helps improve their mental health as they recognise there is a reason for what they do or why they do something.
This is also important for other children and young people to help them to understand their peers.
These contain lots of information so have been separated by colour to allow these to be cut into smaller strips to avoid information overload.
Something no one wants is to have a positive result from a Covid test. Unfortunately for many, that is a reality. For anyone it can be terrifying but particularly for our young people. Covid affects people in different ways and we are not medical experts or have any knowledge more than basic first aid so we have based our visuals on the nhs website. (last viewed 16/01/21)
When we learn a new skill, we become more confident. Learning new skills have more than just a practical impact. To help, we have created resources to show how young people feel about what they can do on their own. This can be used to give an idea of their confidence in their own ability.
Respectfully and due to copyright issues, please ensure that you keep our ‘made by Boardmaker’ on all our work.
We’ve edited our routines page and will be including this post so that you can make up your own timetable to suit you and your family/school during home learning 2021.
The PDF and pictures can be printed and cut out.
This powerpoint can be used as an interactive resource. See our blog Interactive first and then board for more information on how to do this. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/communicationfriendlyenvironments/interactive-first-and-then-board/
This is an example of what you will see on each powerpoint once you zoom out.
Social media is a huge thing for our society. We are creating a pack to support the understanding of this and the importance of being responsible online. More resources will be added.
These could be used to enter into discussions about appropriate and inappropriate reactions on social media.
We used this for our S1s today to find out how they feel they are settling in. We wouldn’t have been able to get this type of information from them otherwise. Sometimes asking pupils how they are getting on can result in the shutdown of “fine.”, to help, we have created this to give options on answers and to help break down the whole “How are you settling in?”. This could also be used for pupils who have moved schools.
Christmas can be a tricky time- the changes of routine, the sensory changes and the gift exchange amongst many other things.
To help we are making some activities that can be completed at home or at school.
We used this alongside our emotions book.
Using a calendar can help prepare for big transitional times. You can write or draw on the blank squares to show what may be happening/where you may be going/who may be coming for a (physically distanced) visit etc.
*** UPDATE ***
We have updated our information based on the latest Scottish Government guidance. This can be found on this link – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-festive-period/(last viewed 16/12/20 @20:45pm)
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-festive-period/ (last viewed 8/12/20 @8:40pm)
In line with updated guidance, we have created some visuals based on this to help explain the bubbles.
We have created a visual that can be personalised. You can write/draw on these to show who will be in your bubble and where you may be going.
Motivating pupils for work tasks can be tricky. Some of our young people find it difficult to work, if they do not see the purpose. This can be okay and manageable at time, but at other times, this motivation to work on things they find uninteresting or lacking in purpose for them at this stage of their life, can be difficult.
To help, we use the motivation boards. We have attached some examples of what they may look like. The best ones are ones based on the pupil’s interest. We use pictures of things such as books, custard creams, favourite TV character, an image of an iPAd etc. These work best when completed individualised.
We use this for all pupils, but our target audience are pupils who are appearing to “opt out” of work tasks. It is important to recognise the pupil’s achievement. We have included an example of what we may give out jigsaw pieces for. This is deliberately rather vague as on some days, depending on how the young person is feeling, it may be enough of a challenge for them to even be in the room so if they are having a particularly challenging time, doing one task may be using up as much energy -emotionally and mentally- as it would on another day to do 5 tasks.
We need to meet them where they are at that moment.
THIS SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS A BEHAVIOUR CHART. Pieces only get removed once they have completed their jigsaw and have been given their choosing time. NEVER remove for behaviour, as this is NOT a positive/negative reward system. It is to help motivate and give a purpose to something. This focus is solely on motivation therefore to use it for motivation and behaviour gives less opportunity for achieving success.
We cut the coloured sheet in the shape of the picture then cut it into pieces. We laminate both colour and black and white sheet. Then use velcro to attach the pieces. We also attach an envelope to the bottom of the page with the coloured pieces so that the young person has access to it.
Using sanitiser can be option when washing hands isn’t available. With more and more sanitisation stations popping up, we have made a visual explanation to help explain why.
We have updated with another example of wearing face coverings.
https://www.gov.scot/news/updated-schools-guidance/ (Last viewed 1/11/20)
We have updated to included Socialising and Hospitality information for the levels.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/ Last viewed 29/10/20
We will be updating as we get the information.
For some of our young people, it can be difficult for them to not interrupt. Sometimes they have to tell you something when they remember it as it takes up too much brain power. Other times they do not know if this is something you need to know.
We will continue to upload more resources as they are ready
https://www.gov.scot/news/new-moves-to-stop-covid-19-spread/ (Last viewed 10/10/20)
Please remember to check local government guidance for up to date information.
Please remember to regularly check localised guidance for updated information. We have attempted to visualise the rules as best we can. As the rules change, it becomes more complicated for us all. Please bear in mind we are simply visualising the guidance from the Scottish Government website. We do not make them so are unable to answer any questions relating to them. Please contact your local elected official for these answers.
We’ll be adding more resources for place value in the coming weeks.
We will be updating with activities for learning about different parts of speech.
Here we are going to be adding some Visual Explanations to help explain different situations that may arise. Visual Explanations are what we use to help develop understanding, perceptions and development of communication. All behaviour is communication so we would use these alongside analysis of communication, sensory processing and environmental factors.
Colours of symbols are used to show how these can be printed and cut into strips so that young people are not overwhelmed by too much information. This would depend on the young person. With some young people, we would use this as a poster and refer throughout the day. For other young people we would cut them into strips so they can be taken to other areas more easily.
PDF versions can be downloaded by clicking on the blue underlined words.
Please note we are visualising the guidance only. We have no input nor access to further information. Please contact your local elected representatives if you have any questions.
These are the visuals we have created based on the speech from the first minister. This can be found in the link below. Please make sure you check localised guidance regularly for the most up to date information. We are only visualising the information and only have the information from the speech and the government website. Therefore we cannot answer any questions in relation to the change of rules or what they mean.
“How was school today?” One of the most challenging questions to ask. As parents, we never know what the response will be. For some of our children and young people, it can be hard to articulate. For others, school is finished and they have already experienced it. It is present in their mind and they have the knowledge. It can be hard for them to recognise that we haven’t experienced the same as them, therefore we do not know. For others, they are so exhausted that they cannot bear to talk about it.
To help, we have created a couple of resources. We would laminate these resources for our children/pupils and use a whiteboard pen. This can help take away some of the anxiety and give you some information.
Over the next few weeks, we will be adding in different literacy resource packs. These can be used for whole class/individuals.
In our class we laminate them and add them to our literacy folder for pupils to use independently while the teacher is working with others.
We have updated this blog to include Adults Wearing Masks in Schools.
This visual is to support the understanding of where to wear masks in school based in the Scottish Government Guidance. Information based on the above guidance from the Scottish Government.
We will build this up over the next few weeks. Resources can always be adapted to include the use of consistent visuals. Each pack follows a similar layout in order to provide consistency and to relieve anxiety of new things!
We are quite excited about our half past resource! We think it’s better than our original o’clock one! Sorting am and pm requires cutting along the line.
Remember to click the blue words on our blog to open up the PDF version.
Returning to school, it is so important to hear pupil’s voice. We have adapted our SHANARRI work to suit the needs of different pupils. This is what we are currently using in class. Pupils cut and stick to show how they feel and what makes them feel this way.
It can be difficult for some of our young people to organise what they need for a full day of school. To support them, we have created a powerpoint that can be used at home/school and printed. This could then be attached to a keyring and kept on the young person’s bag.
To use, click and download the powerpoint. Open on a computer/tablet and copy and paste/move the visuals to make up the individual timetable for each day. Remember times may differ for each school/authority so please double check times before hand.
This is an example of how it could look.
Secondary timetables interactive – Powerpoint
Many of our returning pupils ( and adults) may experience anger next week but may not be able to explain why. Recognising this and supporting them, will provide positivie opportunities to develop self help strategies for life long skills.
angry– Downloadable version
It is so important in schools that we all know the best ways to support our pupils. This activity below can be printed and written on or downloaded and typed. Another option is to download to powerpoint and use the visuals. Visuals can be seen and understood quicker by most brains so benefits everyone…staff included.
Symbols can be dragged on to show what sensory issues staff need to be aware of. Daily requirements such as using overlays or a first/then board can be included. Extra information might include details of calming strategies or where to find required resources etc.
Below is an example of how this might look.
When we look at situations, we often see the behaviour. It is crucially important that we look beyond the behaviour and look at the reason for the behaviour. There will always be one.
When working with our new neuro-divergent children and young people, this needs to be concerned before we react. We also need to look at developing their self awareness. These resources are to further develop this.
Returning to school can be tricky. As teachers, having a bank of easy to use and adapt resources is key for the first few days any year, but this year these resources need to be adapted to include a greater focus on supporting the emotional needs and mental health needs of our pupils. To help with this, we will be adding in resources over the next few days.
This resource can be used as an interactive activity on a smart device. (see our previous posts on how to do this.)
It is about opening up how our children/young people feel. It is an activity that can be used as a one off or on a more regular basis.
We have also made one for older teenagers/adults.
As the return to school is fast approaching. many of our pupils (and staff) will be feeling a range of emotions. Due to the length of time that has passed, we need to be so aware of ensuring that we are all aware of the emotions being experienced by those around us. These are challenging times for adults. We cannot begin to imagine how challenging this is for some of our children and young people. Some may react in ways we would not expect. Some of our children and young people may cope better than expected while others less so.
We need to support them as they need it.
It can be really tricky for some of our young people to understand seeing people out of context. With guidance beginning to relax, having visitors coming into their homes or them going to visit in others’ homes can be difficult to understand. To support this, we have created an interactive board. This can be either printed or saved to a tablet that has powerpoint or keynote. Please note this opens on a computer on powerpoint.
Instructions are at the bottom of this post.
We have included some resources to support routines at home. At the bottom of the post there is some advice on how to support communication.
These are some examples of place you may go or what you may do.
Below are blank day boards. You can add Velcro to the boards or use tac to make them reusable. You can use one strip or the full day board.
Below is an example of a week board. This could be used to show upcoming events for the week or could be used to show where child/young person will go e.g. school-club-home etc.
Below is a first and then/now and next board.
Depending on the stage of development of your child/young person photographs or objects may be more appropriate. For example use a first and then board and place a spoon on first and a duplo block on then. Once you have done this, you would use speech while pointing/touching “First Breakfast (point to spoon). Then Blocks (point to block).”
When using visuals, objects or photographs the verbal is as important to help the child/young person to make the connections and support brain development and processing skills.
Some more visuals to support the latest Scottish Government Guidelines.
This year the summer holidays are going to be different than previous years. There are so many things we can do to keep the summer holidays fun. So we have created a Bucket List for families to try! This may not be appropriate for all families, as always, these are just some ideas! We have a million more so might make another one up!
Many people enjoy looking through photo albums or have wee boxes or folders of memories and keepsakes. This is important for our children and Young People too. We have created this wee booklet (Click the blue underlined words to open our PDF) that can work as both a transition document and a keepsake. Each year pages 3 and 4 could be printed and added to their booklet.
This resource could be used as part of the transition at the end of P7, over the holidays or as part of the first week of S1.
Applying for a job can be difficult at any age. This could be used for adults, young people or as part of developing the workforce.
Many of our parents are concerned about how their children and young people will cope with their return to school. Schools are working incredibly hard to try and get everything worked out to ensure everything is ready for our children and young people on their return in August. Everyone is working with the unknown. To try to help, we have made up a wee booklet that some of our parents have been asking about.
Returning in September? Use these pages instead!
Continuing on from our previous post about teaching about perception, this is our next piece of work towards it.
For many of our young people and friends, a day seems like a long time. To ease anxiety, breaking the day down into managable steps can help.
As we look at blended learning, using a visual timetable to support understanding is hugely beneficial. We have tried to create as many different possible timetables as we can, but have also created a blank one to be printed and used as an editable example. More to follow!
Suddenly realised how difficult it is to tie a tie when we tried to visualise it. Here it is…we hope!!
Facing bereavement can be difficult at any stage of our life. For our children and young people, they may react in ways we would never expect. Or they may react exactly as we thought. It can be hard to prepare for whether it is sudden or expected. There are lots of excellent resources out there to support and explain to our young people.
Here are a couple of our examples.
Many of our young people and older children are concerned about Covid-19. Again, using our understanding of the value of facing fear with facts.
This is important to only use the bits that are relevant and appropriate for your young person/ child. You know them best. If the example of the shop would mean they won’t want to go to a shop, then cut that bit off.
Thinking of returning to school, many of our schools are concerned about how to explain the new rules we have to follow. To help, we have made some signs up and will add visual instructions later.
It is so important that we acknowledge the fears of our young people. Talking them through these fears and recognising their validity gives the young person the chance to reconcile with how they are feeling. Facing these fears with facts can also help.
Black Lives Matter.
Remember, use only what is appropriate for your children/young people. Some of this may be upsetting so please use appropriately.
Anyone who follows our blog regularly will be aware that we make resources to support communication. Part of communication is understanding. Many people are trying desperately to understand what is happening in the world right now. Our children and young people too. We have based referenced our research below.
We have attempted to explain what ‘Black Lives Mean’ as best as we can. We are listening and we are learning.
This post contains some differentiated visual explanations about vaccines.
When it comes to story writing, many of our children and young people have fantastic ideas but can find it difficult to process these ideas and focus on the physical requirements of forming each letter and word to make up the sentence of story. How many times do we find that asking the child or young person about their story or essay,they are able give us so much more than we see on their page?
To help with this, we have created sentence boards, where the pupil would select the image they want (these can easily be tailored to suit individual pupils likes/interests.
For those pupils who find it hard to start, we have the choice boards.
PDF available here Story Support
There are many things people learn naturally. Others are that are specifically taught. Some are straight forward and others are more difficult.
Trying to get someone to take on board that someone else may have a different point of view or perception that is just as valid as their own is a tricky one.
We will be adding more resources to this in the coming weeks and months as many people will need this to be repeated and taught again.
We know (from personal experience) how difficult it can be moving into Phase 1. The rules are similar but a little different. We have made a wee story to try to help explain it.
We recognise that with new guidance from the Scottish governments, some people may find it difficult to understand new rules or may find it difficult to understand other’s perceptions of these. To combat this, we have made up a couple of resources to help.
We will continue to update this as and when we can.
It can be hard for some people to get dressed. Having to process the order correctly and ensure they have what they need can use up a lot of brain power. Some days could be easy and other days it could take a long time.
To help with this, we are going to make some visuals that take off some of the pressure.
Labelling drawers- Using visuals rather than having to rely n memory is one of the easiest ways to help relieve some of the pressure. Seeing where the items you need are, can make a huge difference.
We have been looking at some resources to support pupils once they are in school.
As a teacher, I would print this out in black and white or give a small version to pupils to keep. Once the taught lesson to introduce how to use the letter, what sound it makes and what the letter name has happened. I would cover that letter with a coloured version. See picture below for example.
You may want to introduce vowels.
Your learners may prefer something more subtle.
You may want it to be colourful.
These are just some of our suggestions. We have included the PDF file below which contains all of these images.
Many of our family and friends are visual learners. As we have has discussed many times before, visuals are easier to process and understand for many. We are currently visualising the Scottish Government’s phased approach to varying restrictions due to Covid-19.
We are also making up communication boards to show what you can do during each phase.
Everyone is concerned about returning to school. We have made a wee booklet to help. We would also suggest that staff begin now by playing games online with pupils such as “Guess the staff behind the mask?” Take a picture wearing a mask and post in on social media or make a booklet. Show pictures of staff wearing masks and staff not wearing masks. Encourage the children and young people to see the mask as something that isn’t scary. Many of our pupils will struggle with the change in physical appearance, but we will continue to update our blog with more ideas to support them.
Questioning and answering is an essential and natural part of communication. For some it can be difficult because the brain has to work too hard to process the information and then find an appropriate response. Having sentence starters can help.
We have made a pack of sentence starters that can be used as small cards or mini posters.
Emotions can be a tricky business. We all experience them, but our experience of them differs based on our past and our interpretation of situations. Sometimes we can feel sad but it is a small emotion, other times it is all consuming. Our children and young people experience this too. We need to find ways to help them experience and feel those emotions, without them causing distress or trauma. Sometimes distractions are helpful to allow the opportunity to feel and process the emotion without confrontation or without the emotion being registered as a different feeling. How many times does embarrassment become anger?
We have decided to collate all of these resources into one post for ease of access. Each emotion has a list of suggestions, other words that are used to describe the emotion and a blank page to create your own coping strategies or distractions. We have included emotions such as calm and happy. It is important that we all know what we makes us feel calm and happy as that naturally becomes a coping strategy.
PDF Available below
Lots more games are taking place outdoors just now. I am sure like our families, there are debates about the rules! Have no fear! Here are some visualised games that, secretly at least, most of us love to play!
Are there any others you can think of?
We spend more time with ourselves than we do with anyone else.
This may seem like an obvious statement, but it is important to consider what it means. How many times do we talk of others and say “if only they could see themselves the way others see them!” ? There are so many statements and quotes that you will find out there that go along the same lines. These are important.
If we are in a room full of people we don’t like, we feel uncomfortable and desperate to escape. If we spend more time with ourselves than anyone else, then what happens when we don’t like ourselves? We can’t escape.
We have to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. This comes over the course of a lifetime, but needs to start at a young age. Of course, as we grow and mature we recognise that we can change things we don’t like. We can learn to be more patient. We can restyle our hair. We can learn to play an instrument. There is an importance though in recognising when to stop changing. We often tell our children and young people, “not to change for anyone else”. The idea of how valuable it is to be comfortable in our skin.
This can be used by all ages and is important that as adults, we stop and take check of how we view ourselves. Focusing on even just one thing for each column and talking about it and the why it has been chosen will help. It can be used at home or at school. It could be used as something to be given to teachers as an introduction to children or as part of health and wellbeing lessons!
As adults, we want to build up our children’s self confidence. To do this, we must be honest. If they are a rotten dancer (yip that’s me), don’t tell them they are the best. Use statements like “I like how you moved your hand there”. Allow them to dance just because they want to and not so that they are the best. Let them dance without commenting on it! Join in with them and talk about how much fun you are having! By telling our children they are the best at everything, when they discover they are not, they can start to doubt themselves and us.
Build their confidence by telling them the things they truly are good at. Talk about their personality traits that matter. So often we talk about avoiding commenting on your child’s looks, but it is important to tell them- particularly as they get to their teenage years. If they have beautiful eyes, tell them that. Just make sure that it isn’t only their looks we talk about as ‘beautiful or handsome”.
If we teach them their value and continue to instil this in them as they grow, we are giving them something to fall back on when they fall our with friends, or are struggling to do long division or if a relationship breaks or they lose their job or there is another lockdown. Instilling in them, their worth is so important for today and every day of their lives.
Over the past couple of months, we have created and posted lots promoting positive mental wellbeing. We know there are so many people struggling and we aim to ensure that our children and young people grow up with a better awareness of themselves so that they can develop and use their own coping strategies. This will, hopefully allow them to have improved mental health as they grow to become adults. Mental wellbeing can deteriorate and any age, but with the right support, can also improve at any age. Below is something we have aimed at older children, teenagers and adults.
We know learning new skills can be difficult. Not all learning needs to be academic. Learning life skills are vitally important. At any stage of our life. we may have to relearn some of these skills. These visuals can help support new learners or re-learners! As always, our visual supports are about promoting independence and building confidence.
Wearing masks can be very frightening for some people. As we mention in our previous posts (Masks), this can be due to many reasons.
It can be very difficult to explain social distancing to anyone who finds it difficult to understand. We have created some resources to try to help. We are not going into details of Coronavirus and do not mention it. These resources have been created with the idea of returning to school. At the moment we are still following the Stay Home Save Lives advice so please continue to use this!