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Issue 71 Spring 2007

A beautiful picture of Abbie for everyone to enjoy

Contents Information Exchange celebrates the journey that we all make along the 'journey of understanding' about the special babies, children, young people and adults who share our lives. It exists as a Forum and support for all who have, along with sensory needs, other complex ones.

Contents Editors page


Abbie and the drums


‘The dark dark tale’ box


Information Exchange is compiled with help from many

Book Reviews


corners of the world - ideas written and spoken, ideas seen and experiences shared. It is fully independent and the Editorial Team work hard on a voluntary basis to bring out the magazine - three times a year. There are also unseen supporters of the magazine who help in many ways.

A Singing Sack


Lilli Nielsen writes ...




Sensabout – new resource from Sally Slater


Teenage Chillout


Information Exchange has a buzz that is fostered when

News from “New Scientist”


readers get together through the magazine itself. The basic remit of the magazine is the exchange of information in an accessible and unbiased way. There is a delight in newly found discoveries, sensory trinkets, soothing aromas, new ideas, books, technology, issues to discuss and Rag Bag ideas to share.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


Rag Bag To Buy


Rag Bag To Make


Rag Bag To Do


The Sensory ‘Auditory’ wall by Audrey Forbes


Information Exchange is for everyone - family members,

Smart Moves


parents, carers, educators, therapists or anyone who needs to find out more or gain confidence from others by reading, challenging and discussing. In this inclusive way, everyone is learning and growing together through the medium of the magazine.

Electronic Exchange


Setting up an exciting visual environment


Hirstwood Multisensory Training


An incredible journey


SLD forum – exchange of ideas


“The Magic Classroom”


Copyright We have requests to reprint articles that have appeared in Information Exchange from time to time. Please note that such requests are passed on to the original authors for their decision on publication. Price - £6.00 per individual copy Advertising Rates Back Cover Full Page Half Page Quarter Page

Thank you to Abbie and her parents Nick and Mandy Jones for giving permission for the beautiful picture of Abbie to be seen on the front cover.

£350.00 £250.00 £150.00 £75.00

Disclaimer The views expressed in Information Exchange are those of individual authors and so do not necessarily represent the views of the Editorial Team. Also, neither the individual contributors nor the team can be held responsible for any consequences resulting from the purchase or use of equipment, toys, techniques or ideas featured or advertised in the magazine.


Sally Silverman tells me they are amazing parents, and are so modest. They have set up a website for Abbie on

Abbie is also very special too!

Issue 71 Spring 2007

Editorial Editorial

The Information Exchange Editorial Team

Dear readers,

Flo Longhorn: Managing Editor, Consultant in Special Education Catherine de Haas: Parent and Speech and Language Therapist Pat Robinson: Subscriptions Secretary Roger Longhorn: Webmaster Kay Evans: Teacher and regular reader of IE Sue Granger: A volunteer who lives in France Sally Slater: Consultant in Special Education Karen Buckley: Advisory teacher working in Sheffield

Welcome to a spring issue full of ideas and articles for you to enjoy – and also ponder upon. I wonder if we realise what a rich multisensory resource is waiting for all special children and teenagers in the community. We can stick to the tried and tested visit to shops or the park or try something new. Last night I took my grandchildren to an amazing wrestling event for the evening. What a multisensory experience, the cheering crowd, the feeling of being welcomed into a large crowd, the bright lights, a fog machine (for the grand entrance of the wrestlers) the amazing antics of the wrestlers, some dressed in loud brash outfits. The master of ceremonies ‘using call and respond’ to egg on the crowd and giving permission for everyone to shriek, yell and gesture as much as you wanted! Even the ring itself was a wonderful resonance bard. I am pleased to say there were special children and people in the audience; the theatre had fine facilities to accommodate all. A young man who was a wheelchair user was as loud in his sounds and movements as everyone else –a wrestling match is a great leveller. So, use your imagination. Get out there and use what is waiting for the very special person. Best sensory wishes, Flo Longhorn

We need you! Please send your ideas articles, an interesting buy or idea to make. Without you, the magazine will not be full to the brim with exciting reading, in the summer!

Additional advice and support from Sally Silverman our roving reporter Kate Sullivan, Bronwen Campbell and Naomi Rosenberg: Support teachers for the Sensory Impaired Service in Bristol Evelyn Varma who lives in Somerset: Editing and Word Processing And you - the reader, send your ideas and articles to the Editor! Subscriptions All enquiries to: Sara Cliff Subscriptions Information Exchange 1A Potters Cross Wootton Bedfordshire MK43 9JG Tel and Fax: 01234 764108 Email:

Editorial and Administration Address Flo Longhorn: Managing Editor 1A Potters Cross Wootton Bedfordshire MK43 9JG OR 24 Fazantenlaan Bredene-Am-Zee B8450 Belgium

The editor! Tel/Fax: 0845 127 5281 Email:

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Abbie and the drums Abbie had a great time using the Timponi Drum, tapping with the drumstick, tapping with her hands, trying to ‘catch’ the coloured spots which were being projected onto the drum.

She had a great time with the Timponi drum, but an even greater time lying under this type of drum.

She loved it, lots of smiling, laughing, eye contact, stilling, reaching up to tap drum herself. I wanted to know what it was like so tried it myself. What an amazing experience. The vibration and sound was great, a real ‘in your tummy’ feeling. Thank you so much to Gill for taking time to write this article and take some amazing photos

Trying to ‘eat’ the spots on the drum.


– And to the star, Abbie! – Gill Scutt Nursery Nurse, Sensory Support Service, Bristol.

Issue 71 Spring 2007

‘The dark dark tale’ box – as told by staff at Curnow School in Cornwall Recently I visited Curnow School in Cornwalll and was made very welcome. A member of staff showed me this really good story box. The story is printed on the box with the contents. This means that the all the parts can go back at the end of the story – nothing gets lost.

‘In the dark dark house there was a dark dark door’ ‘Behind the dark dark door there were some dark dark stairs’ (The door opens and the stairs are made of carpet so fingers can climb them)

Here is the story with some of the special effects. Thank you Curnow School! In a dark dark wood

‘And at the top of the dark stairs was a dark cupboard’ (The stairs are cut out of black card and lie on a piece of card. When the card is moved, it looks as if you are moving up the stairs too)

‘In the dark dark wood there was a dark dark house’

‘And in the dark dark cupboard was a dark dark box’ (The box is painted black inside and out with a Velcro latch) ‘And in the dark dark box there was – a mouse!’ (A little box is placed inside the cupboard and inside is a mouse! You could vary the contents of the box so the listeners have an extra surprise!)

In a dark dark wood In a dark dark wood There was a dark dark house And in that dark dark house There was a dark dark door And behind the dark dark door Was a dark dark stairway Up the stairs was a dark dark room And in that dark dark room

There was a dark dark cupboard And in that dark dark cupboard Was a dark dark shelf And on that dark dark shelf There was a dark dark box And in that dark dark box ................ There were mice!

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Book Reviews “Music Makers“

Sensory Stimulation

by Hannah Mortimer (2006)

”Sensory-Focused Activities for People with Physical and Multiple Disabilities” by Susan Fowler

Music circle times to include everyone. A practical book for all early years’ settings who are looking for ideas of additional activities to motivate participation by their pupils. Intended for use by nonmusic specialists, this book includes more than 40 activities to encourage listening, enjoyment, movement, communication and understanding. All activities are linked to the ‘Early Learning Goals’ and ‘Birth to Three Framework’ and in addition, record keeping and planning sheets are included. – A useful publication and very good value at £12. Fits in with special children as well. Available from QEd. Tel: 01785 620 364

Handbook on Medication for Carers of People with Learning Difficulties I have been shown this book written by a pharmacist Miriam Wilcher. I thought it looked excellent and that you might like to share – says Mandie Lewis in Bristol!

We learn about the world constantly through our senses and by interacting with it. Children explore and play in different environments and in doing so they find out what burns them or hurts them, what can be eaten, which things smell nice and what different sounds signify. This process of exploration and learning continues throughout our lives. Because of physical, sensory or intellectual disabilities many people have not had the same opportunities to explore and interact with their environment. Sensoryfocused activities are designed to provide environments in which people with disabilities can have the opportunity to use their senses to learn about and interact more meaningfully with the world. This photocopiable resource provides the reader with a step-by-step approach to organising sensory-focused activities for carers and other professionals working with people with physical, multiple or complex disabilities. Importantly, it also presents information on sensory stimulation within a framework that embraces the person’s daily environment. Activity ideas are based around food, drink, personal and household care and crafts and are kept simple so they can be slotted into daily routine with minimum disruption. Assessment forms and checklists will help carers and support staff to monitor and understand their clients’ needs and progress.

Thanks Mandie!

Published with Scope from Jessica Publishers

Go to: and search for: “Handbook –Medication – Carers”

Price: £29.99

From the editor Susan has written a very useful multisensory book – especially for older students. It s full of ideas that incorporate everyday living skills. There are lots of unusual ideas such as homemade cosmetics. Within the book are also some useful checklists that are easily adapted. Well done Susan! This book fills a sensory gap for teenagers and students.


Issue 71 Spring 2007

A Singing Sack A Singing Sack!

Here are some ideas…… Nursery rhymes

Adapted from When you are thinking of singing songs or nursery rhymes… • Have you ever wondered what to sing today? • How to introduce a new song? • How to encourage the children to suggest a song to sing, that is the same one as yesterday, and last week? • help… I can’t think of anything? The answer lies in a

‘singing sack!’ It is easy to make, and everyone can make one, all you need is a bag such as a draw-string bag, a pillow case, a strong canvas bag. The bag can be decorated with the singers handprints or musical items sewn on securely-how about bells! When you get together for a song, pull out the singing sack and let it lead the music session. Choose someone to delve into the sack,a nd select an object, and off you go. In larger settings, it may help to have a song list – a list of songs relating to objects, so that if different practitioners are carrying out the activity, they have inspiration, and then to change and vary the toys occasionally. What do you put in a ‘singing


Anything that inspires a song! Think about objects that are already used as objects of reference such as a wooden spoon for cookery-link it to a cooking song such as the ‘Queen of hearts, she made some tarts…..’ add a heart to personalise the rhyme as well. A selection of small world objects, pictures, or real objects that l relate to lots of different songs could also be used.

A toy bus

The wheels on the bus

A fresh pea pod

How many peas in a pea pod pressed

A doll

Rock a bye Baby

A stethoscope

Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick

A happy face

If you’re happy and you know it

A rabbit

Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose

A teddy

When Goldilocks went to the house of bears Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear If you go down to the woods today

A scarecrow

I’m a dingle dangle scarecrow

A spider

Little Miss Muffet There was an old lady who swallowed a fly

You can change the singing sack to relate to your theme – if you are doing a spring theme, add spring animals – colours then add a rainbow, or little boy blue, for weather you can add a rain hat, or a piece of drain pipe (for Incy Wincy Spider to climb). … Think about students too and use the latest top hits for the singing sack. Find out what they like best of all and include in the sack – use a cd player to back up the objects with the stars singing along: Queen – we are the champions – a football scarf and colours The theme from Coronation street – a bar of Cadburys chocolate Lady in red – a red dress

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Lilli Nielsen writes..... Here is the third article by Lilli Nielsen about her work with very special people This article describes how Lilli devised the HOPSA dress to enable children to move around without help, despite being unable to walk.

The HOPSA-Dress Scientific research? Or just the evidence gained from the improvement in children? In the beginning of the 1980s we got a new pupil in our classroom. She was 7 years old; she was blind and suffered from cerebral palsy. She did not have any verbal language but she was very good in smiling. She was unable to control head movements and so also unable to sit unsupported. Her hands were always clenched and each was situated next to each side of her head. Her legs were very thin and she was always found with very cold legs. The colour of the skin on her legs was violet and red showing that the blood circulation was very poor. Her feet were dropped.

The girl was very pleased. During the first month she had difficulties in holding her head up. To support her in this aspect we placed a neck bag (such one you use in the airplane on long distance flight) under her chin. After a few months she became able to control her head movements. Gradually she also learned to bend her ankles. And she achieved warm legs. To be sure that the environment was renewed now and again we sometimes hung the HOPSA-dress so high up that there were space for an ESSEF Board with a Resonance Board placed upside down on top of it to be placed under her feet. On the Resonance Board we placed some glass marbles. The girl found out that if she pressed a little on the board the marbles would run to the left or right according to which foot she used. After 8-9 months she did not have the dropped feet any longer. Then she started to walk in circles, an activity I could not accept (she is blind and will never be able to see how we walk). To help her to learn to walk straight forward we got a track attached to the ceiling. Now the girl could walk up and down the corridor along a wall to which was attached several objects for her to play with. Her coordination between arms and leg movements became better and better.

In order to make her feet and legs warmer we gave her massage, vibrating footbath, thick woollen socks, fur backs, and you just name it.

In other settings we facilitated her learning to use hands in midline organisation, and we also facilitated her learning to swallow without spastic reactions, etc. etc.

Of course she also had a physiotherapist who treated her 2-3 times per week. She has had physiotherapy for years before she came to our classroom.

Having seen her reaction to the HOPSA-dress I began to expose other children to this devise. Or I should rather say learners because I have done this for learners of all ages. The oldest one was 81 years old.

None of these efforts had helped the girl to achieve warm feet.

So what is it that the HOPSA-dress is doing? Here is a list, which surely is not the final list.

At that time I could only see one thing that would help, namely that the girl started to move her legs by her own. I designed the HOPSA-dress, which at that time was attached to a hook in the ceiling. I placed her so high up that she was unable to touch the floor but had the full freedom to touch the material placed under her feet. This was sometimes a plastic dog bed with warm water, sometimes big pieces of silk paper, or wrapping paper, sometimes 50 plastic balls.



The blood circulation is enhanced. Better blood circulation affects the function of the lungs, the brain, the muscles and the renewing of cells of the skeleton as well as the rest of the body.


The muscle strength is enhanced, which also means that the receptors for haptic perception become less

Issue 71 Spring 2007

Lilli Nielsen writes..... lazy than in the past, which again means that the brain get more input to work with. This again helps the learner to control his movement, and makes it easier for the learner suffering from cerebral palsy to counteract his spastic reactions. 3.

Increased intestinal functioning


Better bronchial condition


Increased the ability to use feet for tactile orientation (especially very important for the visual impaired learner.


Learning to balance, an ability, which is very important to achieve in order to be able to walk.


As a whole activities performed while in the HOPSA-dress impact the learner’s entire health conditions.

Details about the hopsa suit can be found at the website

Who is Dr. Lilli Nielsen R? Dr. Lilli Nielsen (Dr. phil) grew up in a family with four blind siblings. She has been working with disabled people for over thirty years. For 29 years, she acted as an advisor in the field of special educational needs at the national institute for blind and visually impaired children and young people in Denmark. She is a trained preschool teacher and psychologist. She was awarded a doctorate (PhD) by the University of Aarhus for her investigation into spatial perceptions in congenitally blind children. In 1997, the Queen of Denmark awarded her the “Knights Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog” for her work with disabled children and young people. Dr Lilli Nielsen has already written ten books on her work with disabled children. And in 1999, the first video was released on the use of perceptualizing aids.

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Education Courses and Conferences

The Whitworth Art Gallery: Manchester

Sensory Tool Kit and Tools for Teens

The Art Treasure Chest

Edinburgh 15th to 17th May 2007 London 23rd to 25th May 2007 Cork 29th to 31st May 2007

A specially designed teaching resource for children with special educational needs. Packed full of activities and resources, the Art Treasure Chest brings the Gallery and its artworks to life. Resources and activities have been tried and tested on children with a range of special educational needs. Some groups felt the chest was a “wonderful idea”, “a great hands on experience” for their children and they “could use it again as it was a wonderful idea, all the children enjoyed looking at objects and being able to feel the textures and hear sounds – especially the visually impaired”. Teacher’s commented that their experience with the chest has helped the children “understand the gallery is a place of beauty and fun”. One teacher commented that she intends to “use it a lot with all age groups” and another said that she would “return in the future to explore more of the Gallery”. When your group visit, they will be assisted by two members of our Treasure Chest team – volunteers who know the Gallery and can provide support during your visit. We recommend no more than 12 pupils per visit and that sessions last no longer than 90 minutes.

Do you need some tools to address SENSORY INTEGRATION, SENSORY PROCESSING and CHALLENGING classroom behaviours in INCLUSIVE classrooms? The sensory Tool Kit TM workshop inservices school administrators, psychologists, social workers, nurses, regular education teachers, special education teachers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and parents. SI Network UK and Ireland Ltd are delighted to announce that Diana Henry OT will be coming to Edinburgh. She will present a three day course on Sensory Processing. The three day course will cost £350 or £515 to include all equipment, handouts and copies of Diana’s books ‘Tool Chest’ and ‘Sensory Integration (SI) Tools for Teens: Strategies to Promote Sensory Processing’. Further details from

Aromatherapy and massage for children with complex needs – an introduction

The Art Treasure Chest is FREE.

This course is with Jane Harrison who is co-author the excellent book’ aromatherapy and massage for people with learning difficulties’ and has taught courses in the subject both here and abroad.

For further information please email or telephone 0160 275 7453

This practical course will give participants an introduction to massage, concentrating on its use to relax or invigorate children with complex needs.

Try your local museum or gallery and see if they have similar resources

The dates are 15 may Leeds 8 June Birmingham 28 June Preston 2 July Leeds Organised by the RNIB further details on Or call 0121 665 4221


Issue 71 Spring 2007

Sensabout – new resource from Sally Slater Splashing away in the harbour – A ‘Sensabout’ multisensory experience Sally Slater, on the editorial board of Information Exchange, has been involved with other colleagues in beginning a new range of interactive materials. These materials have been carefully designed to meet the requirements of all learners, and in particular, complex needs. Sensabout is an inclusive educational package created around the theme of simple shapes found in different places. The package contains •A DVD of 60 photos with sound effects •Original songs •Recording sheets linked to P levels •A resource book that has photocopiable materials The first resource pack is called ‘Stars at the harbour’ which focuses on stars found in the harbour and at the seaside -with photos, songs and activities.

Here is an example: The beach Party You can use the photos depicting the party on an interactive board, the special song ‘Lets dress up for the party, dress in our finery, shine and sparkle…..’ There is a list of suggested props such as glitter face paints, steel band instruments…. There are ideas on how to link the props and actions ‘Hands around and enjoy the drinks at the party Experience ice and lemon, smell rum and gin!’ So this is a pack of high quality materials at a very reasonable cost. Well done Sally and associates! Flo Longhorn Look at the website

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Teenage Chillout The Beauty/Barber Shop

The following solar mobile and girly pink ideas for teenagers are all available from Tel: 08702 402407

This is a Propbox for a beauty or barber shop. It Includes collections of objects and materials for teenagers to discover, use and find out more. The materials can be set up in a corner or in a big barber or beauty box. (updated 2006)

Solar System Mobile

•Combs, brushes, pins, hairnets, clippers, curlers •towel, plastic apron, plastic basin, smocks, small cape (to drape on shoulders) donated from beauty shop (or small blanket with clothes pin can be substituted) •pretend nail polish, emery board nail dryer, nail polish bottles •shaving mug, shavers •make-up, make-up brushes •wigs or hair pieces, bobby pins, hair accessories (ribbons, bows, barrettes, large scrunchies, hair clips) •hair dryers and/or curling tongs with the cords cut off (watch out for the curling tongs with bristles – they can really tangle hair) •clean empty shampoo/conditioner and hairspray bottles (hot-glue caps on if necessary) •cash register and play money/credit cards •make scissors out of heavy cardboard and attach two pieces with a fastener, •mirror, broom & dustpan, telephone, appointment book, paper, pencils, magazines for waiting room, old hairstyle books or pictures from magazines pasted into a book or put into a PowerPoint presentation.

Explore the wonders of the solar system on the ceiling of your own room! A huge ceiling mobile featuring all nine planets orbiting around a light up sun. Transforms a child’s room and captivates them at bedtime! Includes remote control to turn on the movement of planets and an audio CD teaching fascinating facts on the planets and solar system. An educational masterpiece! Price: £35

Be Tickled Pink…

Visit and click on the Propbox link for more ideas.

…with this see-through inflatable bath pillow filled with light fluffy pink feathers inside! It seems completely incongruous resting your head on a pillow filled with feathers whilst in the bath but it sure does give you a feeling of luxury and relaxation! Ideal for the beach, by the pool, in the sensory room or even for travel. With suckers on the underside to attach. Inflatable Feather Bath Pillow Price: £4.99


For a Girl’s Car!

A unique mix of character and music creates a personality with attitude. His horn glows and his eyes move to express his inner “cool”. Create your own personal mix by picking a beat, rhythm and lead. He speaks, laughs, farts and burps while his eyes move. Connects to your iPod (or other music source) to play your tunes – and he can stand on any single leg.

The Pink Car Kit is a pink zipped bag containing the following: Notepad, pencil and pen, tax disc holder, air freshener, emergency hammer with light and seat belt cutter, disposable gloves, torch with strobe effect and flashing hazard, jump leads, ice scraper, mobile phone charger with all necessary bits and of course instructions on how to use the jump leads etc.! Price: £29.99

Approximate price: £25 Available from: Vivid Imaginations Ltd. Tel: 01702 200660


Issue 71 Spring 2007

News from “New Scientist”

This article was abstracted from ‘New Scientist ‘ and is of interest to readers who are involved with children who are over sensitive to sounds; this may be a reason why. You can download white brown or pink noise from the web. Just do a search, any feedback is welcome! The editor

Hyperacusis Imagine waking up one day to find that the world has become louder. Sounds that were once tolerable – running water, footsteps, and a ringing phone – are suddenly deafening. It’s as if someone has turned up the volume. You want to run and hide but it follows you everywhere. This is the world experienced by sufferers of hyperacusis – literally excessive sensitivity to normal sounds. It can range from an annoyance to a completely debilitating disorder. Sufferers don’t have better hearing than everyone else; rather, they perceive sounds to be much louder than they actually are. While an average person can tolerate anything up to 100 decibels, which corresponds to the sound of a car horn blasting in your ear, the maximum level someone with hyperacusis can tolerate is usually only 60 decibels, the level of normal conversation. An ordinary voice sounds more like gunshots. To a sufferer, even the sound of their own voice can be intolerable. What causes hyperacusis? Nobody knows. It can be brought on by, among other things, head injuries, and exposure to extremely loud sounds, Lyme disease and autism. It has also been linked with tinnitus, a disorder that causes people to hear phantom sounds, such as ringing or buzzing. Is there a cure? Not yet, though there are treatments. The most successful is a therapy using so-called “pink noise” – a sound spectrum in which the amplitude decreases with increasing frequency; so low notes are louder than higher ones. It is a good model for everyday environmental sounds. If hyperacusis sufferers can gradually be desensitised to pink noise they will learn to better tolerate the sounds of the outside world. They can do this by listening to specially recorded pink noise CDs, or better still by wearing custom-fitted sound generators that transmit pink noise straight into the ear.

New Scientist, 15 July 2006

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder IF YOU CAN’T SEE THE BABY IN THE PICTURE, DON’T GIVE UP. ITS REALLY COOL WHEN IT ACTUALLY APPEARS. THIS IS NOT A JOKE AND NO – NOTHING IS GOING TO JUMP OUT AT YOU! You have to have an open mind, Don’t look for a baby, and you will see the baby.

‘When a baby is born, they open their eyes and have a peep into the world around Soon a face hovers into view and the baby alerts, looks and shows lots of interest in this face. The face responds and cuddles and loves the baby. The reason the baby shows so much interest in the face is because there is a special reflex in the lens of each eye called the ‘face reflex’. This means that most babies cannot help but seek and look for a face so they can bond and survive. This face reflex stays with most of us all our lives- hence we see faces in the clouds, in doodles, in soot in the chimney…! Faces are stored in the brain along side facial emotions. Can you remember dipping into this face box in the brain, feeling the ‘brain strain’ as you try to remember and put a name to a face you have seen before. What a relief when it pops out!

memory storage. Perhaps this reflects in how they find it hard to read emotions in faces, as they cannot recall emotional faces from the correct area of the brain. Babies who are born with visual impairment will need alternatives to seeking out faces to survive; this can be through touch, smell and sounds, a bigger challenge for them for them than just looking at a face. When we see faces upside down, the brain interprets them in a different way. It interprets the face as an object, without any emotional input. Have a look at the famous ‘ Mona Lisa’ painting upside down. Most probably your brain will store this as an object and not with emotions. It is just the face of the Mona Lisa.

Children with autism have a different way of looking at faces, they are usually not too keen to look and avoid eye contact like the plague. Research tells us that when they do scan a face and the brain stores it –it is not stored in a specific area for faces but goes into general


Issue 71 Spring 2007

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Now look at the same picture which is now the right way up-do you see a difference as the brain looks, and now reads it with emotion and then stores it? You will probably see a rather miserable looking Mona! Wheelchair or buggy users will probably see a lot of upside down faces if the person involved does not move down to their eye level. Then they can read the face with more meaning, as it is the right way up!

When working with very special learners think about using this desire to search for faces, in planning for them. For example, look at the skills they will be sharpening when looking at a range of faces

• Seen on a face power point put on an interactive board • Seen in a scrapbook of faces • A symbol face painted with glow paint • Their own face in a mirror • A face with a false nose or glasses • a face made with pasta

In order to identify a face they have to recognise a whole range of face features:

Now have a look at the picture below

• The contours of a face • The boundaries of the face-where it begins and ends • The edges of face parts-such as the nose • The brightness and contrast within the face • Shadings of colour • The symmetry of two sides of the face • The parts of the face • The whole face • Figure/ground discrimination-seeing the face distinct from the backgroun

Quite a lot of work and what excellent literacy targets to aim for! You will probably see the face of an old man with a beard first-your eye reflex leaping into action! But now try and look at it in a different way, using your little grey cells to help you. You should see a woman sitting on grass under a tree, looking at the view in the distance. What you have done, is overridden your urge to look at a face and used abstract thought, imagination and logic to work out what else you can see in the picture. This is what very special people find the hardest thing to do, to switch from a built in reflex or concrete thinking to abstract imaginative thought. They are not ready to enter the stage of ‘theory of the mind’, which means they have difficulty in using imagination, curiosity and abstract thought.

There is a lot of research work being done in this interesting area; here are some references for those who want to follow this in more depth.

I have a big power point presentation of ‘male faces’ – I use this for recognition of faces, reading of faces, sex education, history time line of ‘young to old’, art appreciation and fun! I am happy to share this with you. If you would like a copy of this then send me a CD with an enclosed envelope addressed to yourself- and I will copy and send it to you. It is too big to send by email! My address is on page 2 of the magazine Flo Longhorn

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Rag Bag To Buy – younger children Family House

Discovery Dome

This Family House features table, chairs and oven together with 2 figures. The set features bold colours and no small parts.

Combines fun and developmental activities with a child’s very own play space, to interact with the world. Each wall of the Discovery Dome has specially designed activities to develop manual dexterity and introduce colours, shapes and numbers for hours of fun!

Approximate price £13 Available from Playmobil Tel: 08704170007

Approximate price: £40 Available from TOMY Tel: 02380 662600

DJ Piano An electronic keyboard with integral microphone and 4function mixer for mixing music, fun and creativity. Features a drum button, a lights and sounds effect sphere, a joystick with fun sounds and a “scratch” effect lever. You can also select different musical sounds by simply pressing one of the six corresponding buttons. The keyboard has 3 modes of play. Approximate price £20

Learn-Around Playground Links physical movements to learning experiences. Over 45 interactive touch points introduce the alphabet, numbers, language, opposite words, music, different textures, colours and shapes, growing more age appropriate. Approximate price: £60 Available from LEAPFROG Tel: 0800 169 5435

Available from Chicco Tel: 01623 750870

Ideal Blox Mamma Lullaby Night Light A cot panel that allows mum to record her voice and replay it to help her child sleep or to reassure them when they wake. It has a double function: it projects soft, coloured lights to the rhythm of sweet classical or new age melodies and relaxing nature sounds. Approximate price £20 Available from Chicco Tel: 01623 750870

A wonderful educational puzzle which can be used at the individual development level of each child. It works on spatial awareness and three dimensional reasoning. It is excellent for children with learning difficulties as it provides a fun and frustration free learning tool. Approximate price: £9 - £13 Available from: Oops A Daisy Tel: 01895270089

Kiddie Tune Bench Funky Footprints Following the footprints triggers silly sounds. Also a counting mode.

Take your pick of the instruments and join in the music. A unique toy. Size: 10 x 34 x 34cm

Approximate price: £15

Price: £37.99

Available from: Early Learning Centre Tel: 08705 352352

Available from: Telephone: 0845 458 9292


Issue 71 Spring 2007

Rag Bag To Buy Rainbow Sound Blocks

Fun Gripper Target Toss

These six different shape and colour blocks can be stored in the wooden box. Beads can be seen through the transparent coloured surface and when each block is shaken it will produce its own sound according to the size and number of beads. Fun can be had fitting the blocks back into the container when play is finished.

Fun target for throwing activities. Different sized pockets give increasing levels of difficulty. The target is collapsible and folds away for easy storage. Set includes: Target, three Grip Balls, three Fling Socks and a storage bag.

Approximate price: £20

Price: £25.95

Available from: DKL Marketing Tel: 08700 129090

Available from: PE Essentials

FurReal Cuddle Chimp


Chimp is the lovable, huggable chimpanzee that just adores being cuddled! He can reach out to give you a hug and loves to clap his hands when he’s happy. Watch his facial expressions change and listen to him make realistic baby chimp sounds. “Feed” him when he gets hungry with his banana shaped bottle.

Available from: Madeleine Lindley Ltd. Telephone: 0160 683 4400 Fax: 0161 682 6801 email:

Approximate price: £35 Available from: Hasbro Tel: 00800 2242 7276

This Knight’s tent and cushions would make a magnificent little room for older children or teenagers. A wonderful exciting environment!

Knight’s Tent Even Knights have to take a break sometime. Rest from your adventures in your Knight’s Tent. Includes floor mat. Cushions sold separately – see below. Price: £109.99 Cushions Merlins and Artus Cushions Price: £29.99 Available from: Tel: 0845 458 9292

Rag bag to make

A cheap and effective mobile All you need is a hanging basket, put a screw in the ceiling. Attach the basket and fill with what ever is dangly and fun! This mobile was photographed at Curnow school in Cornwall, and was filled with daffodils and a rustly pom-pom. If you put the basket on a chain, it can be lowered to wheel chair height for best interaction.

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Rag Bag To Buy Tocki Tocki designs products to stimulate the senses. Ann and Harry Tock make all the products. They recently won the Gold award from the National Toy and Leisure Libraries Association for their stunning products. The tubes come in all different sizes and are all very strong and beautiful. Here are selections of the Tocki Toys.


Top Hat Twister

These Glitterscopes are similar to a kaleidoscope and used with the tubes, create a firework effect, which is amazing.

Tubes which revolve and are interchangeable.

The Willis Wheel Musical Mushrooms Assemble and then press down to get an extra reward of music. Tunes available are: Teddy Bears Picnic, Greensleeves, and theme from Love Story.

It turns right or left-handed and has 6 tubes which cascade down to fill the centre with colour. The original and most popular mirror background.

Gold Award Winner

A request from Australia

Massage and the senses

Andrew Short from Australia wrote to tell me about his experiences with remedial massage. He has cerebral palsy and he reports: ‘My therapist and I have found that blind folding me during massage means that my muscles are not as tense. I just wondered if you were interested to know.’ Andrew has found that by closing down the major sensory channel of vision, that he can concentrate more on control and relaxation of his body. He also told me that he did not smell any of the aromatherapy oils used during his sessions. So he has taken it a step further and reported: ‘Today I took my ear plugs and my blindfold and went to my massage, when I arrived the therapist put the ear plugs in my ears and helped me tie on my blindfold (It also covered my ears) I could hear but not as much and it was harder to hear the therapist’s voice. I lay down and we had the massage, it took a while to make my breathing silent) the main thing I could hear was the plugs in my ears. I found the experience in silence to be relaxing. The therapist was pleased and my muscles were relaxed. We tried walking with the plugs and blindfold but not so good. The interesting thing is that I could smell better, than just using the blindfold.’

So help please! Andrew would like to know if anyone who reads Information Exchange has had similar experiences in the use of massage that could be useful to him. You can contact him via Flo


Issue 71 Spring 2007

Rag Bag To Buy from Sally Silverman & colleagues in Bristol

Sharing Sheet Check out this black and white bag for life from Sainsburys at the moment. Cost 50p. They say they are selling like hot cakes, but keep your eyes open there will be more.

Look up the eBay Home page. Go to Toys / Special Needs + Autism. There is a treasure trove of light up toys and gadgets like this spinning ball torch £2.99. Thanks to Kathleen Bebbington for telling us about this.

“Zebbie Zebra” (far left) £4.99 from The Book Cupboard, Gloucester Road Bristol. “Funny Boxer” £2.99 also from The Book Cupboard I have tried to buy some more of the zebras, book cupboard no longer doing them so contacted the company direct they are actually reviewing them at present and it will be updated with 'Debbie Zebra'!!! shortly. They are going to send me one of their catalogues which hopefully will be useful. Kath.

These Dizzy Discs Glow in the Dark! Found for £2.95p each in the Explore@Bristol shop. Look up . Can only buy wholesale but the disc shown is animated on-line.

Great wand, £2.00 at Explore@Bristol shop. (GMG Novelties DT11 7TE Dorset U.K.) Gentle slow colour change or flashing mode. Soft coating for small hands. This sheet will come out on an “every now and again” basis when we have enough juicy items to share. We’ll include items to make/buy/ to find. The aim is that by sharing we’ll help each other to help the children. So enjoy and share. We’ll compile the sheets only through emailed contributions. Please feel free to pass on to families / friends / colleagues. All emailed contributions to or Sensory Support Service Bristol

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Rag Bag To Make – from Kay Evans Make paper bag fish

How to Make Balloon Plants

• Find paper bags – 1 each • Choose a paint colour or two • Use your fingers to paint the bags

Making Balloon Plants is a wonderful activity! You can also use them to give as gifts, or to make at parties. Children love making them and you will enjoy watching your new plant grow. • Hold a balloon firmly by the neck (the neck is the long part). Use a funnel, and pour 1⁄2 cup of dirt into the balloon. (Try to find clear balloons to use.) • Keep holding the balloon by the neck and add about 1 ⁄4 cup of water through the funnel. Be sure the soil in the balloon is wet, though it shouldn’t be soggy. • Use the funnel to drop the radish seeds into the balloon. Don’t turn the balloon over. • If the balloon is dirty, wipe it carefully with a washcloth. • Now you’re ready to blow up your balloon! Keep holding it gently by the neck. Now carefully blow air into the balloon. You need to keep the balloon from tipping. • Tie a knot in the neck to keep the air in the balloon. Tie a ribbon around the knot. • Tie the balloon to a hook or other place near a window. The neck should be the top. • Your balloon plant is ready to begin growing!

on both sides and add an eye to the bottom end of the bag • When dry stuff the bag and make a fish shape by tying string around the bag.

Double Bubbles Check for allergies first!

• Spread newspaper over the work surface or work on a washable surface (outdoors if desired!) • Mix 1 part washing up liquid, 1 part washable paint, and 2 parts water. Stir well. • Blow out through a straw into the mixture until enough bubbles fill the bowl • Press paper on to the bubbles to make a print • Mix up a 2nd colour and repeat but print on top of your 1st colour bubble print.

Real octopus exploration! • Buy enough frozen squid or small octopus and let them defrost. • Divide into two halves and play with half of the squids/octopus – explore them but do not allow the students to eat them/ mouth them in order to play safely. • Count their eyes and legs • This could all be repeated with fresh crabs and prawns • Dip them in a dish of paint and use them to make prints. • Dispose of these and cook the other half of them gently in olive oil to taste them!

Freezing cold! • Fill a new balloon or latex glove with water and freeze it.

• When they are frozen explore the shapes that have been made before and after tearing of the moulded shape.

• See if the shapes sink or swim in a bowl of room temperature water.


Cress numbers What you will need: Card, foil, dark paper, glue, blotting paper and cress seeds What to do:

• Cut out squares of card: cover them in foil, folded over the sides • Cut out a number to fit on the card made from blotting paper or double thickness kitchen paper • Dampen the paper and cover it with the seeds • Cover it with the dark paper for a couple of days until they sprout, then uncover it in the light to grow. • You will discover a magic number growing!

Thankyou Kay for your sensory ideas to make.

Issue 71 Spring 2007

Rag Bag To Make – Kay Evans Potato Pete

Bubble Wrap Print

What you need:

Enable children to explore the bubble wrap, feeling and noisily popping the puffy bubble pouches before expecting them to paint on it. Who can resist popping those clear, smooth bubble pouches! After exploring, bubble wrap becomes an intriguing printing material with unusual and beautiful results. Let children pop and play first and the painting activity will go much more smoothly. Usually children are often more captivated by mixing the paints in the baking tray than painting on the bubble wrap.

Potatoes – cut off the top and bottom & hollow out, Damp cotton wool, cress seeds, plastic trays and cloves, pen for facial features What to do:

• Draw or ‘model’ his facial features • Put the dampened cotton wool into the potato shell and cover with cress seeds.

• Potato Pete will develop his own crazy hairstyles, sitting on the tray!

Fractions This sounds a difficult aim but it is easy to show by using different fruits and vegetables cut in half and or quarters. Look at the seeds and their patterns, then enjoy their smells, feel them and eat to finish.

Soap sculpture (check for allergies and be careful if students tend to mouth things) What you need: Lux flakes, warm water in a tray, paint What to do:

• Froth up the flakes in the tray of water • Make shapes in the bubbles • Add the paint and do the same sort of things The shapes that result are quite a sight to see!

Paint with Baby Oil What you need: Baby oil, coloured construction paper, Q-tips, paper What to do: • Using light coloured construction paper, try painting a design with baby oil. Anywhere that has baby oil becomes transparent when held to the light or hung in a window. • Try this technique on a photocopied image – follow with the Q-tip and see what it looks like

What you need: • Newspaper • Bubble wrap (any size bubbles), approximately 9 x 12 square or larger (Note: big bubbles make big dots, and little bubbles make little dots) • Masking tape, tempura paints, shallow baking pan, paintbrush, • Large sheets of paper, wet sponge What to do: • Cover a table with newspaper then place a sheet of bubble wrap on the table, taping down corners to hold. • Put several puddles of different colours of paint in the baking pan next to the bubble wrap. Place a paintbrush next to the pan. If necessary place loops of masking tape to keep it from sliding around the table. • Have a stack of extra paper handy for multiple prints. Be sure the paper is larger than the wrap. • Paint directly onto the bubble wrap with as many colours as desired. The more colours the merrier! • When the bubble wrap is covered with colours, press a sheet of paper onto the bubble wrap and lift off a multi-coloured print. • Remove the print to a drying area and repeat with fresh paper. If bubble wrap becomes murky with colour, simply wipe it off with a wet sponge and begin again. Variations: Explore lifting prints from other textured materials, suggestions include: • Grass • Welcome mat • Gravel path •Wire screen • Un-crumpled tin foil Explore lifting prints from items glued to cardboard, suggestions include: •Buttons •Plasters •Bottle caps •String •Masking tape

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Rag Bag To Make A Springtime rabbit hutch

Art Activities

A lovely hutch for a springtime rabbit

String Painting • Use a short stiff piece of string as a ‘brush’ on the paper. • Use a long coiling piece of string with clothes peg on end as a handle in a small dish of paint. • Fold paper in half and coil string inside it. Apply gentle pressure on top and pull string gently out.

You will need: •Fluffy cotton wool •A round box •Coloured paper, doyleys, ribbon •Straw or shredded paper How to make the rabbit hutch: •Decorate outside the round box with the ribbons, papers and doyleys •Inside the box, line with green paper and blue for the bottom •Place the shredded paper or straw in the hutch •Fashion a rabbit shape from the cotton wool, adding eyes and ears •There you are, a very happy bunny in a new hutch!

A twirling wind vane hanging from the ceiling and introducing a pupil in the class.

Crepe paper magic fantasia You will need lots of crepe paper in a whole rainbow of colours • Rip and tear the paper into small pieces – look at the colours and forms as you make a pile of all the colourful scraps • Everyone can choose some pieces and place them on a piece of white paper or card • Take a water spray bottle and gently soak the pieces on the paper • Watch for the magic to happen as you lift off some of the pieces of crepe and see the magic smudgy colours beneath • Spray again and remove some more • Let it dry and you could laminate it as a special colourful place mat 22

Sand, salt or sawdust • Children paint pictures on paper using clear clue (cellulose adhesive). • Using sand, salt or sawdust in a shaker (which can be made from a plastic container) shake sand, salt or sawdust over the picture – then place the surplus into a box in the centre of the table. This gives a textured picture’ effect. Wax resist • Warm a candle or wax crayon slightly (e.g. on a radiator). • The children draw with this and then paint over the drawing with a very pale wash of colour. • If this is done with a candle it is like ‘magic’ painting, as the original drawing ‘magically appears’. OR use brown wrapping paper or greaseproof paper to draw on, with finger dipped in cooking oil. Allow ‘oil’ picture to set, then wash over with paint. Finger Painting • Use a cold water paste (NOT with fungicide). • Spread paste over sugar paper. • Have small dishes of ready mixed paint and teaspoons (or paint in squeezy bottles) ready. • Sprinkle several colours over paste – then mix with fingers or a comb. • Dry powder paint can be sprinkled on in the same way. OR mix cold water paste and powder paint to give a deep rich colour. • Let children crayon thickly all over a piece of thick paper using different colours. • The quickest way is to use the side of a wax crayon. • Cover the whole sheet with the paste. • The children can then draw on the paste with fingers and the crayon will show through.

Issue 71 Spring 2007

Rag Bag To Do An idea to share with other IE colleagues from St Anne’s Community Special School, Welton, East Yorkshire We think we saw the poem about snow in an old issue of I.E. but we then put it to music and adapted it for various times and seasons. This is a lesson starter linked to the weather and a sense of time, which the children in our class of 2-5 year olds, really enjoy. We haven’t come up with an idea for days which are just ‘dull’ – but we are working on it!

• Fog is falling, fog is falling • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is covered

• In a grey gown in a grey gown (grey sheet)

• Rain is falling, rain is falling • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is covered • In a glistening gown, in a glistening gown (blue sheet)

The weather and a sense of time Set up The children are • Placed in a small circle • They hold a sheet or cloth which is wafted up and down to the tune-‘Frere Jacques’ • Then it is pulled over everyone’s head on the final line To the tune ‘Frere Jacques’ we sing the following: • Snow is falling, snow is falling • Round the town, round the town. • Everywhere is covered, everywhere is covered • In a white gown, in a white gown (white sheet)

• Sun is shining, sun is shining • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is

• Rain is falling, sun is shining • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is covered • In a rainbow gown, in a rainbow gown (multicoloured sheet)

• Leaves are falling, leaves are falling • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is covered • In an orange gown, in an orange gown (orange sheet)

• Grass is growing grass is growing • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is covered

• In a green gown, in a green gown (green sheet)


• In a yellow gown, in a yellow gown

• Night is falling, night is falling • Round the town, round the town • Everywhere is covered, everywhere

(Yellow sheet)

• Wind is blowing, wind is blowing • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone is covered • With a warm gown, with a warm gown (knitted blanket to cover everyone) (This rhyme is said very quickly so the cover makes good draught!)

• It is freezing, it is freezing • Round the town, round the town • Everyone is covered, everyone

is covered

• In a black gown, in a black gown (black velvet sheet)

Materials needed Sheets or large pieces of material in the following colours. Some look super with sequins added: White, yellow, pale blue with sequins, orange with felt leaves attached, multicoloured with coloured sequins, green, a knitted blanket, a survival blanket, grey, black velvet

is covered

• In a crinkly gown in a crinkly gown (survival blanket)

You are stars! Thank you to everyone at St Anne’s school for this very sensory activity-such fun! The editor

Issue 71 Spring 2007


The Sensory ‘Auditory’ wall by Audrey Forbes I sent out a number of begging letters to firms in the Bristol area where my school is situated. One reply was from a local firm who invited me to come, look and see what I'd like to take away with me, as fabric for another potential sensory drama. One of the fabrics was a net that's used as prisoners wash bags. The firm sews them up as 'laundry' bags and sends them on to prisons. I thought this could be quite an interesting fabric to have, so the firm gave me 10 metres or so of fabric amongst other pieces I was allowed to take away. The Managing Director, David Neary of Severnside Fabrics Ltd, allowed me to take away whatever I wanted without any charge whatsoever. His was the only response from a dozen or so letters I’d written to local firms and it was a very welcome one to receive! The fabric is basically a soft mesh nylon net that I thought would be useful for future sensory dramas or perhaps something to use in my classroom as well. One of the children in my class has cerebral visual impairment, is learning to balance and potentially could be mobile in the future. Following discussion with our class Physiotherapist, I thought we could use this fabric in order to develop his balance further. I stapled the fabric onto wooden door frames we have in the classroom and with my trusty assistants Zoe and Sam, chose objects I thought he might find interesting to explore and use. My little boy (aged 4) uses his auditory channel as his main way of accessing, so we have constructed his very own 'auditory' wall for him to explore using material donated by Severnside Fabrics. Bells, crinkly cellophane, Persil soap bags filled with a variety of items, rope for hand holds and musical instruments have all been tied onto the white nylon net. Its early days, but has been a success so far and he's spent some time exploring his own 'auditory' wall whilst standing and balancing unaided. My Physio thinks I ought to patent it.


We have also tried it out the ‘wall’ with non mobile children in ‘tumble forms’, supportive seats, standing frames or side lying couches. The downside of this is that they have to access the materials sideways and will need adult support to cope with this. Responses have been really good and we will continue to use this in the future. Potential areas that we could to develop in the future could highlight 'areas' to develop sensory awareness hard/soft, rough/smooth etc. Maybe use it rather like an old fashioned 'rag rug' looping different materials through the holes or use it as part of our ‘theme’ work in class or throughout the school. It's got a lot of potential and is a very simple idea. So my message to you is to approach your local firms and see what they can offer you. In my experience, firms are very accommodating and will help you out! Audrey Forbes

Issue 71 Spring 2007

Look at me I can balance!

Smart Moves Thank you to Karen Buckley for sending in these details about Smart Moves – a motor learning programme that could be used with an inclusive group of pupils

Smart Moves is a motor learning programme for the development of motor skills, which are essential for children to be included effectively in mainstream school P.E. lessons. Designed by Sharon Drew, Occupational Therapist; it supports children who move and learn differently at Key Stage One and Two. In particular it would benefit pupils with Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia and those who experience coordination difficulties. It could be considered as wave 2/3 intervention for physical education. It contains a screening tool (called the Movement Abilities Profile) which is related to developmental norms for motor skills and to the physical education curriculum. However, it is designed in such a way that findings can be easily interpreted by an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist should a referral be necessary. The purpose of the screen is to provide an initial baseline from which to measure future progress against and to help with goal setting. It is not a diagnostic assessment. There is a flipbook of activities divided into; warm up, main activity and cool down activities. Both Movement Abilities Profile and activities are subdivided into four areas; ‘methods of travel’, ‘balance/linking actions’, ‘ball skills - sending and receiving’, ‘team games – dodge/chase’ and can be carried out with equipment that is generally available in school. The programme is easily understood and administered by the nonspecialist. Programme delivery is flexible and can be matched to the time and space available. There is a strong emphasis on pupils setting their own targets and monitoring their own progress which reflects current government guidance. Hence if the initial screening identifies many areas of weakness but the pupil is interested only in improving his football skills so he can be included in playground football, then the targets set and the activities used would reflect this. It is possible to include the activities in whole class physical education lessons and with a little imagination; most of the activities can be easily adapted to have a literacy or numeracy teaching component. The delivery of the programme also aims to promote teamwork and cooperation,

valuing each individual contribution and so promotes self-esteem. The children are encouraged to problem solve, suggest improvements to activities and evaluate their own performance at the end of each session. I have been involved in testing pilot materials for this programme and have given regular feedback to the author. Every child who I have worked with has enjoyed this programme and all have improved their physical skills, most showing an improvement in handwriting and an increased level of confidence and self esteem as their physical prowess grows. I have enjoyed teaching using these materials, because the activities are fun and motivating. It costs £85 (including postage and packing) for the programme. The materials are provided on a CD Rom so the initial outlay is the only outlay. You can buy it through Smart Consultancy & Coaching Ltd. (www. Written by; Maggie Goley, Teacher with Derbyshire Local Authority Support Service for Special Educational Needs.

Taking part and collaborating together

Ending the session with a handshake!

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Electronic exchange Online games that are switch enabled

GIZMO Fancy a shirt that displays a video message to match your mood, a sofa that glows in the dark or even curtains that flash You’re in luck – from next year, photonic textiles from Philips will make that possible. Waterproof LEDs and wires are woven into the cloth and pre-programmed graphics will flash and appear to move over the surface.

Inclusive technology has teamed up with CBBC to modify several CBeebies games so they can be operated using switches. This makes them ideal for pupils with impaired physical motor function to stimulate and motivate interaction.

Relaxation Time – taken from the ECAPPS newsletter! Thanks Mandy! ~ the editor

For early e-garments check out http:/

“Reduce your stress levels listening to soothing sounds online”. This site has a number of sounds that could be used within activities such as sensory stories/sensory drama. The sounds are listed in groups: • Nature Sounds (e.g. jungle, waves, waterfalls) • Animal (e.g. ducks, seagulls, tigers) • People (e.g. snoring, traffic, playground) • Miscellaneous (e.g. clocks, cycles, vehicles) Click on the images that represent the sound and you will hear the sound and see a number of pictures relating to the sound. The pictures are clear, making this a great screen related activity also.

For those working with ‘deaf blind’ children and adults Time to visit in English NUD has launched a brand new website. Whilst some information is only available in the Nordic languages, we have an English section featuring news, library catalogue, publications and more. So, if you have not yet visited, now is the time to direct your browser to and click ‘English’

Free tickets for special students, 12-18 year olds, workshops and shows – education workshops as well

TacPac now have a website!

London Theatre challenge for Special Schools – further details from;

A fun, multi-sensory activity pack for all children learning to communicate in the early years.

Boogie Beebies

Multisensory story telling information Select Projects on the Homepage and scroll down to Multi-sensory Stories and Sensitive Stories. Have a look at the research project Real Lives: Real Stories – Developing Literacy Skills through Multisensory Story-telling in Children and Young People with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. This project produced 50 personalised multi-sensory stories in collaboration with parents, carers and teachers. The benefits of the stories were explored through a questionnaire for parents and teachers, and a behavioural analysis of the responses of the children across repeated readings. Also visit Multi-sensory Stories to see the brochure ‘The Multi-sensory Story Library’. This section lists the books and some of the materials used. The concepts may inspire content ideas you can use to create some books for the people you support.


A website that provides simple dances for younger children to aid coordination and listening skills –

A Message from Catherine de Haas ‘I have received a copy of the new ‘Inclusive Technology’ catalogue today. It has new products suitable for very special people, for as little as £9. Personal talker £10 one talk. Also information in the catalogue about how to choose a communication aid. The on line catalogue is out of date but the SITE can be used to order the current catalogue. To me this is something that has been needed for some time, affordable voice recorders that can be scattered strategically round a class room, that are easy for pupils to activate themselves, and that they may take home in their pockets and continue to utilise communication opportunities that would not otherwise be there.’

Issue 71 Spring 2007

Setting up an exciting visual environment Overhead projectors (OHP’s) are nearly obsolete now we have data projectors. At Coventry Art Gallery I saw a fascinating OHP set up that was lots of fun and could be used by everyone.

Then a sheet was hung up and the colourful images projected on to the white background. A multi sensory light display!

A space had been set up with boxes of ‘see through’ sensory materials and a table upon which to work. On the table, the OHP was switched on and the see through materials could be placed on the glass.

When the lights were dimmed in the room, the OHP glowed with beautiful colours and materials.

Special learners could easily place the materials on the OHP glass to their own preference – and create their own exciting experience! Materials in the ‘see through’ box included: • feathers • cellophanes • see through bubble wrap • laminates • glitter • voiles • see through silks • toffee wrappers • shredded cellophane Flo Longhorn

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Hirstwood Multisensory Training Thank you Richard Hirstwood 28

Issue 71 Spring 2007

An incredible journey Last summer, Mike Ayres, who designs wonderful sensory studios amongst other things, donated a wonderful box of sensory materials to the Woodside Sanctuary in Johannesburg. The box arrived at the sanctuary for abandoned children and special people, bringing great excitement. When it was opened we found it was full of many wonderful materials including parachutes, twirling shapes, and also many glittery sticks. These materials were distributed within the Sanctuary and also to many small centres for special children, who do not have funds for specialised equipment. Some materials also went to an institution for people with dementias; the parachutes brought great fun into their lives.

One of the glittery sticks made a special trip as Sylvia, a senior occupational therapist from Jo’burg, was going to Mauritius to lecture and advise on helping special children in that country. She took a parachute to demonstrate its many uses and also some glitter sticks. Here you have a photo of a special teenager looking with great intent at the glittery stick. It was being used as a visual stimulation to see how much she could actually see-as well as a source of great pleasure. Thanks Mike! From everyone!

A Willow Cane Sculpture This was photographed at Coventry Art Gallery. The willow canes were just heaped together with a box of exciting sensory materials. Anyone was invited to thread, weave or create a pattern on the willow canes.

A variation on the willow canes was a structure made of basket weaving cane. Here you see a young visitor threading ribbons and glittery materials on to the structure. A growing piece of art as everyone contributed on the day.

Issue 71 Spring 2007


SLD forum – exchange of ideas Sensory markers and calendars – taken from SLD forum – written by FAL( Smashing to read all contributions to the sensory markers and calendars. It must be so helpful to get huge sensory clues at the beginning of the day to point the way forward to the delights to come! It is also special if families or carers also know about them and use them in the home during holidays and weekends. Otherwise it is a blank day to anticipate. Just a few sensory pointers: Smells If you use bergamot which is suggested as a smell, then take care it is not put directly on the skin to smell. This is because if you use ultra violet light in the following 24 hours, there is a chance of bad reactions on the skin. Interestingly, on a scale of odour intensity (Tisserand) it scores 4 whilst camomile and cardamom have the strongest odours. By the way, you can now buy fabrics by the metre which are impregnated with micro-encapsulated smells which are released through touch and movement. I have contact with an art student who is designing smelly clothes using these materials, for very special children – wow! Johanna de Haas a very special teenager (Making friends with Johanna) uses a fragrance for each day with body spray, talc shampoo so she carries the reminder on her all day. It is as follows:

Monday – Strawberry Tuesday – Dewberry Wednesday – Peach Thursday – Mink Friday – coconut Saturday – Lavender Sunday – Vanilla Sounds With the music, very recent brain research has flagged up rap music as the one which makes the brain ignite all over – much more impact than Mozart… But do make sure you check on the words as they can be quite spectacular and rude! The music used at Ty Gwyn School in Wales (modest souls) is as follows: Monday – Tranquility Tuesday – Pan Pipes Wednesday – Peaceful Pachabel Thursday – Lord of the Dance Friday – Taize Touch If you use a touch cue then try for quite rough textures as these are vibratory and send strong messages via touch receptors to the brain. We also sense colour through our skin – the radiation sense – so go for colours to link to touch as well, babies adore red followed by yellow. Try a red nail brush! Best sensory wishes Flo Longhorn

A peep into Spring Windmills and ‘fly in the sky’ materials With ideas sent to us by Freda Leask in Scotland who wrote a lovely leaflet called ‘ideas for the vision group’. Sally sent them on to Information Exchange, with her permission. More in the summer IE – thank you Freda!

Equipment Reflective windmills, crepe paper ribbons, bubbles. Ideas Use this for outdoor activities. Encourage children to look as they hold up their windmill. Who wants this windmill? Look for eye contact. Give to whoever looks. Take turns. Get them to hold on to crepe paper ribbons and watch them in the wind. Draw attention to each other and to what is happening.


Extend the activity and ‘Let’s go Fly a Kite’ Equipment Water play tray, buckets of water, hose, watering can, floating toys, fairy liquid, food colouring, protective clothing. Ideas Watch and listen as water is poured in. Splash each other. Float bright toys. Push them to each other. Put in the food colouring and watch the changes. Watch the hose spraying, watering can sprinkling. Watch the ‘fairy liquid’ go in. Splash and make bubbles. Do this outside!


Resources Bright kite, coats, hats, fan. Ideas Sing the song in the classroom. Show the kite. Go up and down. Get coats and hats on. Talk about windy weather and the need to keep warm. Outside – talk about the weather again etc. Fly the kite. Indoors in the dark room, look at the kites; use the fan to make the tails blow. Sing the song (the one from Mary Poppins is great! – the editor)

Issue 71 Spring 2007

“The magic classroom” taken from Barbara Prashnig “The power of diversity” Network Educational Press

Issue 71 Spring 2007


Information Exchange - Spring 2007  

Information Exchange magazine - Issue 71 - Spring 2007

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