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Waltham Forest Parent Forum

Events for children/young people

The Together Space- Sunday 15th May

Link to tickets and information: 

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/329851232917

 

And info also on my website: 

 

www.thetogetherspace.co.uk

 


SEND Family Support Groups – Summer Term 2022


Introduction to Interoception Webinar

Interoception is the 8th sense, that helps you feel what is going on inside your body and it has a huge impact on emotional self-regulation. Many children with ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder experience Interoception difficulties. This Introductory video will look at the important link between Interoception and emotional regulation.


Autism and Visual Support Webinar

This webinar will help you to understand the reasons
why visual cues are so important for pupils with autism and
introduce you to a range of visuals which can be used to
support them.


Parents meeting – families of deaf children

If you are a parent of a deaf child in Waltham Forest, supported by the SENDsuccess outreach service, we would like to invite you to join a meeting to discuss support for our deaf pupils in the borough.

The meeting will be on the 24th February, from 7.30-8.30 pm, virtually, and there will be representatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), the local authority and the SENDsuccess service.

Please click the link to join

Click here to join the meeting


SEND Family Support Groups – Spring 2022


The Teenage Girl’s Guide to Living Well With ADHD

We are delighted to say that our very own Sonia Ali has published her new book The Teenage Girl’s Guide To Living Well With ADHD which is due to be released on the 21st of December 2021!


Deafness in Lockdown

Hayley Adams, our audiological technician, was asked by the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) to write about her experiences as a deaf person in lockdown. Her engaging article was published in the September 2021 issue of the BATOD magazine. You can read it here:

Deafness in Lockdown


SEND Family Support Groups – Autumn 2021


SEND Staff Support Groups – Autumn 2021


EYs Training and SEND Passport

EYs Training:

Waltham Forest’s Early Years, Childcare and Business Development Service, alongside partners and commissioned services have created bespoke training packages. These aim to empower the Early Years sector to provide high quality, inclusive and safe provision that prepares children for school. Training will either be delivered as a packaged project or using a tiered approach. Tier 1 is a guidance document, Tier 2 is a recorded webinar and Tier 3 is a virtual live discussion.
https://thehub-beta.walthamforest.gov.uk/supporting-childrens-learning-and-development

SEND Passport:

This tiered SEND Passport training package supports early years practitioners, early years teachers, childminders and early years SENCOs in supporting children with SEND, in an inclusive and enabling environment.
https://thehub-beta.walthamforest.gov.uk/send-passport

Please contact Angela Lenton for further information: Angela.Lenton@walthamforest.gov.uk


Colourful Semantics Resource


Colourful Semantics Webinar


Introduction to Comic Strip Conversations (CSC)

 

 

The creator is Carol Gray.

CSC is a strategy using a combination of stick figures and conversation symbols to reinforce and explain a social situation or event. It helps explain thoughts, emotions, language and abstract thoughts.

You can use drawings, colours, stick people, speech bubbles etc.

Suitable for children with autism, learning difficulties, social communication difficulties and SEMH.

 

The 4-step format to writing and drawing a CSC

1) Begin the conversation with how it started exactly (situation).
2) Now target the topic (problem).
3) Summarise the conversation.

4) Conclusion (good advice or skills to learn).

Other tips

• Use a grid and colours that children may associate with emotional regulation, as follows:

Red – angry bad ideas and actions
Green –happy, friendly, good ideas and actions
Blue – sad, frustrated and uncomfortable
Black -facts and truth

• Make it fun, work together.
• Do not add a sanction as an outcome of using this strategy.
• Use CSC to describe positive events, not just when things go wrong.

Additional Resources

• The templates on the following pages can be printed out and used when writing CSCs

Useful Links

Pre-recorded webinar – www.sendsuccess.org.uk/

https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/communication/communication-tools/social-stories-and-comic-strip-coversations

 

Guess the symbols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comic Strip Conversations webinar Nov 2020


The impact of masks on Hearing Impaired pupils


Covid 19 – Return to School (HI learners)

Covid-19 – Return to school for Students with a Hearing Impairment

As we begin to prepare for the gradual return to school, we are more than aware of the new challenges for all the children. However, for pupils with Hearing Impairment (HI) these challenges are even greater. Although no two pupils or two school environments are the same much of what they will face will be similar. Therefore, it is important that staff are fully aware of the specific challenges students with HI will face and the impact these challenges may have.

ChallengesFace Coverings

The government now advises that staff and students in secondary schools and colleges wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained. It is also recommended that face coverings are worn in communal areas in secondary schools. In primary schools, it is also recommended that staff and adult visitors wear face coverings where social distancing is not possible, though children do not need to.

Schools and colleges are expected to be sensitive to the needs of deaf children in deciding whether it’s appropriate to wear a face covering. Face coverings prevent deaf pupils being able to lip read and make it extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to hear and understand.

ChallengesCommunication

You will know from attending deaf awareness training that there is a critical listening distance for those children who use listening devices, such as, Hearing aids (HAs), cochlear implants (CIs) or Bone conduction aids (BCs). You should be NO FURTHER than 2m away. This is 2m maximum in a quiet environment. For listening outside or in background noise that distance would be reduced further. The child may hear voices but not understand what is being said.

Children with HI need to see, as well as hear to communicate well. New Social distancing requirements now mean that people should be NO NEARER than 2m to anyone outside their household. For students with HI this will be extremely challenging. It is not only vital that hearing aid users can hear the person speaking, but they also use facial expression and lip pattern to aid communication. This new imposed distancing may mean vital information is missed. We can expect to see increased frustration and fatigue amongst our students with HI and we must be ready to support them.

Children with HI will be particularly disadvantaged in playground situations due to distancing and noise levels. Communication with friends may be greatly hindered along with missing information or warnings given whilst outside. Even when using a personal radio aid, they would only hear the person with the transmitter.

Challenges – Equipment and Maintenance

For a variety of reasons, some students with HI will not have been regularly wearing their listening devices whilst at home. As this has now been for a significant amount of time they may require support to re-engage with their devices. Some devices may require repair or replacement and this will take time as clinics have also had a reduced number of appointments during the pandemic and will have a backlog of enquiries. If students do come back to school and are using their radio aids please ensure there are procedures in place for minimizing infection risk when passing the transmitter between users.

Challenges – Learning and interactions

Children with HI naturally move closer to the person who is speaking to them to aid lip reading, to gain a clear view of facial expression or to give better opportunity for their listening device to pick up speech.  In the current climate they will be unable to do this. The reduction in visual information may lead to anxiety, frustration and miscommunication.

What can we do to help?

Transition back to school

Preparation is essential – ensure parents are fully informed about the new routines and procedures in place for all students. It is important that they have the time to discuss these with their child so they are fully aware of how school will be different when they return.

Where possible, ensure the student with HI, return to their usual classroom and have at least one familiar adult with them. Ideally their class teacher or another adult who has attended deaf awareness training. It is essential that there is a member of staff within the school who has experience/ understanding of how to check any audiological equipment (HAs, BCs, Cis or radio aids)

If changes at school are significant then it may be useful to create a video or virtual tour of any physical changes. This can be watched prior to the student returning to school. Where possible caption any videos you produce or have a familiar adult commentate with their face visible.

Reassure the student that staff will be there to support the return to school and not to worry.

Face Coverings

Reasonable adjustments must be made for deaf students, these can include:

  • Schools familiarising themselves with guidance that states that ‘transparent face coverings’ can be worn. We recommend all adults teaching deaf students use transparent face masks. It also states that face visors or shields should not be worn as an alternative to face coverings and should only be used following a risk assessment .Please see the following link for information from the NDCS about where to buy clear masks: https://www.ndcs.org.uk/blog/clear-face-masks-and-face-coverings-where-to-buy-and-what-to-look-for/
  • Although clear face masks improve things greatly there are still communication challenges with using these as they can steam up and reflect light which can make visibility difficult.
  • Providing radio aids to children who have not used them before. If you think this may be beneficial please contact our service to discuss this.
  • Taking additional steps to optimise the listening environment and reduce background noise
  • Taking steps to remind everyone in the school of the importance of good deaf awareness
  • Separate one-to-one teaching and support, without the use of face masks/coverings and in rooms where social distancing can be achieved and/or through a Perspex panel.

Communication

Where possible, students with HI should return to their original classroom, particularly if this has been considered appropriate for sound quality. It will also allow them access to much of the visual and practical support they have come to rely on.

Ideally, those students who are hearing impaired should be situated in classrooms that are quieter. Those that are further away from external noise, such as, the dining hall, playground or any building works. Where possible, classrooms that have acoustic treatments, carpets, blinds and the use of a soundfield system will be favourable. Consideration should be made for minimizing internal noise when deciding on seating positions for students with HI. They need to avoid any additional noise that may hinder their ability to hear speech or that interfere with the listening devices.

As there may be many things that are different to their usual school day it is vital that the student is as near to the adult speaker as possible. Whenever possible, they should be positioned at the front of lines and queues. When a student has a radio aids it is recommended that they are used regularly and particularly when giving instructions.

As previously mentioned, new routines and procedures should be shared prior to the student returning to school. These changes should be explained again once they arrive at school. Visual reminders will also benefit students with HI. Visual timetables may help to reinforce new changes, such as, regular times to wash hands.

When unplanned changes occur, an adult will need to check the student has understood there is a change of plan and what that change is.

The usual recommended strategies should continue. Position students in the first row of tables to one side where they have the best possible view of the adult and the board and can turn easily to look at their peers when they are speaking.

In the absence of touch, you will need to find new ways of gaining attention. Ensure supervising adults use the student’s radio aid and use an exaggerated wave to get children’s attention. Remember, when the student is connected to the radio aid they may struggle to hear their friends unless they are talking through the transmitter.

 Equipment and Maintenance

On return to school audiological equipment will need to be checked thoroughly. After that daily checks are recommended and when any other issues arise. Please see separate guidance ‘checking audiological equipment and how to reduce infection risk’

During this unprecedented time, it is recommended that the radio aid transmitter is used by adults only. All parts of the transmitter, including the lanyard or clip should be wiped with alcohol wipes (70%) when being passed between users.

To prevent the risk of infection through the handling of the shared equipment, schools will need to ensure they have adequate alcohol wipes (70%), and gloves or alcohol gel.

Contact your Teacher of the Deaf from SENDsuccess for any support with equipment. This can be done by video call or the use of photos to show any repair issues.

Learning and Interactions

Where possible control background noise and keep it at a minimum. This will allow the student with HI a better chance of following speech/discussions.

Call the child’s name before giving out any instructions or directing any questions to them.

Use other children’s names when directing questions or taking contributions. This allows the student to locate the child who will be answering. ALWAYS repeat any comments or questions given by others if the student is unlikely to have heard it.

Share key words or information on the board. This can include words, pictures or images that will reinforce concepts visually.

Repeat key learning points and instructions and check regularly that the student with HI has understood.

Ensure that there is a staff member available to provide support for any unforeseen difficulties or issues that may arise. These are extremely difficult and challenging times, particularly for people with a hearing impairment and we must be proactive where possible.

 

20 May 2020 (produced by STePs HI Team)

24 Feb 2021 – Adapted for use by SENDsuccess HI Team

 


Remote Learning HI January 2021 Video


Making Online Learning Accessible for Deaf Students

Making online learning accessible for deaf students

As we are now into our third lockdown, schools are closed and we are back to remote learning, Deaf pupils will find it challenging and difficult.

It is important that any such remote teaching is accessible.

Education settings are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that the pupil can still access any teaching or learning.

It can be difficult for deaf pupils online, as sometimes speech isn’t clear, people are all talking at once and the deaf child will feel isolated, frustrated and may find it difficult to access their work.

There are many ways we can help:

Make everything accessible

Many schools will use online platforms to set work, receive homework and provide contact between teachers and pupils. This could be an issue for deaf children, especially those who need a high level of in-class support. Video conferencing sites such as Zoom or Google classroom will help deaf children to pick up on some of the visual clues they usually rely on, helping them to understand information and activities.

If video content is used, it needs to be accessible, so using speech-to-text technology like Google Transcribe, or YouTube’s subtitling function to provide captions, will be beneficial. Although the quality of these services can vary, if needed they can be checked and manually edited to make sure they’re accurate.

For online teaching, automatic video captions using speech recognition can be found on:

  • Google Hangouts
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom
  • All videos, real time learning sessions, and pre-recorded learning sessions need to be captioned.

When connecting with students through video conferencing, keep in mind the quality of sound, background noise, lighting, visual distraction, and the placement of the camera, as well as captioning and/or interpreting.

When communicating with learners via video call:

  • Always have the speaker’s face visible. Have light on your face rather than behind your head and speak at a steady pace, taking pauses between important points.
  • Circulate corrected transcripts to all learners shortly after the video call has ended. Otter.ai is a free app that generates transcription with punctuation.
  • It’s a good idea to use the chat while teaching so the deaf pupil can follow the instructions.
  • Repeat what another pupil has said, so the deaf child fully understands.
  • Check in with them after the call to make sure they fully understood and whether they need extra help.

 

How to get captions on for Hearing impaired pupils.

If you need any advice or information, please contact SENDsuccess Hi team:

 

 


Making Remote Learning Accessible for Learners with a Visual Impairment

INFORMATION SHEET

Making Remote Learning Accessible for Learners with a Visual Impairment

Students with a visual impairment (VI) have individual requirements and learning preferences which you will need to consider when preparing and delivering remote online learning. Students with VI will generally have to concentrate harder to maintain focus and this can lead to visual fatigue (eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, and other symptoms). The following information suggests reasonable adjustments to reduce any possible negative impact and improve the learning experience

Technology

  • Ensure the pupil with a VI has understood how to use the functions on the learning platform (maximise view, hands up, chat box, mute, live captions)
  • Ensure your microphone is working effectively and measures are taken to minimise any feedback or background noise
  • Remember screen sharing will reduce access to facial expressions
  • If you have a television and computer/laptop that allows HDMI input, consider connecting your student’s laptop to that larger screen TV

Formatting & design

  • Use a sans serif font such as Arial or Verdana for presentations, resources and worksheets
  • Double space passages of text where possible
  • Use high contrast font and background colours (eg. black on cream)
  • Avoid overcrowding presentation slides and reduce visual clutter
  • Adjust the brightness of the monitor the student is using – most laptops use the Function Keys along the top of the keyboard to access common settings such as brightness, volume, and mic settings

Presentation

  • Make sure when you are speaking your face is well lit and can be seen clearly, preferably with the light source in front of you
  • Use software in ‘full view’ mode when presenting (eg. PowerPoint)
  • Pupils with a VI need extra time to visually process information so build in natural pauses
  • Allow the student to break up visually demanding tasks. Ten to fifteen minutes every hour is a common accommodation, but the student may need more or less break time
  • https://mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk/impairment/vision A guide of accessibility features that help you see websites and applications more clearly.


Radio Aids Webinar 2020

A Webinar about using Radio Aids


Guide to using a Radio Aid

Radio aid guide

The transmitter (worn by the teacher)

The receiver (worn by the child)

The receiver (worn by the child)

How to Use:

Wear the transmitter around the neck with the lanyard.

Make sure the receivers are clicked into the audio shoe at the base of the hearing aid.

Turn the transmitter on by a long press of the ‘on’ button at the side.

Check the battery is fully charged by looking at the battery image.

Hold the transmitter beside one of the pupil’s hearing aids.

Press the touchscreen button ‘Connect ‘. The following message should appear ‘Roger X is connected’.

Repeat this process for the other hearing aid (where appropriate).

If the receivers are not identified (do not connect), check the pupil’s hearing aids are working and the receivers are pushed in fully.

Changing hearing aid batteries often solves any problems.

The transmitter microphone needs to be approximately 15cm, or a hand-span from your mouth.

The microphone will need to be muted on occasions using the mic/mute button.

The Roger Touchscreen has a built-in battery and should be charged after each school day to ensure it is fully charged for the next day.

 

Troubleshooting

  • Is the transmitter fully charged?
  • Are the receivers fully clicked in place?
  • Is the transmitter connected to the receivers?
  • Has the transmitter microphone inadvertently been muted?
  • Have you replaced the pupil’s hearing aid batteries?
  • If a problem remains unresolved, please contact the SENDsuccess Hi team –

Hayley Adams Audiology Technician, h.adams@whitefield.waltham.sch.uk

Sue Muir Teacher of the Deaf- s.muir@whitefield.waltham.sch.uk

Heidi Manouchehri Teacher of the Deaf- h.manouchehri@whitefield.waltham.sch.uk

 

 

 

 


Receivers poster

Do you have a hearing-impaired child in school?

 

They will have equipment in school to help them hear better in class.

If you see any of these pieces, please do NOT throw them away. They are very small pieces of equipment and easily can get lost.

 

Please return them to the SENCo or leave at the school office – they are very expensive!

 

Hayley Adams, audiology technician

h.adams@whitefield.waltham.sch.uk


Makaton signs relating to Covid-19

Makaton signs are helpful for children and young people with communication needs and learning disabilities. The signs are designed to support spoken language – signs are used with speech, in spoken word order. Using signs can help children who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying and helps understanding.

This document, which you can download here (PDF) contains key Makaton signs related to Covid-19 which you can use as you talk to people about Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Signing tips:

  • Speak as you sign: Always use the signs alongside simple spoken phrases/sentences.
  • Sign the key words only: As you are talking, only use signs for the most important words. This makes those words easier to understand. Don’t sign every word you say.
  • Keep it simple: try to keep your message short and simple so the person can process and understand what you are saying.
  • Model the sign: you may need to guide your child’s hands to help them to make the sign.
  • Use facial expression and body language: This can give more clues about what you are saying e.g. If you are talking about pain, a grimace or frown will add meaning.
  • Stick to simple emotions: many young people with disabilities may struggle with emotions. To avoid overloading these people we usually just use happy, sad, worried and angry.
  • Use the signs consistently yourself: The person is more likely to understand and perhaps start using a new sign if they see it often.
  • Consider having a ‘sign of the day’: Model the sign, get the person to copy, continue to practice it’s use at every opportunity during the day.

 

The Makaton Charity have a YouTube channel which can be found here:

The Makaton Charity provides advice and support to families and professionals. https://www.makaton.org/


Covid-19 – Checking audiological equipment & reducing infection risk!

It is important to have a clear procedure in place for checking audiological equipment. This should ensure the safety of both the child and the adult.

Hearing Aids (HAs) and Cochlear Implant Processors (CIs)

Ideal Scenario: Access to a room that is quiet and has facilities to wash hands. Adult and child to wash hands prior to handling HA(s) and immediately afterwards, if the child requires assistance in removing/inserting HA(s). Where possible ask the child to remove and insert their HA(s) to reduce contact. Observe social distancing when not directly removing or inserting HA(s).

Next Best Scenario: When a room with washing facilities is not available then adult and child should find somewhere else to wash their hands before going in to a quiet room. Again, where possible ask the child to remove/insert their HA(s) if able. After entering the room use hand sanitizer before and after handling the HA(s), ask the child to do the same. If you need to assist the child to remove/insert HA(s) use hand sanitizer afterwards. Always observe social distancing where possible. On completion of HA check and on leaving the room hands should be washed again. (Ensure permission is sought before allowing the child to use hand sanitizer).

If PPE equipment is available please be mindful when using face masks. Lip Pattern is very important for people with a hearing impairment and face masks make lip reading very difficult. This may need further discussions within your school.

General points:

  • If the child or adult is presenting with a cough or are actively sneezing then checks should not happen at this time.
  • Where possible encourage the child to remove/insert their HA(s) to minimise contact.
  • Observe social distancing when direct contact is not needed.
  • Hands should be washed before and after all contact with HA(s). This includes the adult and child. Handwashing should be thorough and in line with government guidelines.

Radio Aid Systems

The same procedures should be followed as those for checking hearing aids. In addition, ensure that the transmitter is thoroughly cleaned with 70%+ alcohol wipes, along with the lanyard, before being passed to another user. The transmitter should also be cleaned at the beginning and end of each day.

Note: School should endeavour to provide a suitable room for hearing aid checks and easily accessible facilities for washing hands. Schools will need to provide alcohol gel or gloves and 70% alcohol wipes.

– 20 May 2020 (produced by STePs HI Team)
– 1st June 2020 – Adapted for use by SENDsuccess HI Team

See also our advice sheet ‘Return to school for Hearing impaired students


Covid-19 – Returning to school for students with Deafness

As we begin to prepare for the gradual return to school, we are more than aware of the new challenges for all the children. However, for pupils with deafness, these challenges are even greater. Although no two pupils or two school environments are the same much of what they will face will be similar. Therefore, it is important that staff are fully aware of the specific challenges students with deafness will face and the impact these challenges may have.

Challenges – Communication

You will know from attending deaf awareness training that there is a critical listening distance for those children who use listening devices, such as, Hearing aids (HAs), cochlear implants (CIs) or Bone conduction aids (BCs). The guidance is that you should be no further away than 2m. This is 2m maximum in a quiet environment. For listening outside or in background noise that distance would be reduced further. The child may hear voices but not understand what is being said. Children with deafness need to see, as well as hear to communicate well.

But new social distancing requirements now mean that people should not be no closer than 2m to anyone outside their household. For students with deafness, this will be extremely challenging. It is not only vital that hearing aid users can hear the person speaking, but they also use facial expression and lip pattern to aid communication. This new imposed distancing may mean vital information is missed. We can expect to see increased frustration and fatigue amongst our students with deafness and we must be ready to support them.

Children with deafness will be particularly disadvantaged in playground situations due to distancing and noise levels. Communication with friends may be greatly hindered along with missing information or warnings given whilst outside. Even when using a personal radio aid, they would only hear the person with the transmitter.

Challenges – Equipment and Maintenance

For a variety of reasons, some students with deafness will not have been regularly wearing their listening devices whilst at home. As this has now been for a significant amount of time they may require support to re-engage with their devices. Some devices may require repair or replacement and this will take time as clinics have also been closed during the pandemic and will have a backlog of enquiries. If students do come back to school and are using their radio aids please ensure there are procedures in place for minimizing infection risk when passing the transmitter between users.

Challenges – Learning and interactions

Children with deafness naturally move closer to the person who is speaking to them to aid lip reading, to gain a clear view of facial expression or to give better opportunity for their listening device to pick up speech. In the current climate they will be unable to do this. The reduction in visual information may lead to anxiety, frustration and miscommunication.

What can we do to help?

Transition back to school

Preparation is essential – ensure parents are fully informed about the new routines and procedures in place for all students. It is important that they have the time to discuss these with their child so they are fully aware of how school will be different when they return.

Where possible, ensure the student with deafness, return to their usual classroom and have at least one familiar adult with them. Ideally their class teacher or another adult who has attended deaf awareness training. It is essential that there is a member of staff within the school who has experience/ understanding of how to check any audiological equipment (HAs, BCs, Cis or radio aids)

If changes at school are significant then it may be useful to create a video or virtual tour of any physical changes. This can be watched prior to the student returning to school. Where possible caption any videos you produce or have a familiar adult commentate with their face visible.

Reassure the student that staff will be there to support the return to school and not to worry.

Communication

Where possible, students with deafness should return to their original classroom, particularly if this has been considered appropriate for sound quality. It will also allow them access to much of the visual and practical support they have come to rely on.

Ideally, those students who are hearing impaired should be situated in classrooms that are quieter. Those that are further away from external noise, such as, the dining hall, playground or any building works. Where possible, classrooms that have acoustic treatments, carpets, blinds and the use of a soundfield system will be favourable. Consideration should be made for minimizing internal noise when deciding on seating positions for students with deafness. They need to avoid any additional noise that may hinder their ability to hear speech or that interfere with the listening devices.

As there may be many things that are different to their usual school day it is vital that the student is as near to the adult speaker as possible. Whenever possible, they should be positioned at the front of lines and queues. When a student has a radio aids it is recommended that they are used regularly and particularly when giving instructions.

As previously mentioned, new routines and procedures should be shared prior to the student returning to school. These changes should be explained again once they arrive at school. Visual reminders will also benefit students with deafness. Visual timetables may help to reinforce new changes, such as, regular times to wash hands.

When unplanned changes occur, an adult will need to check the student has understood there is a change of plan and what that change is.

The usual recommended strategies should continue. Position students in the first row of tables to one side where they have the best possible view of the adult and the board and can turn easily to look at their peers when they are speaking.

In the absence of touch, you will need to find new ways of gaining attention. Ensure supervising adults in the playground use the student’s radio aid and use an exaggerated wave to get children’s attention. Remember, when the student is connected to the radio aid they may struggle to hear their friends unless they are talking through the transmitter.

Equipment and Maintenance

On return to school audiological equipment will need to be checked thoroughly. After that daily checks are recommended and when any other issues arise. Please see separate guidance ‘checking audiological equipment and how to reduce infection risk’

During this unprecedented time, it is recommended that the radio aid transmitter is used by adults only. All parts of the transmitter, including the lanyard or clip should be wiped with alcohol wipes (70%) when being passed between users.

To prevent the risk of infection through the handling of the shared equipment, schools will need to ensure they have adequate alcohol wipes (70%), and gloves or alcohol gel.

Contact your Teacher of the Deaf from SENDsuccess for any support with equipment. This can be done by video call or the use of photos to show any repair issues.

Learning and Interactions

Where possible control background noise and keep it at a minimum. This will allow the student with deafness a better chance of following speech/discussions.

Call the child’s name before giving out any instructions or directing any questions to them.

Use other children’s names when directing questions or taking contributions. This allows the student to locate the child who will be answering. ALWAYS repeat any comments or questions given by others if the student is unlikely to have heard it.

Share key words or information on the board. This can include words, pictures or images that will reinforce concepts visually.

Repeat key learning points and instructions and check regularly that the student with deafness has understood.

Ensure that there is a staff member available to provide support for any unforeseen difficulties or issues that may arise. These are extremely difficult and challenging times, particularly for people with deafness and we must be proactive where possible.

– 20 May 2020 (produced by STePs DS Team)
– 1st June 2020 – Adapted for use by SENDsuccess DS Team


Webinar Series: ‘My Understanding of Deafness’ for primary students

Unlike most of SENDsuccess’s material This 3 part course is designed for students themselves, rather than parents or teachers. This version is for primary students and aims to give them an understanding of deafness and what that may mean for a young person with a hearing loss.

Part 1:

…guides you through the ear, how it works as well as the different types of hearing loss. It also explains some of the people you might see and visit when you have a hearing impairment.

Part 2:

….looks at what communication means and how difficulties with communication can make you feel. We also look at what good communication is and how we can talk about our hearing impairment to others.

Part 3

…looks at the different listening devices you may wear, why they are so important and how to look after them.


Preparing to come out of lock-down: Social Narratives

What is a Social Narrative?

These resources have been created by SENDsuccess to help children with autism, or other social communication differences/high anxiety, to prepare for the idea that lockdown will end, and things will begin to get back to normal, albeit a new and maybe different ‘normal’

A Social Narrative (Social Story™) is a short description of a situation, event or activity which includes specific information about what to expect and why.

The term ‘Social Story’ has been trade marked and is owned by Carol Gray.

For more information about social stories please visit this page of the National Autistic Society’s webpage. https://www.autism.org.uk/about/strategies/social-stories-comic-strips.aspx

Who are they for?

The current (mid May 2020) situation brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, and difficult to process for everyone. For people with autism it may be more unsettling as there are still many unknowns about what will happen in the future.

We have written these editable Social Narrative to help children, particularly those in the current year 6, begin to develop an understanding of why the information they need regarding return to school will be coming in stages over the coming weeks. They cannot give facts that we do not yet know, but what they dos aim to do is help children feel more comfortable, and less worried about going back to school, with some practical ideas to help them to prepare for this.

How do you use them?

The idea is that you read the ‘Social Narrative’ together with you child, explaining anything they do not understand in simple, factual terms. It helps to start a focussed dialogue exploring the situation together, providing a safe framework for them to bring up concerns or fears.

It is helpful to re-read the story, perhaps weekly or whenever your child initiates a conversation about this subject, allowing time for them to process the information between readings.

The most effective ‘Social Narratives’ are written specifically for an individual, these ones have been created in ‘Word’ to make it easily editable, it may be helpful to personalise it for you child. You could even add more information about the process of returning to school as it gets released by the government.

Two word documents are attached below. One is simpler and largely based on symbols. The other, more complex text-based document is for children who are more confident with written text.

Social Narrative – Preparing to come out of lockdown – symbols

Social Narrative – Preparing to come out of lockdown – text


Webinar Series: ‘My Understanding of Deafness’ for secondary students

Welcome to My Understanding of Deafness (MUD).

Unlike most of SENDsuccess’s material This 4 part course is designed for students themselves, rather than parents or teachers. It’s for secondary students and aims to give them an understanding of deafness and what that may mean for a young person with a hearing loss.

Part 1

…guides you through the different types of hearing loss, the levels of loss and the impact on acquiring speech. It also looks at an audiologram and helps the viewer to interpret what they mean.


Part 2

….looks at confidence and the role it plays in good communication. This is followed with a look at what communication is and how we can help others to communicate and ourselves to communicate effectively.


Part 3

… focuses on the impotance of looking after our own mental health and well being. We provide tips and practical advice about how to ensure you stay as healthy as possible and what you can do to improve your well being.


Part 4

… looks at the different listening devices you may be prescribed by the audiologist, the importance of wearing them regularly and how to look after them effectively.


Understanding Communication: Intensive Interaction – Parent/Carer Guide

What is ‘Intensive Interaction’?

‘Intensive Interaction’ is a way of having nice interactions with – and building positive relationships with – individuals who find communication very difficult.

It is also a way of teaching lots of important early communication skills (such as eye contact / turn-taking / enjoying being with others) in a motivating, fun and naturalistic way.

The approach is built around sensitive and playful imitation of the child. When we engage in this sensitive imitation, the child often shows more interest in us and wants to interact further. By doing lots of these interactions the child learns to enjoy being with others. The desire to interact with others is critical to nearly all other types of learning (including learning sophisticated communication skills such as talking) so this is often the best place to start for individuals who find communication very difficult.

Who is Intensive Interaction for?

Intensive Interaction is for people who are at an early stage of their communication development. These individuals will often be pre-verbal (i.e. they won’t yet be talking) but some children who use speech can benefit from the approach too.

Intensive Interaction has been used successfully to develop communication skills in children with a range of learning disabilities / multi-sensory impairments / autism.

The approach appears to work especially well with autistic children. Because it ‘follows the lead’ of the child, the child does not feel under undue pressure but can simply be themselves and enjoy interacting with another person.

What are the benefits of using Intensive Interaction?

Intensive Interaction is a fantastic way of ‘getting to know’ your child if they find it hard being around people. It can allow your child to build up positive and trusting relationships – even if they have very limited communication skills. When you have a nice positive interaction with your child they will feel good and you will feel positive too! Everyone’s a winner!

As well as having nice interactions with your child, Intensive Interaction is a great was of teaching your child a whole range of very important early communication skills including:

  • Enjoying being with others
  • Listening and paying attention to others
  • Learning to play and have fun
  • Leaning to take turns
  • Understanding and using facial expressions
  • Understanding and using eye contacts
  • Understanding and using vocalisations

By having positive and fun interactions you can help develop your child’s skills in all of the above areas with minimal effort! Although the above areas may sound very simple and obvious, they are in fact incredibly important skills that lay the foundation for nearly all other learning.

How do I do Intensive Interaction at home with my child?

In a quiet room, carefully observe what your child is doing for a few minutes. Then sensitively and playfully imitate something that your child does. This might be making the same noise as them; it might be imitating their movements; it might even be imitating their breathing pattern. Watch and see if they become aware of this imitation – they may stop what they are doing, establish eye contact, or even approach you. Repeat this several times and turn it into a fun ‘game’. You are not looking for your child to ‘do’ anything in particular – you are just “joining them in their world” and learning to be with them in a way that they can understand and enjoy.

Top Tips!

  • Find a nice quiet space if you can – a lounge, a conservatory, a garden – where you can really concentrate on your child and where they can really concentrate on you. Don’t have the television on – or iPads left round: these can be too distracting. If you don’t have a quiet room, find a quiet time – e.g. when other people are out.
  • Watch your child carefully. What movements do they seem to frequently make? What facial expressions do they use? What rhythm do they tap on the wall or table? What vocalisations do they make? (Do they make a long “eeee” sound or an “ah-ha” sound or something totally different?). By carefully watching and listening to your child you will begin to see the behaviours that you can then use to connect with them in a way that they will understand.
  • After imitating a behaviour closely several times, begin to subtly vary your imitations. E.g. if your child makes the following sound [ooh-eee] you could imitate them by making the sound [ooh-ahhh] – a similar but not identical sound. Your child may then imitate the sound you have made. Repeat this again with a subtle variation.
  • Your imitations don’t always have to be exact replications of your child’s behaviour. For example, if your child moves their head in a particular rhythmical way, you could try breathing loudly in the same rhythm – or tapping your feet on the floor in the same rhythm.
  • Let your child ‘lead’ the interaction. This approach is not about giving your child specific instructions to follow or explicitly ‘teaching’ them. It is about letting the child show what actions or sounds are important and meaningful to them. If you allow them to do this – and if you are willing to “join them in their world” – they will learn lots of important communication skills from you naturally and spontaneously!
  • Don’t carry on interacting if your child no longer seems to want to do it. It’s better to have short positive interactions than to try to do longer, less fun sessions. Try again at a different time.
  • Explain to others (family members / friends etc.) that gentle and sensitive imitation can allow your child to feel more relaxed and can help them feel more connected to others.
  • Watch some videos online about the approach. There are some good examples from the Intensive Interaction Institute on YouTube.
  • Don’t worry about looking silly – celebrate your successes – and most of all, have lots of fun! Communication is about joyful connection!

This information was based on a leaflet created by the Speech and Language Therapy Team at Whitefield Schools.

© Whitefield Academy Trust.