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SEN Summer Conference – 2021


Please complete the SEN Summer Conference Booking Form to book your free online sessions.


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


Pupil Voice

This resource will help you support pupils with an EHCP to contribute to their PCR meeting.

PUPIL VOICE 

 Facilitating Pupils with EHCPs to Contribute to their Person-Centred Review (PCR) Meeting 

 From our school SEND audits with SENCOs, we know that schools need more guidance and resources in this area.   Read on to for some ideas and practical tools to help improve this process at your school. 

 The SEND Code of Practice 2015 made it very clear, pupils and their families, should be at the heart of decision making when it comes to planning how schools intend to meet a child or young person’s  specific individual needs.   

Pupils need to be actively involved in this process; they should have the chance to say how they think they have got on since their last meeting, and be able to make suggestions about what they want to achieve, and how they would like to be supported, during the next cycle. 

This needs to be done carefully and in good time for the actual meeting.    

Meetings should be termly, with one comprehensive annual review to plan for the next yearly cycle. This meeting is statutory and should include the pupil, parents/carers, SENCO, teacher, local education authority’s SEND officer, and any other professionals who have been involved in delivering the plan during the year. 

Invitations need to be sent out in good time so that if any party cannot attend in personthey can contribute their views in writing, including the pupil or young person who may not feel comfortable to take part in the actual meeting.  

A person-centred approach is essential. 

 WHAT IS A PERSON-CENTRED APPROACH? 

Being ‘Person-Centred’ is a way of: 
  • Thinking of things from the child’s point of view 
  • Listening to what the young person wants, helping plan with them – not for them 
  • Enabling children/young people to think about what THEY want, now and in the future 
  • Supporting children to plan their lives, work towards their goals and get the right support 

 So How Does this Happen in Practice?  

 Following the graduated approach will provide a useful framework for setting out how you can achieve this, like everything else, planning is key. 

THE GRADUATED APPROACH 

 The pupil will need to know that their meeting is coming up, make a point of adding it to their timetable, diary, or calendar so that they have a visual reminder of the date.  

They will need time to think and reflect about their progress over the past year or term so plan for this to happen in good time before the date of the meeting.  Arrange a 1:1 session with a supportive adult a week before the meeting to help the pupil engage positively in the process. Remember too, you will also need to ask parents and professionals for their views prior to the meeting, sending out the relevant documents in good time. 

The structure and content of this meeting will differ from one individual to the next, you know your pupil well, try to ensure that you are utilising the best methods to gauge their views.  This could be a recorded conversation, a video of them talking (answering questions), a piece of writing, completing a form with questions, a series of drawings, a poster, even a piece of drama, art, or music.  Do whatever works for that person. 

For children and young people with communication difficulties who would have difficulty expressing their thoughts, use visuals to find out what they are interested indo not assume you know.  Forced choices of two are a good start.  

Older or more independent pupils may be able to complete a self-evaluation form at home, however they would benefit, like all pupils, from having pointers to help stay to focused on the important things. 

Waltham Forest have produced a wealth of differentiated resources to help you engage pupils in the PCR process. You will find them by clicking on the link below and choosing the following headings: 

  • Resources and Leaflets 
  • Speech Language and Communication Needs Resources 

https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/person-centred-planning 

 For more general information about the EHCP procedures please visit the website below:  

https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/step-1-send-support-1 


SEND Model Policy and Information Report Prompts

The SEN Policy is the most important document that a school develops when determining how they will meet the special educational needs of pupils. It must reflect the statutory requirements and the actual practice of the school.

The guidance that determines what must be included in the special educational needs policy can be found in The Education (Special Educational Needs) (Information) (England) Regulations 1999. These regulations can be found at the back of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (DfES November 2001)

Legislation

You must refer to the legislation and guidance which informs your overall policy for your pupils with SEND. Use the following text, or a variation of the same:

This policy (and information report if you are including it within the policy) should be based on the statutory Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (revised April 2015) and the following legislation:

Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014, which sets out schools’ responsibilities for pupils with SEN and disabilities

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, which set out schools’ responsibilities for Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, SEN co-ordinators (SENCos) and the SEN information report

The Regulations are written to direct schools to the areas which MUST be included in the policy. A summary of the statutory key points can be found on the website at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/3724/SENCodeofPractice.pdf.  However, they are written to cover all schools regardless of, the size, the age group of the pupils, whether the school is rural or urban and so on. Therefore, it is essential that a school reflect its individuality in the contents of the policy. This should be done by including, the approaches, staffing and actual practice that occurs in the school.

Definitions

Define the meaning of SEND in accordance with DfE legislation.

The SEND Code of Practice (2015:pp.15-16) states that a child has SEND if: “They have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. Special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age.”

“A child or young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.”

A disability is defined by the Equality Act (2010 Chapter 1, part 6) as: “A physical or mental impairment which has a long term (a year or more) and substantial (more than minor or trivial) adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”

The policy should not be a series of aspirations but rather it should reflect what parents can expect their children to receive. Clarity in this can prevent any misunderstanding or differences in what the school provides and what parents think that a school provides.

The policy must be made available to all parents who request a copy. It is important that parents are clear about how to obtain a copy if they should so wish. Therefore it is suggested that schools include, “How parents may access the policy” in the special educational needs part of the school prospectus or brochure.

The following gives a suggested template of how a school can develop its own policy. The parts in italics are the ones which form the policy the rest is guidance. It is important that staff and governors are involved in this process so that they feel part of the provision that the school offers to pupils with special educational needs.

Writing the Special Education Needs Policy

Like all policies the special educational needs policy should reflect the aims of the school and what the school is trying to achieve. Therefore a good introduction reflects this, for example:

We at (name of the school) are committed to meeting the special educational needs of pupils and ensuring that they make progress. In line with our mission statement we (refer to school aims)

You need to consider your aims for your pupils with SEND. What is your broad vision for your school’s arrangements to meet the needs of pupils with SEND and how will you ensure that you are helping them to achieve the best outcomes.

Objectives

The Education (Special Educational Needs) (Information) (England) Regulations 1999 require schools to set out:

“The objectives of the governing body in making provision for pupils with special educational needs, and a description of how the governing body’s special educational needs policy will contribute towards meeting these objectives.”

It is suggested that the overall objectives should be included in the policy but schools may find it more helpful to put specific targets for the year onto an action plan.  This could be attached to the policy as an appendix and also be included in the school’s SIP (School Improvement Plan).  This would enable the success of the policy to be evaluated against clear criteria and would form the basis of the required annual reporting of the success of the policy.  See Appendix A.

Roles and Responsibilities

Here it is suggested that schools combine points 2 and 3 of the Regulations. It is important that everyone concerned with pupils with special educational needs are clear about their role in developing the school’s inclusive approach and how they contribute to pupils learning and progress.

Add the name and contact details of the SENCo.

The key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:

  • overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
  • co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
  • liaising with the relevant Designated Teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
  • advising on the graduated approach to providing SEN support
  • advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
  • liaising with parents of pupils with SEN
  • liaising with early years providers, other schools, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals, and independent or voluntary bodies
  • being a key point of contact with external agencies, especially the local authority and its support services
  • liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a pupil and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
  • working with the headteacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements
  • ensuring that the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date

(SEND Code of Practice, 2015:108) 

The role of the SEN governor:

  • To oversee the school’s arrangements for SEND and monitor the quality and effectiveness of provision.
  • To raise awareness of SEN issues at governing body meetings
  • Ensure the school fulfils its responsibilities to meet the needs of pupils with SEND as outlined in the revised Code of Practice (2015)
  • Consider the strategic development of provision and policy for SEND with the headteacher and the SENCo

The role of the headteacher:

  • To consider the strategic development of provision and policy for SEN with the SEN governor and the SENCo
  • To have overall responsibility for the progress of pupils with SEND and their provision

Responsibility of teachers:

  • Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff (SEND Code of Practice, 2015:99)
  • Teachers will need to pay heed to this SEN policy
  • Teachers must work closely with the SENCo in order to assess the progress of pupils with SEND and review their provision
  • Teachers must work closely with classroom and specialist staff to plan and review any provision or interventions for their pupils with SEN

Responsibility of support staff

  • Note here if any support staff have particular training to work with pupils with SEN, or deliver particular interventions
  • Mention that all support staff may work with children with SEND and they will work with teachers to plan appropriate provision for those children

Therefore the guidance suggests that the roles are set out in the policy and agreed with all concerned during the policy development process. This might look like the following:

The Governing Body has identified a governor to have oversight of special educational needs provision in the school and to ensure that the full governing body is kept informed of how the school is meeting the statutory requirements. At (name of the school) this role is undertaken by (name of the governor) who will meet regularly with the Head and SENCO (name of the SENCO) (if the Head is also the SENCO this should be stated here) For roles of governing body CoP Section 1:16 – 22, 1:39.

The Head is the school’s “responsible person” and manages the school’s special educational needs work.  The Head will keep the governing body informed about the special educational needs provision made by the school.

The SENCO and the Head will work closely with the special educational needs governor and staff to ensure the effective day to day operation of the school’s special educational needs policy. The SENCO and Head will identify areas for development in special educational needs and contribute to the school’s development plan. (S)he will co-ordinate provision at school action, action plus and for statemented pupils. (See CoP Section 5:30, 6:32)

All teaching and non-teaching staff will be involved in the formulation of the special educational needs policy.  They are responsible for differentiating the curriculum for pupils with special educational needs and will monitor their progress. All teachers who have responsibility for areas of the curriculum (in secondary school change to Heads of Department or Faculty Heads) and will review and monitor the progress made by pupils in their subject area and the effectiveness of resources and other curriculum material. All staff will work closely with the SENCO.

The practice that the school articulates here should influence

o        Job descriptions o        Staff handbook
o        Questions at interview o        Induction of new staff

 

Admissions

Schools need to identify how they will respond to the requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act. They need to highlight this in their admissions policy.

Pupils with special educational needs will be admitted to (name of the school) in line with the school’s admissions’ policy.  The school is aware of the statutory requirements of the SEN and Disability Act and will meet the Act’s requirements. The school will use their induction meetings to work closely with parents to ascertain whether a child has been identified as having special educational needs at early years action or early years action plus (school action or action plus would be added here for primary secondary transfer)

If the school is alerted to the fact that a child may have a difficulty in learning they will make their best endeavours to collect all relevant information and plan a relevant differentiated curriculum.

Access for Disabled

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, from September 2002 schools have had to show how they are planning to receive children with special educational needs They need to consider issues which may be barriers to participation for children and how the school intends to overcome these. In this part of the special educational needs policy schools should consider how they are providing or developing an inclusive learning environment. Suggestions of what should be covered are: Access Plan, curriculum access (homework policy, literacy and numeracy), changing facilities, toilets, shower, auditory loop, ramps, blinds, acoustics, how glare from computers is combated. A document schools will find useful is ‘Inclusive School Design: Building Bulletin 94’ – HMSO – ISBN 0-11-271109-X.  Clear reference should be made to the Accessibility Plan and Disability Equality Scheme.

 

To ensure access for pupils or parents with disabilities the school has ……………………………………………………….. and as part of the School’s Accessibility Plan ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Resources

Schools will need to consider carefully how they organise their resources and be accountable for their use. Although schools have a statutory responsibility to meet the needs of pupils with statements this does not mean that there is prescription. The onus is on schools to ensure that there is effective and efficient use of moneys and that pupils make progress. Tracking the effectiveness of spending decisions (for resources, support, etc.) in relation to pupil attainment and progress allows schools to be creative and innovative in developing their SEN provision. Similar processes could be followed to those used when completing OFSTED S4 forms and answering questions – ‘How do you know?’. Assessing effectiveness In the special educational needs policy the school must set out Governors’ principles for allocating resources, for example:

Advice Training Staffing
Employing external support Class size Resources etc
In class support e.g. TAs Equipment incl. ICT

 

This guidance suggests that schools add an appendix to the policy which outlines the financial breakdown and which can be updated annually as budget comes in – special educational needs funding, statement funding. This would also assist schools during inspection as the inspectors will request such a breakdown.

In the policy this may read as follows:

The governors will ensure that the needs of pupils are met by employing a SENCo (or in small schools clustering with other small schools to employ a SENCo who will be in the school one day per week.) The Head and SENCo will use the child’s statement and LA banding document to identify the areas of pupil need and make appropriate provision.

Time will be identified for staff to review pupil progress, discuss pupil curriculum needs and to transfer information between classes and phases.

 The governors will ensure that moneys are set aside to develop resources in curriculum areas. In addition, the governors will ensure that staff are kept fully up to date about SEN issues and undertake training. For example:

 

.                      • CPD for all staff

.                      • Special Educational Needs Cluster Groups

.                      • Subscriptions (NASEN)

 

Identification, Assessment, Reviews

The processes by which the school identifies, assesses, tracks pupil progress and reviews that progress are a critical part of the school’s special educational needs provision. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice and The Special Educational Needs Toolkit give generic guidance but in the school’s policy it is important that the school reflects their actual procedures. Below are some broad headings that should help schools to develop this part of their policy.

On Entry

When children are first admitted to the school ………………………………………………………….

 Teacher Referral

If a teacher has a concern about a child they…………………………………………………………….

 Curriculum and assessment monitoring

The curriculum co-ordinators and the assessment co-ordinator will monitor the attainment and progress of pupils with special educational needs as part of their role. They will ensure that the SENCo is kept fully informed and if they have a concern they will……………………………….

 How a child is placed on Early Years Action or School Action

If a child’s performance is ………………………………………………….and they fail to make adequate progress the school will ……………………………………

The school defines adequate progress in key stage ……………. as ……………………. but in key stage……………….. as………………………………………………………………

 Movement between stages

If a pupil fails to make adequate progress despite the additional support which the school gives over the period of …………… IEPs at school action then a child may move to SA+

 IEP reviews (timescales)

IEPs will be reviewed regularly and parents will be invited to reviews. If they are unable to attend then a copy of the new IEP will be sent home and the parent’s views will be welcomed. At school action the school will review IEPs every ……………….. but in school action plus this will be ……………………………..

 Statement Reviews

If a child has a statement of special educational needs the school

will………………………………………………

 

Curriculum

The school should outline here the action that it takes to ensure that pupils have access to and make progress across the curriculum. This should include reference to the following:

 

o        Access to Literacy/Numeracy/ICT

o        Teacher planning

o        Differentiation

o        Disapplication

o        Withdrawal

o        IEPs in relation to curriculum

o        Resources.

It may be helpful to refer to the role of the assessment co-ordinator and the subject leader/ HoD and ways in which they evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum in terms of meeting the needs of SEN pupils in terms of pupil attainment and progress. This is good evidence for school self evaluation processes and reflected in the Ofsted School Self Evaluation Form.

 

Access to the full life of the School

All pupils whether they have a special educational needs or not will be involved in the full life of the school. The special educational needs policy should contain reference to how the school goes about ensuring that this happens in practice. Areas which should be included are:

 

o        Homework o        Trips
o        Clubs o        Swimming
o        Assembly o        School teams
o        Plays/productions o        Sport
o        Extended provision o

This is a fundamental element to the school meeting their responsibility under the SEN and Disability Act 2001.  Reference should be made to the school’s Disability Equality Scheme and also the Accessibility Plan.

 

Complaints

The complaint procedure for special educational needs mirrors the school’s other complaints procedures which can be found in the school. However, it is very important that parents are made aware of this especially as the LA now has conciliatory services to assist both parents of children with special educational needs and schools. The special educational needs policy could include:

 Should a parent or carer have a concern about the special provision made for their child they should in the first instance discuss this with the class teacher.  If the concern continues then the SENCO and class teacher will ……………………..

If the concern cannot be satisfactorily dealt with at this stage it should be brought to the notice of the Headteacher. If the Head is unable to resolve the difficulty, the parents concerns should be put in writing to the SEN Governor (name of SEN governor). The Chair of Governors, (name of Chair) will be involved after other avenues to resolve the situation have been exhausted.

The school must also make provision to inform parents about Parent Partnership and how to make representations to the LA.

 

Training

It is explicit and implicit in Section 317 Education Act 1996 that Governors and school staff to keep fully informed about developments in special educational needs. The TDA Professional Standards for Teachers also require staff to be well skilled and aware of local and National developments. How this is done has to be included in the policy. Therefore the following may be helpful in developing this section of the policy.

From September 2000, new SENCOs must undertake national SENCO training.

 The governors will ensure that they are kept fully abreast of their statutory responsibilities by attending training and receiving regular updates from the Head/ SENCO.

 The SENCO and Head will keep fully up to date about special educational needs issues through attendance at training and cluster meetings. In addition, the SENCO will develop his/her skills through attendance at specialist training discussions with outside specialists, reading and through subscription to professional bodies.

The Literacy and Numeracy co-ordinators will………………………………

 The Assessment co-ordinator will…………………………………………… 

Other teaching staff will be kept up to date informally by the Head/SENCO and formally at staff meetings and training.

 Teaching assistants who support individual pupils and groups of pupils need to have a wide range of curriculum and special educational needs knowledge. This will be regularly updated by…………………………………………………..

 

Outside Agencies including Health Services (Combining pt 14 + 17 in the Regulations)

There will be  a number of agencies with whom schools need to liaise. This can be time consuming but necessary if the needs of pupils are to be met. Depending on the special educational needs and age of the pupils this will be different for all schools. Those who should be included for consideration in this section are:

 

o        Education – EPS/adviser

o        Health – nurse, doctor, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist , Physiotherapist, Psychiatrist

o        Children’s Integrated Services

o        Parent Partnership

o        Traveller, etc.

o       LAC

 

It may be helpful to use the appendix of the special educational needs policy to add names of those currently involved with the school. This can be updated quickly and easily if personnel change without having to rewrite the policy. It is also helpful to cross reference the SEN policy with other school policies. For example, behaviour policy, child protection policy and so on.

 

Parents

Involvement of parents is a strong feature of Code, the SEN Toolkit, SEN and Disability Act and so on. It is vital that schools are clear about how they can keep parents involved. In this section the school should consider:

 

o        maximising involvement

o        welcome and induction of new pupils

o        how parents are kept informed e.g. IEPs/parents evenings, reviews

o        how the parents’ views elicited

o        Parent Partnership

  • Homework
  • Governors are required to report on the success of the SEN policy annually.

 

Schools may also wish to include how they plan to involve pupils in the review of the target setting process. This is also a strong focus in the recent legislation.

The SEN Toolkit gives suggestions about how this might be achieved but what schools need to develop is how they prepare pupils to have the skills and confidence to take a meaningful part in the decision making process. This starts at a very early age with simple choices but builds up to the major decisions that are made at the Transition Review Stage.

 

Links

The school should outline in the policy how they will develop partnerships and inclusive links with special schools. This will have mutual benefits to both staff and pupils as the LA develops its continuum of educational provision. The curriculum expertise of the special school can help mainstream colleagues to ensure access to the curriculum for pupils, part time placements, use of shared resources and so on. Therefore schools should consider:

 

o        Continuity and progression of curriculum provision,

o        Transfer arrangements and reviews,

o        Resources,

o        Shared expertise,

o        Joint Initiatives.

 

  1. Evaluation of the policy

In addition to the review of the special educational needs element of the SIP and progress towards the annual targets in the policy, the school needs to be confident that they are doing a good job.  This links directly to the type of evidence that can be included in the OFSTED self-evaluation form (SEF) and used as part of whole school self evaluation.  The school can evaluate the success of the policy by using both qualitative and quantitative judgements.

 

SEN Information Report

What is a SEN Information Report? 

The governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools and the proprietors of academy schools must publish information on their websites about the implementation of the governing body’s or the proprietor’s policy for pupils with SEN.

The SEND Code of Practice stresses the use of plain language. Both the policy and the information report should be accessible to Children and Young People and parents. There is no set format for the SEN Information Report.

The information required is set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 and must include information about:

  • the kinds of SEN that are provided for
  • policies for identifying children and young people with SEN and assessing their needs, including the name and contact details of the SENCO (mainstream schools)
  • arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education
  • arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education
  • arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes. This should include the opportunities available to work with parents and young people as part of this assessment and review
  • arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood. As young people prepare for adulthood outcomes should reflect their ambitions, which could include higher education, employment, independent living and participation in society
  • the approach to teaching children and young people with SEN
  • how adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN
  • the expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN, including how specialist expertise will be secured
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN
  • how children and young people with SEN are enabled to engage in activities available with children and young people in the school who do not have SEN
  • support for improving emotional and social development. This should include extra pastoral support arrangements for listening to the views of children and young people with SEN and measures to prevent bullying
  • how the school involves other bodies, including health and social care bodies, local authority support services and voluntary sector organisations, in meeting children and young people’s SEN and supporting their families
  • arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school
  • It should include arrangements for supporting children and young people who are looked after by the local authority and have SEN.
  • It should include information on the school’s SEN policy and named contacts within the school for situations where young people or parents have concerns.
  • It should also give details of the school’s contribution to the Local Offer and must include information on where the local authority’s Local Offer is published.

(SEND Code of Practice, 2015:106&107) 

 Schools must also publish: 

  • their arrangements for the admission of disabled children
  • the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others
  • the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children
  • their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time

(SEND Code of Practice, 2015:69) 

 Monitoring arrangements

The SEN policy and information report should be updated annually and any change in information during the year after publication should be added to the report as soon as possible (SEND Code of Practice, 2015:106) 


The Recovery Curriculum Resource pack – helping children back into school after lockdown.

This resource pack is based on the work of Barry Carpenter and the Evidence for Learning team: “A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic” (2020).

The Recovery Curriculum will help you understand how to holistically support your children and young peoples’ re-engagement with learning after a significant break in face to face education.

It is a framework, rather than a prescriptive tool, on which to hang your own content based around a systematic relationship-based approach. The Recovery Curriculum principles will be configured differently in different schools; fill it with the content you believe is best for the children of your school community.

To help you shape how the curriculum is embedded, the practical ideas you will find in this pack are linked to the different elements of the Recovery Curriculum.

Key Points:

  • Every learner is regarded as potentially vulnerable to anxiety during the transition back.
  • Be mindful that every child’s experience will be different.
  • One size does not fit all – any tool or intervention will have to be bespoke to the individual.
  • Children’s behaviour and cognitive state will regress when they are anxious and have experienced trauma.
  • To ensure recovery is on track, SAFETY FIRST – ensure children and young people feel safe before attempting to engage in any academic catch-up.

Download the full pack here


Webinar: Supporting a child with vision impairment in schools

In this recording of our introductory webinar, we use a an example student  (Eddie) to show:

  • how our Service supports a visually impaired student
  • conditions that cause the vision impairment
  • examples of advice, technology and mobility/orientation for staff to ensure the student has access to the environment and curriculum

You can download the Powerpoint slides here.

We would like to know what you think of this training. Please fill in our evaluation form.


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 – Returning to school for students with a Vision Impairment

Across the country, teachers are working hard to prepare for children to return to classrooms. This is a difficult time for everyone involved in education, including teachers and non-teaching staff, children and families. Life as we knew it before within education will be changed for the foreseeable future.

We are more than aware of the new challenges for all the children. However, for pupils with a Vision Impairment (VI) these challenges are even greater. Although no two pupils or two school environments are the same, we hope this general advice may help you to consider how you can support children with a vision impairment within your school and classroom.

1. Communicate openly with children and parents

The wellbeing of children returning to school is of equal importance, if not greater, than their need for education. Children with a vision impairment may have more specific concerns than other children with regard to the changes. They will also have the same general concerns as their peers. Open conversations regarding these concerns will be necessary. Parents may also need reassurance and support from teachers regarding their own concerns.

2. Speak with QTVIs

QTVI’s can offer specific advice and support for children with a vision impairment within the school. Once your school has a plan for opening, it is worth contacting their QTVI to ask for support and advice and to check that plans are safe and appropriate. If you have previous plans and advice provided to you by a QTVI, read over the assessments and plans to ensure that new

routines and plans within school are appropriate for children with a vision impairment.

3. Think carefully about changes to the school layout

Many changes are being planned for moving around school, entering and exiting, and how the building and classrooms are set out. It is important that teachers communicate these changes regularly to children who have a vision impairment.

One-way systems

One change that the government is suggesting is operating ‘one-way’ systems within school corridors, etc. If children with a vision impairment have learned a way of moving around school, they may need more time to practise moving around using the new ‘one-way’ system. Communicate your plans with parents and ensure that the child can practise this movement around school in a safe way. Now, more than ever, corridors need to be clutter free.

New classroom layouts

Guidance advises than all non-essential equipment should be stored, and classrooms should be decluttered. For a child with a vision impairment, who knew where equipment was stored and could move around the classroom with confidence, the new layout will present many challenges. They will need to learn and be taught what that new layout is like, and be given the opportunity to navigate through the classroom. Proposals also suggest that classes should be split and there should be a maximum of 15 children in each classroom. It would make sense to ensure that a child with a vision impairment remains within their familiar/usual classroom, to avoid having to learn new routes to places such as toilets.

Keeping doors open

Government advice suggests that classrooms should be adequately ventilated and that they could “prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind

fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation.” It is important to consider if this would pose a risk to a child with a vision impairment within your class.

New entry and exit points

On return, children may be required to use different entry and exit points than they were before. If a child has navigated through school using certain entry and exit points, is it possible for children with a vision impairment to use the same exits on their return? If not, when staggering start and finish times, be mindful of appropriate and safer times when a child with a vision impairment can learn to navigate their way to and from these new entry and exit points.

Additional support

In the published document, the government point out that “some children and young people will need additional support to follow these measures (for example, routes around school marked in braille).” Large print signs will also be useful for those who are not braille users. Teachers should communicate plans with parents of children with a vision impairment.

4. Consider hand-washing arrangements

There is an increased need to maintain good standards of personal hygiene, including frequent hand-washing. Allowing a child with a vision impairment to go first or last will help to avoid difficulties with social distancing. If a child in your class requires support with maintaining personal hygiene, it is recommended that settings “ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently.” Some children may need supervision and additional time.

5. Think about lunchtime and playtime arrangements

Lunchtime

Your school will have plans for the way that playtimes and lunchtimes operate – this will have changed significantly from pre-lockdown. It is more important than ever that wherever possible children can eat independently. If a child has packed lunches it is worth considering what type of food children have in their lunchbox and communicating this with parents. A reminder to parents to choose drinks without straws that are difficult to put in, practise opening packets of crisps with their children and make all items manageable and mess free – this will help children with a vision impairment have lunch independently.

Playtimes

The way that children play will be dramatically altered. Each school is devising new ways for children to remain socially distanced at break and lunchtimes. All children will find this a real challenge, but for children with a vision impairment, this will pose even more difficulties.

Teachers will be aware of the children who will have difficulties adhering to social distancing and adapting to the new routines outside of the classroom. An additional risk assessment may be required for these children for the unstructured times. Additional time should be spent explaining to the child with a VI the expectations at playtime and showing them where they are and are not allowed to go.

If a child uses a mobility aid (eg. a cane) this should be strongly encouraged during break times to aid social distancing.

6. Raising awareness across the school community

In primary schools, most children will already be aware if there is someone with a vision impairment; but, with the consent of parents, it might be worth a reminder to other children of the difficulties and challenges that may be faced by the vision impaired community when social distancing, both in and out of school. It may be a good opportunity for more education surrounding sight loss.

In secondary schools, this could pose a greater challenge with larger numbers of children. A potential change to timetables will hopefully mean that there is

less opportunity for mixing on corridors, etc. therefore reducing the difficulties. Children could potentially be allowed to finish lessons earlier than classmates to move safely to the next lesson. For children who would find this too difficult, they would need to be safely accompanied around school, but again this decision should be based upon individual needs.

7. Think about issues regarding the sharing of resources

Once in the classroom, the sharing of resources and equipment will not be allowed. All children will be provided with their own equipment. For a child with a vision impairment, this may be difficult if they cannot see which equipment another child has used, and which equipment belongs to them.

As stated previously, this may be a good opportunity for sight loss to be discussed openly by teachers in the classroom and highlight the difficulties faced by the vision impaired community. Children tend to be really helpful and supportive when they know the reasons for doing something. It may not have occurred to other children that some individuals may have additional difficulties with things that they take for granted.

Having a separate storage space for a child with VI’s equipment would also help them to know which equipment is theirs. Marking their equipment with a tactile sticker (eg. a dot of fluffy material or sandpaper), or giving them a contrasting colour pencil case (if they have some functional vision) will also help the child locate equipment.

8. Outdoor learning for children with a vision impairment

Outdoor learning will be high on the agenda, where possible, for many schools. Like lunch and break times, this will need to be fully risk-assessed on an individual basis. Outdoor lessons will need to take account of accessibility for all.

Resources will need to be accessible for those with a vision impairment. Differing levels of lighting outside could cause potential difficulties so it would be a good time to read over any assessments or information sent over from the child’s QTVI to refresh your understanding of their needs. Some of these things may have been automatic within the classroom and will require fresh

assessments to ensure that you are meeting their needs in the outdoor environment.

If a child has a learning aid in the classroom, such as screen share, teachers will need to adapt lessons to ensure that the child has the same access to learning and resources in the outside learning space as they would within the classroom.

9. Practising of independence skills

More than ever, children will be required to have increased independence within school. Now is a great time to remind parents of the need to practise some of those skills that will be more important than ever when back in school. Can they fasten their own coat, wash their hands independently, go to the toilet by themselves? For some children, this would not be appropriate, but, for many, it would be a great time to try! Teachers should explain to parents why this will be necessary under the new rules and guidance.

– 29 May 2020 (produced by Henshaws)

– 16 June 2020 – Adapted for use by Joseph Clarke Educational Service


Webinar: Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties

This webinar looks at the signs and indicators of Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties in the primary and secondary classroom, discuss teaching strategies to address these needs and look at the screening and diagnostic process.


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 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.

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 HI 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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)
– 1st June 2020 – Adapted for use by SENDsuccess HI 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.


Sighted Guide: Helping a vision impaired person navigate

Introduction

Sighted guide technique refers to a method by which a vision impaired person and a sighted person can walk together comfortably. It can be used to help a blind or vision impaired person move through space safely and efficiently. The child may have low vision or be blind. Most children who have reduced vision move about independently for the majority of time but may need assistance in dark, unfamiliar areas, crossing roads, to manoeuvre around obstacles or if their vision fluctuates.

Making contact

When you are going to offer sighted guide assistance, ask “Would you like to take my hand/arm?”

Normal Grip

The vision impaired person should grasp your arm just above the elbow with fingers on the inside of your arm and their thumb on the outside. The standard grasp is often too high for smaller children, so it may be best if they grasp your wrist or hold your hand. This will give both of you greater comfort and a sense of control. If the vision impaired person is very tall, they should place their hand on the guides’ shoulder.
For children with poor balance or who are frail you may wish to link arms for added support.

Photo demonstrating normal grip on upper arm

Photo demonstrating normal grip on upper arm

Setting Off

Hold your arm in a relaxed manner. Be careful not to let your arm wander. The vision impaired child should proceed half a step behind you. Do not drag the young person but allow them to follow your body movements. Ask the child to push on your arm to initiate forward.

Negotiating narrow spaces

In a busy crowd, or confined space, you may need to walk single file. Move your arm around to the middle of your back, keeping your arm straight. The child will move behind your back , extending their own arm to allow enough distance to walk comfortably.

Photo demonstrating navigating around a narrow space - The guide and the child are walking past a free-standing Caution sign.

Photo demonstrating navigating around a narrow space – The guide and the child are walking past a free-standing Caution sign.

Changing sides

If the child needs to change sides to the other arm, the smoothest method is for the person guiding to move their arm backwards. The child runs his/her hand along the guides back (maintaining contact) to the other side, then locates the other arm.

Photo demonstrating changing sides safely

Photo demonstrating changing sides safely

Changing direction

This simple technique is needed in small places such as shopping aisles or forgetting something and turning round. Just turn and face each other and allow the child to take your other arm.

Photo demonstrating changing direction safely

Photo demonstrating changing direction safely

Steps, Kerbs and Stairs

As you approach the step or stair square on, tell them whether the step/stairs goes up or down. Pause long enough for her/him to find the first step. If there is one, encourage the child to use the hand rail. Stay one step ahead and remember to always pause at the bottom or top of stairs.

Photo demonstrating how to guide a vision impaired person safely when using stairs

Photo demonstrating how to guide a vision impaired person safely when using stairs

Doors

For safety and consistency the following technique works best: The vision impaired child should be on the hinged side of the door. After opening the door, the person guiding can place the child’s hand on the door (if she/he cannot follow verbal instructions) or child may slide her/his hand along the guide’s to find the door handle. Make sure the child’s hand is in a safe position on the door. The guide opens the door, allowing the child to take control to open the door. For heavy doors the child may require assistance.

Photo demonstrating how to safely guide a vision impaired when opening doors

Photo demonstrating how to safely guide a vision impaired when opening doors

For more information please contact Avril Allen – Habilitation Specialist at enquiries@sendsuccess.org.uk


Webinar: Effective transitions for children with SEND in Early Years.

This webinar we look at what nurseries and pre-schools can do make the big move into Reception as smooth a possible, and the preparation that schools can undertake to help the process.

 


Webinar: strategies to support dyslexic students in the classroom: spelling

This comprehensive webinar discusses the principles of effective teaching of spelling; how to aid student retention of new spelling patterns; how to plan and deliver effective spelling intervention sessions and how to mark spelling to develop students’ confidence to write.
© Whitefield Academy Trust.