Coronavirus Home Learning
School closures and self-isolation bring many changes and new challenges for parents and children. Children may be experiencing a wide range of emotions during this transition, from fear and anxiety to excitement and enthusiasm. Even positive emotions can be unsettling.
The following suggestions are designed to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone:
1. Create a routine for your child as soon as possible.
It’s normal for a lack of routine and structure to make children feel anxious and upset, especially if they have special educational needs and disabilities. It’s important to include your child when thinking about how you structure the day and different activities you can do together. You might want to think about having different routines or activities in different rooms for example, depending on the space you have at home. Perhaps there’s something your child loves doing, like artwork or playing games, that can become part of their daily routine.
2. Use visual timetables and Now/Next board.
Tutorials on how to use visual timetables and Now/Next Board recorded by Wandsworth Autism Advisory Service can be found here:
Timetables - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUzxUP_98wU
Now/Next board -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v8gTDP8XRM
***Please see the resources page for useful templates and worksheets***
3. Offer frequent learning/sensory breaks between tasks.
Learning/ sensory breaks are mental breaks children can take in between learning tasks. These activities can be active or relaxing, depending what's needed for each child.
***Please see the resources page for examples of sensory activities***
4. Make sure your child has quiet space to learn.
Use timers to indicate how long your child is expected to focus for. A quiet space, free from distractions (TV, radio, computer etc) is important and helps the child to concentrate better.
To explain how long your child is expected to focus for, to make the transitions even easier and to prevent your child from being on the iPad or sitting in front of the television for too long use sand timers. Just let the child know that when the sand timer is finished, the activity is finished as well. It is crucial to persevere with this method and turn the TV off even if the child is protesting. They will eventually learn and associate the end of a timer with the end of activity.
Tutorial on how to use timers, recorded by Wandsworth Autism Advisory Service can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4_qm0Xg0JM
5. Help your child to stay in touch with friends and family
Your child may be missing their friends and adults they see regularly. Try to think about other ways they can see or speak to them e.g. having phone or video calls with them. Please always ensure your child is safe online and supervise them.
Useful links to help you to cope at home.
- Thrive Wandsworth
- Home schooling children with SEND (UCL): a series of information resources to help parents, carers and families support pupils with SEND at home during school closures.
- Kids has resources for parents and carers around coronavirus.
- The National Autistic Society has some helpful resources around coronavirus, and recommends activities to help young people cope with lockdown such as virtual museum tours or movement and mindfulness videos.
- Communication support for families learning at home from the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).
- Tips for children on coping with uncertainty from Autistica.
- Advice on supporting children with challenging behaviour from the Challenging Behaviour Foundation.
- News on coronavirus rules for children with autism and learning disabilities during lockdown.
6. Make sure you look after yourself too.
As we head towards the end of term, with uncertainty still evident in our lives, it is normal to feel fatigued and overwhelmed. For parents and carers facing potential isolation with children at home, the intensity of these feelings may be heightened.
Please allow yourself to take some time to focus on yourselves and your needs - the most important task for families to manage these changes should be self-care.
Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause.
It is so important to replenish ourselves so that we have enough to give to others. The key to implementing self-care is to first recognise that it is not a luxury but is essential not only for ourselves but for our families, so commit to allowing yourself some guilt free time. Schedule it in at the beginning of the week like you would appointments and protect that time so it doesn't get knocked out by other things.
Get the family on board and explain why it is so important. This will help them learn this as a valuable life skill and maybe they can schedule their own 'self-care appointments' for themselves. You could make a self-care jar each with all the activities you like to do and pick from them during each of your allocated self-care times - remember this is your time, not shared! It could be scheduling a call to a good friend, a bath, a walk, a cup of tea in the garden, reading in the day, a puzzle - importantly it must be something that works for you.
When parents and carers "fill their own cups," they have more patience, energy, and passion to spread to their families.Have a look below for some self-care ideas and useful websites and support:
Websites and resources:
- Self-care materials for children
- Mind support with self-care
- Self-care is about the things we can do to look after our own mental health – Anna Freud Centre
- Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email email@example.com or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Samaritans Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).
- SANEline. If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
- The Mix. If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.
Useful links for Maths
https://classroom.thenational.academy/specialist/subjects/numeracy - Oak academy lessons to support children with additional needs in specific areas of maths.
https://www.easyreadtimeteacher.com/teacher-classroom-resources/ - Resources to support teaching to tell the time
https://www.weareteachers.com/active-math-games - Active games to support maths learning
https://www.didax.com/math/virtual-manipulatives.html - virtual physical resources to help children understand maths, cubes, tens frames, number lines, bead strings, and many more!
Useful links for English
https://www.callscotland.org.uk/downloads/posters-and-leaflets/android-apps-for-learnerswith-dyslexia - Android Apps for Learners with Dyslexia / Reading and Writing Difficulties •
https://www.callscotland.org.uk/downloads/posters-and-leaflets/powerpoint-books-foryoung-readers/ - Free Powerpoint Books for Young Readers
https://www.booksfortopics.com/dyslexic-readers?fbclid=IwAR1_cTqfjiglKkzG9UVxUq_cwmZfBJ9yIvdA6R5utt-Jbxer7Xy6xLaolY - List of Dyslexia friendly books
https://www.rhymingmultisensorystories.com/ - Multisensory stories for downloading using signs, props, movement etc. to engage children with special needs.
https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading/free-ebooks - Free e-book library, select by age group