We will be building up more resources over the next few months.
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!
Many of our families and schools have been in contact raising concerns about how some young people and children may react to having to wear a mask. There is so much uncertainty at the moment that everyone is feeling. Children and young people are feeling this too.
For some people, seeing someone wearing glasses for the first time or having their hair cut can have change the way they see the person and they may not recognise them immediately. Their brain is having to process too much at once. No matter how well they may know the person, change in look is a huge thing to process. Normally, saying “I am going for a hair cut” or ” I have had my hair cut/am wearing new glasses” etc can help with this transition.
Another way to help prepare for change is to make up games. Perhaps cut photographs up of people’s face. Cut the face into three and then swap noses onto different people or mouths or eyes.
We have also visualised a game using a mirror to help.
We have mentioned in previous posts about the importance of using visuals to support independence. We have also looked at the importance of breaking down instructions. To help with this, we are making some resources to visualise activities to promote independence in helping around the house. Our PDFs are beside the photos in blue text and underlined.
Setting the Table
We have included a blank example and the visuals you may need to make your own. Not everyone uses place mats and napkins. Use what works for you and your family.
Washing the Dishes
Just a wee treat for you all! Anyone else had that experience of being at a party and the dance floor fills up when a certain song comes on but you can’t figure it out. Here are some of our go to dances that are sure to get the dance floor busy! Why not learn one as a family? More to follow!
PDF AVAILABLE HERE The Slosh
All issues have now been resolved! If using a computer, click on the PDFs at the bottom of each blog post.
Thanks for all your patience! Take care!
We know how difficult (and expensive) working from home can be. So we have been looking at resources that can be made from every day items found around the house. Let us know what you think! Remember this isn’t about perfection – which is obvious if you look at our homemade resources – it is about the involvement and the engagement. It is about the fine motor skills in the cutting, writing and posting; It is about the processing of sorting into categories. It is about fun!
Many of our children are due to start school in August. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out with our control, the normal transition programme is unable to go ahead. We have created booklets that can be edited by each school and sent home, and a booklet for families to fill out and share with schools!
This is similar to our Now/Next and First/Then Boards. You can use this on a smart phone or tablet by downloading PowerPoint or keynote etc. Then stretch the page to see all the visual and using your finger drag what you need onto your shopping list. This also work if you are shopping for someone who cannot leave their house. They would simply screenshot their shopping list and send it as a photo.
Click the link below to download.
Following recipes is a great way to develop processing skills. It can be used at all ages and stages.
PDF Version available here recipes
Card games are hugely popular. Using visuals alongside verbal and written rules make them easier to explain and understand.
We will be adding more resources to this blog post so please comment with other games you would like to see visualised.
PDF Version Available here card games
Beginning a conversation can be difficult. Sometimes we want to talk but our brains are too busy processing to find the starting point. These tables below can be used to help. They can be used using open questions such as “What do you like about ___” or closed questions “Do you like…” These can be used to support people who communicate only with their eyes or who can point. They can also be used with people who have no issues verbally but sometimes struggle when nervous.
As adults, how great would these be in situations such as job interviews, when your nerves take over?
We will continue to add more.
PDF Version available here Conversation Boards
Having a shopping list is great for all ages. It means that you can shop for just what you need, you won’t forget anything or to keep others on track during the shopping visit.
When there are times that shopping trips for necessity need to become a single person (or single parent) event, having other members of the household create a shopping list can allow them some normality by making them feel part of the experience. Allowing your young person/child/partner/elderly relative to write or draw their shopping list gives them indepedence and control. (See our previous posts about the importance of control)
For some of our family and friends who are experiencing health issues – particularly associated to memory, we use these images below which we stick on to each appliance. Once we have completed the shopping we add visuals (or write words) to show what is inside the fridge/freezer/cupboard. Once the item has run out ( for example the milk) the visual (or word) is added to the shopping list.
PDFS Available here Shopping List
This is a story that can be used by all ages.
This pack was designed to support Autism Awareness Week in schools. Each link comes with a lesson plan, list of required resources and the tasks linked to plan.
This PowerPoint was created by an autistic child who wanted to help people understand what autism means to him. He has given his permission to share this and hope it helps.
This PowerPoint was used to try to explain how the brain works for Primary children but can be used for all ages. Although the title is Autism Awareness Week, it can be used at any time.
We recognise the need to support communication at all stages. This resource could be used in hospitals, care homes or by carer who visit people in their home. The size can be edited in word, publisher and powerpoint (or any other suitable application). They can be printed out or put onto a SmartPhone or Tablet.
PDF Available here Tea and Coffee
Sometimes we can forget that moving from Primary 1 to Primary 2 or Primary 5 to Primary 6 can be just as upsetting, challenging and/or confusing as moving schools. Here are some resources we use to help.
Pri to Pri Single Page
Our last post gave instructions on how to make your own board on a tablet or smart phone. This post will include examples and some of the symbols and resources you may need. Remember to save as image (if using a smart phone or tablet) or right click and save as picture (if using a computer).
First and then board
Getting Dressed Symbols
Tidy room symbols
First and Then chore boards
These boards have the chores on them, they are both the same except one board uses the words ‘now/next’ and the other uses ‘first/then’.
First and Then getting dressed boards
Tidy Room Boards
Some of our families and many of our schools use first and then boards or now and next boards. Whether you call them first and then or now and next, it doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent. If you do go between the two, remember you have to explictly teach that first/now mean the same and then/next mean the same.
Did you know that you can create your own interactive one on a tablet or smart phone? All you need is to download Powerpoint (or Keynote etc) onto the tablet or phone.
We will upload a couple of examples here that you can download by clicking on them or if there is a particular one you need, leave us a comment and we can make and send you it.
Step 1. Download Powerpoint (or Keynote etc) to Tablet or Phone.
Step 2 : Click now and next for an example board.
Step 3: Once the page opens, zoom out so that you can see all of the symbols.
Step 4: Drag and drop the symbols onto space you want it to be in.
Step 5 : Zoom in so you can only see the now/next and required symbols.
NB If using an iPad or iPhone check guided access is on in settings (you will find this under General – Accessibility-Learning-Guided Access). If you turn this on, you can effectively lock the screen so the child/young person can only have access to the board. (triple click the home button to activate and deactivate)
This information is designed for teenagers and adults in order to gain more understanding about what being autistic means.
My brain processes communication differently so I may need you to change the way you say something, how long our communication lasts or how long it takes for me to answer you.
Sometimes I know you are talking to me, but I cannot focus on what you are saying because my brain is trying to process too much information.
I may not look at you because looking at you means my brain has to process how you look and try to work out what your body language and face is saying.
My brain has to work really hard to do this, so sometimes in order to process what you are saying I won’t look at you.
I may misunderstand situations with others and it may take me time to move on from this.
For example I may become upset if you ask me to be quiet because my brain processes that as me being given into trouble. I have to work through this
process and might need help.
I may base my communication on past experience which means that sometimes I may react in an unexpected way.
For example if someone has laughed when I have said or done something before, I may expect others to react the same way.
This works the other way too -if someone laughs at something I say or do and that is not my past experience, it may take me time to move on.
If someone reacts differently to what I expect, my brain starts trying to work out why the reaction was different.
If you are asking a group I am in to do something, I may not initially process that you are asking me to do something too so I may respond slightly later than others.
These are some of the most common questions we have been asked during transitions to High School.
Hi everyone! We are so excited to see our blog is being received around the world!
Please leave us a comment to let us know where you are from and what else you would like to see on our blog?
Take care and stay safe!
We have previously spoken about the importance of giving children and young people the name of emotions as this helps to validate the feeling and to give them some control over it. We are going to be adding more emotion resources below as we have them ready. This resource offers children and young people strategies to help them to cope when they feel a certain way. Sometimes it is about focussing on a distraction until the emotion feels smaller. This allows children and young people the opportunity to be able to face and deal with their emotion appropriately.
It is important that once children and young people have worked through this, they can edit this and add in the strategies that work for them. So we are including blank sheets too.
We have spoken so much about the impact of anxiety on children and young people (and on parents). We are now going to look at different coping skills. Today our focus is on those who need to work. Just like adults, there will be children out there who cannot face school work yet. That is okay! This is a slow process, we have time. We do not need to apply pressure if that is going to make them feel worse. We allow them to develop and use their own coping strategies. If they don’t have any, we help them by showing them what we do to cope. We allow them breaks from their anxiety by having fun – timing one another to see who can wear the most clothes at once; going for a walk and pretending every piece of litter is an animal in the jungle that we have to sneak past and not waken; building lego; watching a movie; having a bubble bath. There are so many things we CAN do.
For others, the need to work is there. For some they are experiencing huge anxiety and need to work to distract themselves. This is their coping strategy and is okay as long as they also take the time to deal with their anxiety. Some children and adults work because they enjoy it. This is okay too!
We are attaching a document below for those who want to or need to work. It is a focus on literacy and looking at nouns, verbs and adjectives. Attached are photos so can be done on a tablet by saving to photo and editing.
Page 1 is a visual to show what a verb. noun and adjective is.
Pages 2-9. If you save as photo. Open in your tablet/smart phone and click edit. Now you can circle, underline or draw lines to match as appropriate.
PDF Available here Noun Verb Adj Task
Remember this is not about pressure, it is about relieving anxiety. So do as much or little as you want. Most importantly, take care of yourself!
So much of what we are doing is focusing on easing anxiety and maintaining relationships. Many schools and parents are finding it hard to keep the link with home and school. This isn’t about recreating school at home, but at looking at a different perspective of education.
Some children will, no matter how hard we try, still be experiencing anxiety or stress. Some children will need the routine of ‘doing school’ while others will need to do something entirely different from school. Some parents will be worrying that their child will be falling behind their peers; others will be exploring others ways to learn. Some parents didn’t have good experiences of school when they were young, so for them to try to re-enact this may be causing them more stress.
All school use GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) to ensure we are supporting children the way they need to be supported. We have tried to adapt these to help break down some of the confusion, worry and stress. We have broken down what is called the indicators to try to make sense of How Right You Are Getting It.
You are doing a great job.
Look at all that you are doing right!
PDF AVAILABLE HERE SHANARRI
Many of us will be struggling with being out of physical contact with others. Those working from home are having to find new ways of keeping in contact with their colleagues. Those with elderly relatives are having to talk to them through a window or avoid them altogether. As adults, with fully formed brains, this is difficult. If we are finding it hard, then so must many of our children and young people.
It is so important to allow them opportunities to work on the relationships that are important to them. Whether it is that they facetime a grandparent; send a photograph to a friend; or send an email to their teacher. The relationships that our children and young people have built are important to them. Finding a way to stay connected will help ease some of their anxiety.
You will know your child/young person and will know what they can cope with. If Social Media is too big a responsibility for their brains to cope with then as adults we give them another way to do it.
Perhaps we add the other child’s parent to our own social media account and we allow them to message one another that way or maybe they have to try to describe the jigsaw puzzle they have made using only 8words.
Giving them something to focus on when using social media can help them to feel trusted and secure.
Agree beforehand how long they will be able to use social media and stick to it. Ensure their friends will be on at the agreed time by contacting their parents.
Stay vigilant. Although your child/young person may be able to use social media, they cannot control how other people use it.
Sharing experiences is vitally important for maintaining relationships. Doing similar things – such as the 30day lego challenge- allows for shared experiences. They can set one another a challenge such as building a tower using only red lego bricks – a challenge doesn’t always have to be competitive. The challenge can be texted from one parent/carer to another and photos shown as evidence.
There are lots of ways to help bolster connections.
It is just as important for children and young people to have positive relationships as it is for adults.
PDF AVAILABLE HERE Maintaining Relationships
It can be difficult for some children and young people to focus on hygiene and what it means. Sometimes they are too excited to start the day, or continue to play that they rush their washing in the shower or bath. Sometimes they are too stressed that their brain cannot break down each step that is needed to ensure they have washed themselves. Sometimes we use songs when they are young to help them. As babies, we often sing to them in the bath as we explain washing. If you think of the nursery song “round the mulberry bush” we sing “this is the way we wash our…”. We sing and we model or show young children how to do it.
As they get older, we stop. But sometimes they still need a bit of help. Using a visual works both as a prompt and as a way of building independence. They can get washed thoroughly in private while still having a reminder to help them how to do it.
Below we have three options. For many reasons, so people may wish to use the phrase ‘whole body’ whereas others will require more specific. You can choose. You can use it as is, or you can print and cut then re-order the steps into an order that would better suit your child/young person. This can also be used for older people who are having issues with memory. As with many of our Independence Promoting Visuals, these can be used at any stage of life.
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More and more of our children and young people are starting to settle into this new normality. At home, you may start to see dips in their moods and in behaviour. This is because they are trying to cope. The novelty of “home schooling” is starting to wear off and they will be missing their normal lives. They need something to look forward to each day. It could be something big or something small.
You could write, draw or stick a symbol to show one thing each day that is exciting!
Below we have some activities to give you some ideas. This is about using items that are already around the house. It is about doing things that don’t involve spending money.
Choose a wall in your house and stick up pictures that you and your family make. You can add a piece of paper below with a title and artist’s name to give it more of a professional feel. Remember this is about your family, not perfection! Put up those pictures of a yellow circle that your three year old has told you is a picture of a dolphin!
Use ingredients around your house to bake something. This is about taking the time as a family to make memories. How it tastes, is not as important as taking the time to laugh together as you try to pick out the eggshells!!
Run a bubble bath (use liquid soap if you don’t have bubble bath). Take the time to relax and soak in the bubbles. If you don’t have a bath, use a basin with warm water and bubbles and turn it into a foot bath!
Using towels, how many different clothing items can you make? Try putting it on over your clothes. Have someone in your family be the model!
Read a book as a family. Or create your own. One person says one sentence and the next person adds a sentence and so on. You can write it down or just tell it orally.
Use some clothes from your wardrobe or drawers. Everyone gets to take a turn of being the catwalk model and of being in the audience.
Lots of people are building models with Lego. Why not display them in front of a (closed) window? Just like the art wall, you could add a small card to show the creator and title of each model. If you don’t have lego, you could use duplo or other toys.
Have some fun with make up. Let your children/young people give you a make over. Or maybe you give them a make over!
The weather is changing, The rain has started. Why not explore some mud fun! Make a mud slide using a black bag/sledge to sit on and a small hill. Create a mud kitchen in the garden, use spoons and pots! If you don’t have a garden bring some dirt inside and put it in a basin or tub. Add some water to make mud. Can you make mud cakes?
Use a camera (or phone or tablet), take pictures around the house. Take some photos of family as they go about their daily lives or have family poses. Pretend you are taking photos for a home and gardens magazine. Take the photos from different angles. Can you make the rooms look bigger or smaller? Have fun!
Pick some flowers on a walk. Or use paper to make your own flowers. Draw flowers and put them along the bottom of a window to create an indoor garden.
Perhaps you can use empty cereal boxes and elastic bands to make hungry animals snapping for food. Perhaps you can you an empty box and 6 yoghurt pots at the edges and corners to create a pool table. Perhaps you can use an empty juice bottle and throw elastic bands over it to make a game?
Have a bubble bath. Put cucumber on your eyes. Do face and head massages. Turn the light down or close the curtains. Play relaxing music in the background. (try some from youtube). Have everyone focus on their breathing. Relax.
Choose a TV show your family watch and recreate it. Maybe it will be someone in the jungle speaking to the jungle diary videocam. Maybe you will be recreating food invention tests and eliminations. Perhaps you will be in teams answering questions from a ‘host’. Maybe you are in a reality TV show where you are explaining your actions to a ‘camera’. Maybe you are on a talent show with judges?
Split into teams. One person writes down a tv show/song/animal etc on a sheet of paper and folds it up. They will begin to draw on another sheet but they are not allowed to speak. Can their team guess what they are drawing before time runs out??
These are just some ideas. Feel free to adapt to suit your family.
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At the time of writing, we have just started the lockdown due to COVID-19. This is something that is unprecedented and something we couldn’t properly prepare children and young people for. As mentioned in previous posts, it’s important to talk about feelings and experience the feelings.
It is also important to have some fun and keep things light. Everyone will deal with this in their own way. But it is so important that we do ‘deal’ and help children and young people to cope and deal with this. Doing something that is not part of your normal routine is good. It teaches children and young people that sometimes when your routine has to change (like just now) it isn’t always a bad thing.
Change isn’t a bad thing. It is just new.
PDF Available here Calming Anxiety Challenge Board