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Issue 74 Spring 2008

Saskia working hard for her review at Abbey Court School

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.

Information Exchange is compiled with help from many 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.

Contents Editors page


Shakespeare rules OK!


Book and DVD Reviews


Spring is in the air – from Les Staves


Playing safety with play dough – Flo Longhorn


Visual reviews at Abbey Court School


Teenage Chillout


Rag Bag To Buy


Information Exchange has a buzz that is fostered when 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.

Woodside Worlds


Rag Bag To Buy


Rag Bag To Buy and Make


Rag Bag To Make


Developing curriculum at Barrs Court School


Information Exchange is for everyone - family members,

Journey to Antarctic – Flo Longhorn


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


Multisensory news


Hirstwood Multisensory Training


Courses, conferences and events


Visual stimulation mats


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

£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.


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Editorial Editorial

The Information Exchange Editorial Team

Dear readers, Some changes to the dates of publication of Information Exchange are about to happen. We have had feedback from readers that they would like the magazine to appear at the beginning of term or half term, as most readers are based in school or college settings. So we have decided to change the publication dates to the following times: Beginning of the summer term (mid April) After the autumn half term (end of October so that readers can use the Christmas ideas in time for Christmas) After half term in the spring term (end of February) So the next edition of Information Exchange will be after the autumn half term – end of October. Readers will have lots of time to follow the Christmassy ideas the magazine will contain. I do hope you enjoy this very bright and exciting spring edition and please keep sending in your ideas for publication – especially ‘rag bag’ ideas, Best sensory wishes, Flo Longhorn The editor, caught out raiding a skip near Euston Station in London, the smell from the armful of rescued lilies was wonderful!

Flo Longhorn: Managing Editor, Consultant in Special Education Catherine de Haas: Parent and Speech and Language Therapist Sara Cliff: Subscriptions Secretary Kay Evans: Teacher and regular reader of IE Sue Granger: A researcher and mum Sally Slater: Consultant in Special Education 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: 0845 127 5281 Mobile: 07964 225568 Email:

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

Welcome back to England Sue Granger (on the editorial board) and family. They have returned from living in France for the last couple of year. A happy time in the U.K for you all! Comments from Readers – thank you!

Tel/Fax: 0845 127 5281 Email:

Message from Sara Cliff the subscription secretary Because of the changes in publishing times, there will be a bonus issue at the end of the year to ensure readers have had the correct number of issues this year.

From Drummond School in Inverness – ‘A fantastic magazine , packed full of ideas’

Website Go to and look for

A happy time in the UK to you all! And congratulations Sue on gaining your MSc!

”Information Exchange page”

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Shakespeare rules OK! – Teenager chillout page Teaching Shakespeare to students who are Multi Sensory Learners

‘It can't be done I hear you shout! Oh yes it can, it has and it was great fun.’

I am a teacher for students from 14 to 19 years old, who are Multi Sensory Learners with varying degrees of ability, and some on the Autistic Spectrum. I have taught this group of ability students for the last 10 years and have 25 years experience in special education. The idea of teaching drama is not necessarily to have an end result, however during my learning experiences I have found that with a class of students who are Multi Sensory Learners, it makes for a more concrete experience for them. We started with the 'Scottish Play' (we must not name). This play has to be the best one of all, Macbeth the costumes, the music, the props, the characters the actual story line lends itself completely to a whole sensory dramatic experience. Of course we're not talking the fullunedited version but one that I altered and shortened. I even managed to get a cartoon version of 'The Scottish Play' and others from our local library. This proved a great success as the staff buddies observed

Tom making props

and reported that all the students, even those who usually had a short attention span, were alert and engaged during the whole experience. The classroom was set out as a Shakespearean theatre. The students were introduced to the play for the term. Some students studied photographs of the main characters: some students explored Objects of Reference and listened to short descriptions of each character using RNIB descriptive vocabulary. As each week passed the students were assisted to 'act' out key events in the play. The 'Scottish play' and others we experienced were probably not done in the same way as Shakespeare wrote them: they were definitely not as heavy!

Tory helps with the props

The students and staff had lots of fun and staff buddies learnt a lot about the student's abilities in a more relaxed atmosphere. The student's role played the main characters, and enjoyed trying out and auditioning for each part, we even put together a props and a sounds

Simon and the drums


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Shakespeare rules OK! – Teenager chillout page Tory and special effects

a wicked witch

effects department, with the students making and exploring different props and sounds effects.

Other plays we performed were Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Julius Caesar.

At the end of the term the 'acting troupe' opened the 'theatre' to perform our version of the plays for the school. With great pride and humility I watched as my students recreated their version of each play, with their staff buddies assisting. The delight and pride on the 'actors' faces was plain for all to see as we 'socked' it to them and proved that yes they could learn about and perform Shakespeare's adapted plays.

we three witches

It was a fantastic experience for all the students and the staff, with the student's abilities shinning through. cackle cackle!

At this point I would like to say a huge Thank you to all the staff who assisted with great enthusiasm! If anyone out there is toying with the idea of teaching some Shakespeare plays to their groups of students or has already done so and has great ideas to swap please don't hesitate to get in touch. Julie Nicholson. My E-Mail is Or write to me at Mayfield School, Gloucester Road, Chorley

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Book and DVD Reviews Jabulani!

Practical Sensory Programmes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Special Needs by Sue Larkey Published by Jessica Kingsley Price: £17.99

Carol Shephard and Bobbie Stormont Hawthorn Press £14.99

Children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) often have sensory processing difficulties. They may be very sensitive to particular sounds or materials, or unresponsive to injuries most children would find painful. This practical book offers a six-step approach to developing a successful programme to help children cope with sensory input they find overwhelming, and to identify activities they may find relaxing or rewarding. Sue Larkey draws on her experience of working with children with autism to offer more than 30 activities using touch, sound, taste, vision and movement, and gives advice on how to use these activities as opportunities to improve children’s communication skills. She provides detailed photo-copiable checklists to assess children’s sensory reactions, sleep patterns, sense of movement and use of eye contact. Parents, occupational therapists and educational professionals will find this workbook to be a rich source of fun ideas for improving sensory processing in autism, and easily adaptable for children with other special needs.

Two hugely experienced teachers and workshop leaders, Carol Shephard and Bobbie Stormont, wrote this book. They maintain that anyone can participate in the activities whatever their ability, background or experience. Jabulani is divided into six sections: • Finding your instruments •Finding a Rhythm •Finding your Voice •Finding Ways to Bring Music Into Other Activities •Finding an Ending •Appendices There’s also a 51-track CD so that the reader can hear the activities in action. The book begins with this Zimbabwean proverb: If you can walk, you can dance If you can talk, you can sing All can and will do Carol and Bobbie believe that ‘music is everyone’s birthright’. This is a manual to access what you can do with a drum, a rhythm or a sung note. Use it and have fun!

Have Loads of Fun with

“What’s Wrong with My Hair? – a giant interactive board book. The book has head-shaped holes for children to try out lots of wacky hair styles and includes a bonus step-by-step activity to make your own lion hair! Price: £9.99

A new poster created for the charity Scope, showing disabled and non-disabled children at play in a fantasy storybook scene. Scope’s In The Picture project is a three-year, Big Lottery-funded initiative aiming to increase the number of images of disabled people in books for young children. To support Scope’s work and to order a poster, priced £5, send an e-mail to:

Online DVD Online videos about ’Intensive Interaction’ –have a look at a 15-minute video of Phoebe Caldwell working with a boy who has autism. Phoebe Caldwell visits Ricky, an 11-year-old with severe autism, to use a communication method called intensive interaction to improve his learning. Phoebe has been working with adults and children with learning difficulties for over 30 years. Working with him both at home and school, Phoebe uses Ricky's behaviour and body language as the basis for communicating with him. Phoebe is able to draw Ricky into shared activities as he begins to recognise his own rhythms in someone external to him. Intensive interaction is relatively simple to use and teach to others. It can make a big difference to communicating with pupils with a variety of severe special educational needs. The method requires thinking about the way communication is made with those with learning difficulties. Go to 6

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Spring is in the air – from Les Staves When spring comes – visit the trees By Les Staves Education of the senses and pleasure go hand in hand. Moving through space, fresh air and scents, through changing lights and sounds are tonics to us all. Such stimulation sends our brains racing for more information learning as it does. This brain exercise is vivid and real and as we seek the direction of sounds, light and smells or discriminate sources, evaluating separating, focusing; touching, tracing shapes and textures we are driven to communicate the pleasure and the questions the experience generates. The world is our sensory room lets remember to go to lovely places for the delight and the learning and when we go let’s share the feelings, talk and sing together with our children. Now that the year has turned days will be getting longer and the spring will arrive and we can look forward to getting out more Throughout our lovely country there are many wonderful gardens and here are pictures from two arboretums that I love.

Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury in Gloucestershire – has good access and there are both smooth paths and wilder places. The spring will bring drifts of bluebells and cowslips. Cherries will bloom and then cast drifts of pink snow on to fresh grass. Sunlight will shimmer through new green leaves, or streak in shafts between dark boughs in deeper glades. Azaleas will shock in pink or violet or orange waves or enchant as white lace laden with dew, Go there and stroke cheeks with magnolia petals. Can you imagine what your child imagines? There is another lovely arboretum at Thorpe Perrow near to Bedale in North Yorkshire whilst it is smaller than Westonbirt its cherry blossom is from the same heaven and its carpets of daffodils beneath the trees and alongside the lake are the very essence of spring. Find out more from and

Spring resources Long Outdoor Tray

• ‘Beetroot Pronto’ – A smooth-skinned, globe Beetroot. • ‘Carrot Ideal’ – A super fast maturing Nantes type with delicious-flavoured roots. • ‘Onion Red Beard’ – A mild flavoured red salad onion with red shaft and broad green leaves. £5.90

Channel water into it and jump in, put in bark or soil for potting/small world play, sand for a ‘make shift’ sand pit, paint for creative ‘printing’ outside – the list of possibilities is endless. Made of tough black plastic. Size: L117 x W40 x D4 cm.

Tel: 0800 318 686


Minibeast Mat

‘Seeds to eat in 6-12 weeks’ Pack This pack containing 3 types of seeds are specially selected for fast action growth. The seeds grow from planting to ‘ready to eat’ in 6-12 weeks, therefore are great for class projects. Try monitoring the growth of each type of seed each week and recording the results.

Creep through the woodland and discover plants, animals, insects and birds in their natural habitats. Build-up the landscape using our bark chippings, mopani wood, pea gravel and stones for lots of small world wet and dry sensory play. Mat size : 86cm square. Made from strong, wipe clean PVC. Price £19.95 from

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Playing safely with play dough – Flo Longhorn One of the joys of childhood is getting stuck into piles of colourful appealing play dough. The dough can be commercially bought or even better, made by the children themselves. There is nothing more multisensory than warm, freshly made, sticky, the reason for this scented play dough is to set the senses racing and to boost creative play. However, with the increasing inclusion of children with special needs into all early year settings, it is time to take stock of the safety of play dough. The reason for this is that many special children will be at an earlier level of understanding than many of their peers. This may reflect in how they approach materials and some may be at the stage of mouthing and tasting anything to hand-for quite a while. There may be also children in early years settings who have an allergic reaction to certain foods or additives. Commercial varieties of play dough, from reputable companies will ensure that their brand will be as safe as possible. With regard to home made play dough, some of the recipes may contain ingredients that could cause a problem if chewed or eaten. Three ingredients, salt, borax and food ingredients may be found in the recipes used in early years settings. These need to be monitored carefully or not used at all. Salt Some homemade play dough recipes have a lot of salt in the mixture. Yet, even the ingestion of small amounts of salt dough-as little as two teaspoons-could makes an average two-year-old child quite ill. Borax Some recipes for play dough or slime may list adding borax as a preservative. Borax is also poisonous and is absorbed on contact with the skin – It used to be used as a means of cockroach control. Borax is toxic- - and there are documented cases of long-term, low level exposure causing a range of reactions including conjunctivitis and skin rashes. Play dough made with either of these ingredients will taste unpleasant and most children would spit them out. However a special child may not have reached the level of discriminating between tastes and may munch away quite happily unless closely supervised Food ingredients Care also has to be taken that play dough does not have any food additives that may cause a reaction in a child. An example of this would be play dough made with wheat flour, which is eaten by a child who requires a gluten free diet. Peanut butter cannot be used if a child in the group has a nut allergy. The important thing is to continue with the wonderful creative use of activities using play dough but to make


sure that a check is made: • Use recipes that do not require salt or borax • Watch children carefully to make sure children do not eat too much of the play dough they are investigating and enjoying • Encourage the use of the other senses in investigating the dough-smell and touch, especially haptic touch • Check the ingredients before making play dough to ensure there is nothing that might cause an allergic reaction for a particular child • Watch out for the eyes if the play dough has added ingredients such as glitters, in case a child goes to rub their eyes during use • Most of all carry on providing exciting but safe play dough for everyone to enjoy! Here are some examples of play dough recipes that are salt and borax free. They use the senses of taste and smell as well as textures. You need to check if there are other additives, with regard to the needs of any child in your setting. Enjoy! Remember that the process of making the dough is as important as the play dough itself, enable all the children to participate together.

Icing play dough You will need: • A can of ready made chocolate frosting • A cup of peanut butter • 1 1/2 cups dry powdered milk You have to: • Mix all the ingredients together with a big wooden spoon • Place on a board and knead with the hands • If it is too sticky, add some more dried milk • The play dough can be rolled and shaped and made into sweeties

Glitter play dough You will need: • 2 cups flour • 2 cups water • 3 tablespoons cooking oil • 1 cup caster sugar • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar • Food colouring and essence-e.g. blue colour and peppermint • Glitter You have to: • Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a spoon-add glitter to suit • Put the mixed ingredients into a food processor and blend well • Put the mixture in a microwavable bowl and microwave fro 5 minutes Leave to cool

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Playing safely with play dough – Flo Longhorn

Cinnamon spice play dough – all things nice

Oatmeal Play Dough

You will need: • 2 cups flour • 1 cup caster sugar • 5 teaspoons cinnamon • 1/2 to 1 cup warm water (try half the liquid replaced with pureed apple for a change) You have to: • Mix flour and cinnamon in a large bowl • Make a well in the centre and pour in the water • Mix using hands until a ball is formed • Knead and bash it for a few minutes • Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour

You will need: • One part flour • One part water • Two parts oatmeal (porage oats are ideal) What you do: • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth • Knead and play – it smells good, feels really good and stays soft for quite a while • (For a different warm feel and a good smell, warm the mixture in the microwave…mmm!)

Tasty play dough – you can have a nibble at this You will need: • 2 1/2 cups peanut butter • 1 cup powdered milk • 1 cup runny honey 1 cup porage oats You have to: • Mix the ingredients with lots of different spoons • Adjust the texture by adding more/less of the ingredients • Munch squish and enjoy!

Sand play dough – for a tickly scratchy texture You will need: • 4 cups clean white sand • 3 cups flour • 1 cup water • 1/2 cup cooking oil You have to: • Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl • Explore a new scratchy tickly sensation

Gluten free playdough You will need: • 400g (1 and 1/2 cup) of rice flour • 400g (1and 1/2 cup) of cornflour OR equivalent amounts of any gluten free flour • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar • 800 ml (2 cups) water • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil • Food colouring You have to: • In a large saucepan, mix all the ingredients with a whisk to get rid of any lumps. • Gently heat up for 5 minutes or so, stirring to make sure no lumps form (just like making a roux!) and eventually the mixture will become firm. • Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then knead the mixture for a couple of minutes, to ensure there are no lumps. You can now start playing with the gluten free play dough! Any creative masterpieces can be left to air-dry for a few days then painted with non toxic paints. The play dough is a lovely tactile material to explore stretchy materials and changing shapes. You can store the play dough in an airtight container such as a plastic bag and keep it fresh in the fridge.

Snow dough – a squishy experience You will need: • 1 cup of Lux soap flakes (found in the detergent section of the supermarket) • 2 cups warm water • Electric hand mixer or old fashioned egg beater You have to: • Place soap flakes in the bowl • Add water • Mix until fluffy and squishy and play with just like play dough • (Add a few drops of food colouring to add a contrast)

And some ideas for using play dough: • Make wriggly snakes between the palms of the hands, lovely for encouraging pressure in the palms of the hands • Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a flat circle. Press a hand on to make a print; other prints you can try are a comb or a fork. • Change the colours of dough by blending different colours together. Use a garlic press to make hair or grass or wriggly • worms!

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Visual reviews at Abbey Court School Thank you Paul Horsman for writing this informative article

Visual Annual Reviews – Written by Paul Horsman Abbey Court School in Medway is a split site special school which caters for pupils who have severe learning difficulties, many with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Having previously been in mainstream education before becoming Deputy here, I have been keen that we listen to pupils and involve them as far as possible in issues which affect their futures. This is more difficult when you are faced with people who have a limited understanding and many who have severe communication difficulties. How could we make the annual review process more meaningful to them to involve them in a more worthwhile way rather than in a tokenistic way? Philosophically we wanted to move pupil involvement in reviews to a position where they could feel fully involved and where their contribution could be given value and worth. We already had a flourishing school council, circle time was well embedded and PSHE was a strength of the school. In the Autumn Term 2005 the headteacher passed me an article from a journal which talked about pupil involvement in their annual reviews. The emphasis was on a visual form where notes, ideas etc were scribed in a pictorial form during the meeting. It was this idea of the visual that stuck with me as we thought about how pupils could be more fully involved. This was an ideal way for our pupils with their limited communication skills to show what they had done and what they wanted for the future. We could see that if done sensitively this would be a vast improvement to what currently took place where pupils had a five minute slot at the end of their review - when they arrived with their pupil contribution sheet making little or no impact at the meeting. In line with the recommendation of the Every Child Matters Agenda (Dfes 2004) • • • • •

Being Healthy taying Safe Enjoying and Achieving Making a Positive Contribution Achieving Economic Well-Being

Our idea of developing the visual aspects of annual reviews, whilst reflecting the Every Child Matters Agenda would enable us to ensure that children and young people's voices are heard and they are involved in the design and delivery of services for children and ensuring their diverse interests are represented


effectively. We wanted our pupils to be critically involved in key decisions that affect them and to plan for their futures and influence what occurs in the different settings and context in which they can flourish. We also recognise that pupils have a wealth of information to contribute about themselves. They have lots to tell us if we allow them to communicate this in an appropriate way. Our pupils have the right to be heard. As assessors and planners of pupils' needs it is easy for us to assume that we know what a pupil wants leading to a mismatch of perception. We are an inclusive school where everyone believes that achievement, attitude and the well-being of every young person matters. The visual annual review is aimed at being more inclusive for our pupils. Its component parts are: • Thorough preparation before the meeting - talking informally with the pupil. • Use of the visual imagery, communication aids, power point and objects of reference. • Appropriate support and prompts throughout the meeting - eg a known adult, teacher or teaching assistant. • Before the meeting the pupil is prepared by discussion around four main themes or strands which form the main focus of discussion:– – Home – School – Other Agencies – The Future Teachers have been inventive in the ways in which they prepare pupils using a wealth of strategies - eg role play, drama, circle time, one-to-one discussions. Prompt questions have been formulated to focus this discussion questions include - What do you like?, What are you good at?, How can you do better? We also discuss what is important to the pupil, What things they would like to improve?, What is important for the future? We use a range of communication media familiar to the pupils in order to enable pupils eg communication aids, symbols, visual cues and clues, prompts, pictures, video, objects of reference, sounds and music etc. We strive to give pupils the opportunity to be self-advocates.

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Visual reviews at Abbey Court School Working with their teacher or teaching assistant pupils put together a power point presentation of their achievements. This is the visual component. Pupils and staff enjoy this their achievements are reviewed and celebrated. Teachers report that the visual aspect helps to confirm the progress on annual review and IEP targets. It is reassuring for both teacher and pupil and it is an enhanced form of record keeping which compliments progress files and records of achievement. When the visual review takes place pupils become animated, they grow with pride. Parents and visiting professionals feed back positively too:“I found the review most enlightening and I was so pleased he was involved”

“What a great review! I skipped out of school!" “I thought he did well too and I was so pleased he was involved.” Adults at the meetings try to act on pupils' aspirations eg Connexions involvement in post 19 transfer or requests for out of school activities. We listen to feedback and act upon it - as a result of comments from our visiting teacher of VI pupils we have introduced a more audio aspect to the review. Our school philosophy at inclusion means we espouse and believe that achievements, attitudes and the wellbeing of every young person matters.

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Visual reviews at Abbey Court School


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Visual reviews at Abbey Court School

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Teenage Chillout Teenager Spaces

Finger Beats Recreation

A nice idea to create a private area or create a small special space in a room is to use a folding screen. Here are a selection of three that could be used at home or in a classroom – really cool for a teenager space.

Tap your own tunes with the latest technology flat touch sensors and high quality speakers. An mp3 input allows you to overlay your music to your favourite artist’s tracks. Plug in a speaker or a set of earphones. Alien Choir has an additional recording feature for you to record your own galactic sound effects onto each alien. £20 0118 973 6222 or

This pretty sparkle light screen will create a soft atmosphere. Price: £99 From: Cotswold Company: 0870 5502233

The beautiful detail on this dark wood-finish screen will complement a modern or more classic styled room. Price: £109.99 From: Argos

Why not line this screen with some luxurious fabric to add colour and create privacy? Price: £89.99 From: Jali

Sophie is really enjoying the black and white spinning disc (details in issue 72) She is very taken with it and it has engaged her attention for quite a while.


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Rag Bag To Buy Concertina Twirl and Paint Marbel This fun sounding Concertina from Plan Toys is made from all natural rubber and rubber wood. An educational music toy, the pulling and pushing motion required to make the sounds teaches audio and motor skills to children. Children are sure to enjoy making their own music. £11 Age range: 19 months upwards

Animal Play Tray

Ergonomically designed hand made chunky wooden toys to stimulate the senses. Ideal for imaginative play. Use it with an old shoe box to make an ark or zoo. The chunky pieces are easy for small fingers to hold on to and the bright colours will stimulate vision and encourage learning of colours and animals.

Pirate Ship Pop-up Tent This pirate ship would make a very colourful “little room” for a child to explore – also could be used in a pirate activity or theme. ”Yo – Ho – Ho and a bottle of rum!” A secret hideout for young swashbuckling pirates. Features skull and crossbones, plank entrance, portholes and inflatable base. For use indoors or out. Early Learning Centre Price: £30

Price £8 08705 352 352

Magic Easy Painters

Neutral Company

£6 07984 836572

Press the button to start the spinner, then squirt in the coloured paints to create your unique swirly picture. An easy art activity from the Early Learning Centre on the High Street.

Four easy painters plus a ‘magic’ one that changes the colour of the others when you paint over them. Price £6 From the Early Learning Centre: 08705 352 352

Eating and Drinking Equipment – Safe Feeder A very interesting new piece of equipment requested by speech and language therapists – the safe feeder This consists of a small mesh bag into which small items of food may be placed. The bag may then be screwed firmly onto the attached frame. Your child can then hold the feeder and chew on the food in the bag. This reduces the risk of choking. The Safe Feeder helps parents to introduce new tastes and flavours, and encourages reluctant feeders, particularly those who have previously only been fed by tube, to develop the muscles around the mouth in order to establish normal feeding. The mesh bags may be washed in warm soapy water and are dishwasher safe. Price £10.95 Pack of extra mesh bags: Price £9.95 0845 4581124

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Woodside Worlds


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Woodside Worlds

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Rag Bag To Buy Eco-Friendly products from Elemental Learning Catalogue – call 084455 74150 Order online:

Cube Tower

Thunder Drum

Five solid pine wood cubes varying in size. Encourages understanding of size, shape, and spatial awareness.

Wow! This makes a sound just like rolling thunder when shaken from side to side. Great in music sessions and for story telling. Made from recycled card and plastic with a simple coil spring.

Price £10

Price: £8.95

Sound Boxes 2 sets of 5 wooden sound boxes, each one makes a different sound for children to recognise and anticipate. Price: £22.98

Texture Bag A fabulous all-round resource. Not only helps develop sorting, matching and pairing skills but also encourages fine motor skills. A great opportunity to introduce the language of touch and texture. Price: £18.71

Cheap and cheerful buys from the website Crystal star balls

LED spinner

Soft spiked rubber balls, which have a multicolour effect when squeezed. Use for tracking across the midline helping a hand learn how to squeeze and a bit of science with ‘cause and effect’ £1.95

These are an absorbing favourite especially for children who do not see very well. When held close to the eye, they are very hypnotic. The handheld globe has a range of spinning colours. It also vibrates in the hand or body. Comes with neck cord – £ 3.95

Neon scarves Use these bright scarves to encourage arm movements, play peek a boo or encourage eye contact – £1 50, buy a bunch for floating in the air under ultraviolet light


Disco glide balls Excellent black balls that glide smoothly over flat surfaces. A sharp tap triggers pulsating internal lights that illuminate the coloured spots. The flashing speeds up before it ceases. Great for the sensory room!

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Rag Bag To Buy and Make Treasure Basket and Sensac

Make Your Own Toy Basket like Ivans! Ivan explores his basket – All you really need is a basket and some toys and you're well on your way to creating a fun and educational toy for your visually impaired baby. Here's how to do it...

Handmade Organic Norfolk Willow Treasure Basket of 50 handpicked items – many environmentally friendly. Sensac – a natural Hessian and fleece sensory, activity and storage bag featuring 2 storage pockets and toggle to secure drawstring. Made in East Anglia from azo-free dyes. Supplied with contents list and Guide for Practitioners from: PLAY to Z Ltd PO Box 9978 Colchester C01 9FT 01206 796722

A message from Sally Slater:– there is a great shop and website - – with some lovely sensory stuff at good prices. The shop is at Blakemere Craft Centre at Northwich, Cheshire. For example, they do a bag of assorted sensory balls for £30, and rainbow ribbon spinners for £5.99. They also sell talking tins, and some lovely magnetic organisers, which would be great on a baking tray. from Warrington are the people who sell that lovely 'rollin piano'. A child I was working with loved to play it with his feet! – I swear he was beginning to recognise it was himself actually making the noise. I have seen it for sale on eBay at less than a £1. Bents are on 01942 266300

You will need: • A small basket and assorted small toys Playing with Your Toy Basket Making a toy basket is easy; just fill a small basket with lots of fun, small, safe toys. The tricky part is making the most educational use of the basket. Here are some tips... 1. When choosing your toys, collect ones that make different sounds that are interesting to feel, that have different textures (smooth, bumpy, etc), and that are made from different materials (plastic, wood, fabric, etc). Talk to your baby about the different sounds, textures, and materials. 2. Create concrete names for each toy in the basket. For example, you may include a "ring," a "brush," a "block," and a "rattle." Be very consistent in naming these toys while your baby plays with them. Once your baby becomes familiar with the names you can play a searching game where you ask your baby to locate a particular toy, "Can you find the rattle?" Teach him how to scan through the toys with his hands and how to identify different objects. 3. Place the basket in front of your baby and encourage her to push or pull the basket. Try to get her to knock the basket over and spill out all the toys! 4. Place the basket to the right or left of your baby and encourage him to reach to the side. This is a great way to get your baby to rotate their trunk (a skill they'll need in order to crawl). You can also introduce the concepts of "left" and "right." 5. Baskets are a great way to teach the concepts of "in" and "out." Have your baby take all the toys out of the basket. Then help her put them back in. 6. As your baby gets older, you can introduce sorting games with the toy basket. Have your child pull out all of the different balls or all of the rings and sort them. 7. Turn the basket over. Now you can talk about how the toys are under the basket. 8. The best thing about Ivan's toy basket is that it keeps him occupied for quite a while (while mom gets a chance to wash the dishes or fold the laundry). This is by far Ivan's favourite toy. We have set toys that are always in the basket (like his ring), but we also add new toys now and then. It's a great way to play, learn, and get in some independent time, too! Thank you so much to the wonderbaby website all about Ivan, featured in the article, for allowing us to print these very simple but useful ideas.

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Rag Bag To Make This lovely visual stimulation article was found on a very special babies website The website charts the development of a very special baby, Ivan. His parents have built up a range of ideas, resources and useful information. Well worth a visit and an inspiration to everyone. Thank you for permission to put Ivan enjoys his bottle this in our magazine The idea of covering the baby bottle in visually stimulating materials could also be transferred to a cup, the handle of a spoon or a water bottle for older children.

Builders trays – taken from an email to the editor ‘Use a builder’s tray for sand or water. They are really good as they are flat on the floor and cannot turn over. They can be filled with water or sand or even jelly or bark chippings. One teacher filled hers with coloured rice’ thanks for telling me about the builders tray. I’ve bought one and its already been used for coloured rice with a little boy who loves sand but his mum doesn’t like him playing with it because he has very bad eczema. Well, he adored the coloured rice and sitting in the tray.’

Naomi shuttlecock game A GREAT NOISY GAME

Make your own bottle holder What You'll Need: • bright, contrasting fabric (cut about 12 1/2" x 10 1/2") • batting, cut to half the dimensions of your fabric • velcro, about 4 1/2" long • a bottle (for measuring) • sewing machine, scissors, thread, etc

Sewing Your Bottle Holder • Once you've picked out your fabric, cut it to fit your baby's favourite bottle (ours is cut about 12 1/2 x 10 1/2"). Leave an extra inch along each side for batting and turning. Cut your batting to half the dimensions of your fabric. With right sides together, fold fabric in half. Pin batting to fabric and sew along three sides, leaving fourth open for turning. • Trim batting, clip edges, and turn. Sew fourth end closed. If you want, sew lines along the holder to keep batting in place (if your sewing machine does any fancy stitches, you can do a zigzag or other neat trim). • Finally, sew on Velcro and you're done!


Dave enjoyed the feathered shuttlecocks I brought in because he could manage with lots of effort to pick them up and drop them off his tray. I put a big drum underneath so they'd go boom when dropped. Then I noticed a huge drum on a frame just asking to be used as target practice. Dave would drop the shuttlecock on to my waiting lollypop drum and I'd bat it at the huge drum. If we managed to score a big bang, we'd shout 'Goal' and cheer. Naomi Rosenberg Hearing support teacher for children with complex needs.

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Rag Bag To Make Cara, the umbrella and the shoe box

Wheelbarrow Flower Decorations This is a craft simple enough for anyone to make choices and a lovely gift. You need: • Plastic scoops from powder detergent • Caps from large plastic bottles • Small artificial flowers This is what you do: • Wash the plastic scoops and the caps from the milk jugs • Use glue to glue one of the caps to the each side of the plastic scoop • Select and then place flowers inside

Natural Dyed Collage

Cara came on a literacy master class I held recently. Being keen and enthusiastic she went back to school and produced these lovely interactive storybooks using an umbrella and a shoebox. She had a friend come and help her make the umbrella, a good way to make the job quicker and easier.

This is a lovely activity that can follow a walk in the garden or park. Take a basket or box on the walk and collect items from nature, grasses, leaves, berries, mosses and flowers. Bring them back and try some dyeing. Cut a square of cotton muslin, about the size of a handkerchief. Place and arrange the collected items on one half of the muslin then fold the other half over. Now comes the fun, bang and pound the items through the muslin with a small hammer or wooden mallet. Bang away until all the items are pounded flat. Open the fabric and shake out the items to find that the muslin has changed into a beautiful natural dyed collage. Extra Hint – Try this activity using a variety of herbs, what a lovely smell as the hammer pounds!

The Magic Box Materials Needed: • Shoe Box • Glue • Paint • Mirror Directions: • Paint the outside of the box (or decorate as desired). • Glue a small mirror on the bottom of the box. • Make a card and glue it on the bottom of the box top that reads: ‘The person pictured here is one of the most special gifts in my life’

Thank you Cara! You are a super star! – The editor

• Wrap for a lovely present for someone

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Rag Bag To Make Further games sent into Information Exchange from Freda Leask in Scotland, in the distant past – thank you Freda!! They are of particular value for learners who do not see very well.

A simple skittle game to involve visual tracking and turn taking Equipment • Bright skittles or plastic bottles that have been brightly decorated. (Decorating bottles as a group could be another visual activity prior to the game.) • Fairly heavy, colourful ball. • Contrasting channel to push the ball down (a piece of drainpipe or guttering) • Contrasting frieze paper or wallpaper roll, on the floor for the ball to roll on. (The skittles would be set up at the end of the paper, about two metres away.) Ideas • The children should be positioned in an arc at one end of the roll of paper. • Each child would take turns to push the ball down the channel to knock down the skittles. • On their turn, the frieze paper and channel would be angled towards them. • Encourage everyone to watch what is happening, count the score, make a game of it. • Encourage the children to watch as the skittles are set up again.

Equipment • Ping pong ball • Shiny tin Ideas • Watch and listen as the ball is dropped into the tin • Roll it around and listen to the noise • try rolling the ball around the lid, follow the movements of the ping pong ball • Who wants a shot at throwing the ball into the tin??

Marbles and Flowerpots Equipment • Shiny flowerpot • Big and small coloured marbles Ideas • Fill the flowerpot with the marbles • Rummage with two hands in the flowerpot. feel and touch the glassy shapes hear the glassy marbles collide • Look at what is happening when the marbles move.

Rainbow Streamers Make a handheld rainbow that you can use while dancing a jig! You will need: • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers • A paper plate for each dancer • Scissors • Stapler

Drainpipe and Ball Equipment • Piece of drainpipe (from DIY store) lined with paper • Contrasting ball which can fit inside the pipe with ease

Cut the centre out of a paper plate.

Ideas • Pass the ball to each other using this device. • Verbally encourage the player to look. • Talk about turns; encourage verbal response and eye contact. • Use fluorescence and UV for similar work in the dark room


Ping Pong Tin

Cut long pieces of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers. Each streamer should be about two to three feet long. Staple a rainbow of streamers onto the paper plate. You now have a Rainbow Streamer to help you dance, jig and swirl!

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Developing curriculum at Barrs Court School Redressing the Balance: Developing Specialist Curriculum for Pupils with Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) In 2004 a group of staff at Barrs Court Special School embarked upon the task of developing a specialist curriculum for pupils with PMLD. Since the advent of National Curriculum nearly two decades ago, it was felt that the essential ‘balance’ between the ‘breadth’ of learning experiences some children received and the ‘relevance’ of those experiences to what they actually needed to learn had been upset and for some of our most profoundly disabled pupils the consequences had been dire. Following an audit of provision and need carried out by the head teacher at Barrs Court School in 2003, it was agreed that the time had come to redress that balance, to look in detail at the learning needs of those pupils with the most profound and complex disabilities and to devise a curriculum that would help to address the multitude of learning barriers they faced. It was recognised that unless pupils were given the ‘tools’ to overcome, as far as possible, their barriers to learning, they would never be able to access what is essentially an ‘academic’, subject based National Curriculum in a meaningful way. A further need highlighted by the audit concerned the knowledge and skills required to teach pupils with PMLD. Newly appointed staff are keen and enthusiastic, but often lack the knowledge and experience of how pupils with the most profound and complex disabilities need to learn. We needed to provide staff with detailed information and guidance with regard to distinctive PMLD pedagogy, the techniques and strategies that can be employed to help pupils at the earliest developmental stages, and with the most complex needs, learn. In order for pupils who have PMLD to learn effectively from the environment they are in, and the activities taking place around them, learning barriers must be addressed in order that effective learning pathways can be established to help them overcome these barriers. Teaching based on National Curriculum alone will not help pupils who have PMLD to overcome these very significant barriers to learning. We have to provide a curriculum that will acknowledge and address the difficulties these pupils face in accessing and learning from the world around them. We also need to provide staff with the knowledge and skills to recognise what those learning needs are and what strategies need to be

in place in order to enable pupils who have PMLD to become effective learners. In other words, we need a specialist curriculum to help us identify: • Learning barriers – What is preventing pupils from learning effectively? • Learning pathways – What structures need to be put in place to help pupils learn effectively? • Learning styles – How do individual pupils need / prefer to learn? For pupils with significant barriers to learning such as those faced by many children with PMLD, learning has to be personalised – the one size fits all approach of the National Curriculum simply does not apply here and often results in pupils sitting on the periphery of somewhat tokenistic and meaningless learning experiences. For those pupils who are functioning at the earliest developmental levels learning has to have an impact in order for it be meaningful and lasting – it has to affect their own body and senses and, initially, be no further removed than the space immediately surrounding them if it is going to mean anything at all and it will have to be repeated in a variety of contexts in order for that impact to be lasting. Without relevant learning pathways in place, pupils who have the most profound and complex needs will remain in a world that is chaotic, unpredictable and threatening – certainly no incentive for learning there! Personalised learning, apparently so high on this government’s agenda for education, can only come about through truly knowing the ‘person’, recognising their strengths and the difficulties they face, knowing what motivates them, what might make them want to move beyond the security of their own body space to explore and learn about an unknown world. Without this knowledge, we can have a curriculum as broad as an ocean and it will never enable pupils with the most profound and complex needs to reach their full potential. Once we have identified what pupils need to learn and what we need to do to help them learn it, then we can look more closely at the learning experiences and social contexts we are going to provide in order to put the relevant learning pathways in place and explore ways in which National Curriculum subjects and schemes of work can be used as a context for learning fundamental skills whilst providing breadth of learning experience. Because pupils who have profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) have learning needs that stand outside of the learning matter contained within the

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Developing curriculum at Barrs Court School National Curriculum, additional, specialist curricula and associated assessment criteria are necessary for ensuring these pupils have the opportunity to achieve and attain at optimal standards. In recent years Barrs Court Specialist (SEN) School has been “at the forefront of developing provision for pupils with PMLD and additional needs” (OfSTED 2007) and part of this provision has been the development of a curriculum framework that is properly empathetic to the circumstances of these vulnerable learners. The learning and therapeutic matter associated with major areas of disability that forms the basis of the school’s specialist curriculum, has been reinforced by adding links to the core subjects of the National Curriculum. The curriculum material is also reinforced by the addition of distinctive teaching approaches, including best practice in the use of valuable resources and facilities to ensure that teaching and learning will be of the highest quality. The specialist curriculum is made up of four curriculum areas: • Early Thinking Skills Curriculum (completed) • Early Communication Skills Curriculum (completed) • Early Mobility Curriculum (available from April 2008)) • Early Emotional Literacy (currently under development) The first two of these subject areas are in everyday use at the school and are being adopted by other schools and establishments around the country: “The recently introduced specialist curriculum extends the learning opportunities for pupils with the most severe and complex needs exceptionally well” (Heart of the Forest School, Gloucestershire, Ofsted Report May 2007) The learning matter included in these two specialist curriculum areas relates directly to the personal learning styles typical of children who have PMLD / complex disabilities and is cross referenced to National Curriculum Mathematics / Science and English respectively, at P levels 1-4. The documentation published in support of each of these specialist areas has been designed to: • Provide guidance in distinctive pedagogy so this can be used for training teachers and teaching assistants and empower the personal learning styles of children who have PMLD; • Describe best practice in the use of specialist resources and facilities • Empower teaching assistants to fulfil an effective interfacing role with therapists and multi-disciplinary teams • Enable the diagnostic, formative assessment of disabled children in a wide range of developmental


areas • Provide a range of learning activities to help pupils overcome learning barriers associated with diverse disability types • Inform the differentiation of core subjects of the National Curriculum and provide evidence of lateral learning for pupils who do not find it easy to progress in a linear manner The effectiveness of these curriculum materials has recently been judged by OfSTED (2007) as outstanding, “enabling pupils with the most profound difficulties and additional needs to make impressive progress from exceptionally low starting points”. Each of the specialist curriculum documents currently available extends to over 300 pages and is packed with useful ideas and guidance with each document following a similar format: Section 1: Introduction – provides an introduction to the rationale behind specialist curricula; background information regarding the nature of disability being covered within the document eg. sensory, cognitive, communication, motor, etc; details of how to use the specialist curriculum in practice Section 2: Teaching Strategies – provides information on a range of strategies and techniques that can be employed in helping pupils who have PMLD to overcome barriers to learning; also, provides reference links to other relevant reading materials for further information For example, the Curriculum for Early Communication contains an extensive range of strategies for teaching early communication skills that include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Creating responsive environments Developing self image and body awareness Using resonance boards and Soundbeam Intensive interaction techniques Developing natural gesture Using switches and communication aids Developing choice making Using objects of reference Sign supported language Using pictures and visual systems Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Using symbols as a bridge to word recognition Access to literacy for pupils with PMLD Using and developing multi-sensory stories Using interactive storytelling techniques Adapting stories and poetry through drama Access to writing for pupils with PMLD

Section 3: Assessment Criteria – identifies areas for assessment within the disability area concerned and suggests activities and resources that can be used to

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Developing curriculum at Barrs Court School identify and help pupils overcome specific learning barriers. These may be used to form the basis for a pupil’s IEP. For example, the Curriculum for Early Communication provides objective assessment criteria for assessing pre-intentional, intentional, augmentative and early symbolic communication skills, complete with corresponding teaching activities that can be used to inform IEP targets. Each assessment criteria is crossreferenced to the previous section giving details of relevant teaching strategies.

Section 5: Appendices – provides details of useful resources and equipment; supplier contact details; useful organisations; useful journals, etc. relating to PMLD and the area/s of learning being covered; and finally, an extensive reading list. A Focus Group In Action (Developing oralmotor skills):

Individual Work on an IEP Target:

Section 4: Links to the National Curriculum – cross references National Curriculum to the specialist curriculum and suggests ways in which a pupil may continue to focus on development of fundamental tools for learning within the context of National Curriculum subject areas. It also provides performance indicators for assessing pupils at P levels 1-4 in the associated NC subject for example, the Curriculum for Early Communication links to NC English and details: • QCA guidance on the development of communication • Suggested focus of interactions at P Levels 1-4 • Recognising attainment: Key Levels of Experience • Specialist Curriculum Links to the National Curriculum English P Levels 1-4 including Performance Indicators, suggested Teaching Activities and Resources. All of these materials can be used to assist pupils who have PMLD to make meaningful progress within National Curriculum P Levels 1-4 and, perhaps more importantly, to facilitate and provide evidence of lateral progression.

The materials contained within the specialist curriculum are used in a variety of ways at Barrs Court School, including the use of best practice teaching guidelines to induct new members of staff and using the curriculum materials to inform lesson plans, define SMART IEP targets and shape meaningful, challenging curriculum targets. Teaching within the specialist curriculum is provided either “in class” by a class team as part of differentiated activities; by withdrawal on an individual pupil basis by a specialist Teaching Assistant, or most recently, via the grouping of pupils who have similar needs into “focus groups” that are led by specialist TAs. The empowerment of highly skilled TAs in this way attracted the praise of OfSTED in the school’s 2007 inspection when it was reported, “Teaching assistants are a key feature of high quality teaching and learning. They offer outstanding support, for example in the high calibre specialist teaching assistants leading of the new focus groups.” The specialist curriculum for Early Motor Skills is currently being field tested at the school and will be available for purchase from April 2008. For further information please contact Richard or Karen Aird Barrs Court Specialist (SEN) School Barrs Court Road Hereford HR1 1EQ Telephone: 01432 265035 Email:

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Journey to Antarctic – Flo Longhorn This journey took place in Scotland, a couple of years ago, when a group of teachers met on a special schools science day. It was great fun and very sensory. I think the science teacher could really enjoy setting this sensory sea journey up for special sailors (and penguins!) to enjoy. The dialogue is a scientific voyage of discovery!

5. Sliding penguins • Penguins slide on the ice, using materials to sit on, and are pulled along. • Some lie on strong material (shower curtain is ideal) and are swung gently (over a soft mat!) • Cold music plays in the background.

Journey To Antarctic A long time ago, a Scottish explorer named Spears Bruce, went out to study the Antarctic and he had lots of scientific aims in mind. 1. Setting out from Troon • Going to sail across the Antarctic • We need a sea shanty to set us on the way • The crew sing ‘The drunken sailor’- all fold arms and rock drunkenly in a circle • Pass round bottles of rum and whiskey 2. Sailing through the Antarctic waters – icebergs • Icebergs- some actors wrap up in tin foil/silver materials • Sailors are busy cleaning the decks with their brooms-provide brooms • The icebergs bump and squash into them. • Try and avoid them! 3. Dredging the sea The scientists do a sounding (piece of string with bag on the end) and bring up sea samples and creatures in bowls and jugs. They put their hands in the bowls to find creatures, shells, sand, seaweed (edible from the supermarket) 4. Ahoy! Penguins • Penguins live in the Antarctic. • Put on beaks and headbands of yellow and black feathers. • They keep warm by huddling together. • Watch huddling penguin video. • Huddle. • Birds of prey arrive. Put on cloak for wings. • They scream and swoop on the huddling penguins. • The penguins huddle even more.


The Aura Borealis • One of the beautiful effects seen in the Antarctic is the Aura Borealis with beautiful moving twinkly lights. • Darken the room. • Torches (coloured foils to experiment with colours), spotlights mirror balls and fairy lights twinkle in the darkened room • Music starts with light sounds such as bells, rain shaker The sailors set sail for home, drinking, eating and singing sea shanties

Materials required for the sea journey • Sea music including shanties to use throughout the tale • Bottles of rum and whiskey • Rolls of tin foil for icebergs • Broom for sailors • Bowls of icy water, full of sea things to fish out and feel • Simple head dresses for penguins-sweat band and yellow/black feathers • Penguin beaks- yellow triangles, attach with elastic • Video of penguins or Pingu! • Brown cloak for bird of prey • Materials to pull penguins along sliding • Twinky lights, torches and mirror balls for the aura • Tinkly instruments to match the lights • Bottle of rum, ships biscuits and a keg of beer for the journey home ‘Hey ho and a bottle of rum!’

Issue 74 Spring 2008

Electronic exchange The CALL Centre (Scotland) site provides information and guidance on creating and using communication passports for all ages. Communication Passports are …“a practical person-centred way of supporting people who cannot easily speak for themselves.” Information is presented in an easy-to-read format.

Thank you to Kathleen Bebbington who has a daughter, Sophie, who attends Briarwood school in Bristol. The information came via Sally Silverman. ‘Kathleen wanted to let me know about taggies, discovered through e-bay. These are blankets which can be personalised. Sophie has a 18” by 18” blanket which has squares of different textures, and ribbons and interesting objects/materials on the other side. The website for more information is

Select the Resource Section and you can then download files and edit the information to suit your specific needs.

The content of the Resource Section includes: • Permission granted? • Creating Passports – includes templates you can use • Good Practice – minimum standards of quality. Checklists and audit procedures to review the process of creating the passport, the end product and its impact • Evaluation and Research – evaluation of use and impact • Further Reading

Intensive Interaction – online videos

Most suitable for boring times when stuck in wheelchairs!

A 15 minute video of Phoebe Caldwell working with a boy with autism. It answers some of the questions that concern people when considering Intensive Interaction – in particular, “if I join in with the person’s obsessions will it make them more obsessional.” Phoebe demonstrates in this video how using Ricky’s obsessions builds a bridge between them to develop really good interactions.

Visit the Shop Section to order the publication “Personal Communication Passports: Guidelines for Good Practice” by Sally Millar and Stuart Aitken.

Phoebe Caldwell also has a range of books and other videos, have a look at

Travel Insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

The next video shows Dr Suzanne Zeedyk using the Intensive Interaction technique in orphanages in Romania. It is a quick 2 minute segment from BBC Scotland.

Barnardo’s has launched a new travel insurance for children and young people with pre-existing medical conditions. The Free Spirit travel insurance package provides reduced premiums for people without medical conditions on the same policy. Instant quotes are available at:

Skype If you have broadband and a webcam you can hold conversations, including sign language, over the Internet. Skype is free software which you can download at:

The Norah Fry Research Centre, whose website is hosted by Bristol University, provides access to a number of useful resources for both schools and parents. For those looking to support pupils with learning difficulties in areas such as sex and relationship education or increasing participation, there is a range of useful tools. An example is “I want to choose too”. This is a resource for teachers to ensure inclusion of primary age pupils with little or no speech, in the decision-making process. The quality of picture depends on your webcam and the lighting. Gary Quinn, DEAF BSL researcher at Heriot Watt University, recommends using a good quality webcam like the Philips SPC900NC because it gives a smooth picture with 90 frames per second. You can also chat using text with Skype or transfer files so it is useful for discussing work issues or for having a tutorial at a distance. You can search for other Skype users b using their email address or their Skype name. The phone calls are free, even internationally. (I have set up Skype, so anyone can do it! – the Editor – and I am using the recommended camera above)

Issue 74 Spring 2008


Multisensory news Living Sensationally: Understanding Your Senses

Multisensory virtual holiday in Egypt!

Winnie Dunn 2007 Price: £16.99 from Amazon

Virtual Holidays are now a reality thanks to Thomson, Remote Media and Dale Air.

How do you feel when you bite into a pear... wear a feather boa… stand in a noisy auditorium… or look for a friend in a crowd?

Egypt in three-and-a-half minutes is now a reality as holiday retailer Thomson offer the first a virtual holiday experience on the high street.

“Living Sensationally” explains how people’s individual sensory patterns affect the way we react to everything that happens to us throughout the day. Some people will adore the grainy texture of a pear, while others will shudder at the idea of this texture in their mouths. Touching a feather boa will be fun and luxurious to some, and others will bristle at the idea of all those feathers brushing on the skin. Noisy, busy environments will energise some people, and will overwhelm others. The author identifies four major sensory types: Seekers; Bystanders; Avoiders and Sensors. Readers can use the questionnaire to find their own patterns and the patterns of those around them, and can benefit from practical sensory ideas for individuals, families and businesses. Armed with the information in Living Sensationally, people will be able to pick just the right kind of clothing, job and home and know why they are making such choices. Praise for the book: “Dr Winnie Dunn has solved one of the great mysteries of life – the sensory puzzle! This amazing book helps everyone understand their sensory system and thereby improves quality of life. This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand themselves and their family, friends, and community.” Brenda Smith Myles, University of Kansas, USA

The virtual holiday technology provides a 3D full-sensory guided tour of some of Egypt's best-known attractions, including the Valley of the Kings, the Temples of Karnak and diving in the Red Sea Rivera. The surround vision, sounds and smells can be experienced by a special headset, worn by the customer in store. Remote Media has developed the multi-sensory virtual holiday experience for Thomson. It features of a specially created 3D video filmed on location in Egypt with a new aroma system developed by Dale air, controlled by the system to trigger four individual aromas to complement the 3D scenes within the Video. The user experiences the virtual holiday experience by wearing a special 3D Headset whilst the aromas are wafted towards the virtual traveller. Footage was shot in various resorts and tourist attractions across Egypt earlier this year, using specialist cameras to capture the 3D film. As the journey progresses, holidaymakers can smell herbs and spices at a open air market, the musty smells of a pharaoh's tomb, refreshing sea breeze and coconut suntan lotion by the swimming pool. The scents are emitted through the separate aroma devise designed by Dale Air, who have developed aromas such as the smell of Kylie's breath for her model at Madame Tussauds. The new technology is to be trialed in the company's Leeds shop from the end of November, and will then be rolled out to different Thomson holiday shops throughout the UK in January, the peak season for holiday bookings. Dale air have amazing smells –go to


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Hirstwood Multisensory Training Thank you Richard Hirstwood Issue 74 Spring 2008


Courses, conferences and events Rebound therapy

Six aspects of working with children/ adults are covered.

Information on courses being run on rebound therapy or details of how to book a trainer into your setting, can be found at

1. 2. 3. 4 5. 6.

Identifying Needs Planning to Meet Needs Meeting Needs Communication Behaviour Working Together to Meet Needs

The University of Birmingham School of Education

Participants will receive an attendance certificate on completion of the course and (if eligible) will also be encouraged to study further by applying for the University of Birmingham distance education certificate course ‘Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (Severe, Profound and Complex)’.

Severe and Profound Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (SLD/ PMLD) Induction Pack

The course pack is only available in electronic form but it can be used on screen or downloaded as many times as required. Cost: £150 for CD-Rom which includes PowerPoint presentations as well as the study pack.

The University of Birmingham has produced an induction pack for staff new to services for children or adults with severe, profound and complex learning difficulties and disabilities. There are two packs, one for staff working with children and one for staff working with adults. They are electronic packs which can be downloaded and/ or studied on screen.

Further info from Penny Lacey

The packs are designed to be studied for one and a half hours per week for 20 weeks (30 hours). Half an hour is spent on reading and looking up information, half an hour is spent in discussion with a more experienced colleague and half an hour in collecting information when working with or observing children/ adults with learning difficulties and disabilities.

School of Education Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT Tel: 0121 414 4878

Order the pack from Lily Ilic

The pack covers an introduction to aspects of severe, and profound learning difficulties and disabilities that will enable staff to understand and meet fundamental needs related to communication, behaviour and learning.


Issue 74 Spring 2008

Visual stimulation mats

Please let Flo know who sent this excellent idea – so she can acknowledge them in the next issue • Cut geometric shapes from patterned paper - black and white provides a good contrast but other colours work well too. • Use double-sided tape to secure shapes to mats. • Attach brightly coloured ribbon to create a grid pattern for a different effect. • Create an alternative pattern on either side of each mat to make them more versatile.

You will need: • card beer mats • double-sided tape • sticky-backed holographic paper • metallic wrapping paper • brightly coloured ribbon • black/white patterned paper or card • small magnets (optional)

Magnetic option:

How to make: • Cover mats with holographic paper or metallic wrapping paper.

• Cover one side of the mat only and attach a small magnet to the other side using double-sided tape. • The mats can then be used with a magnetic board.

A note from Sally Silverman and Abbie on a learning curve together at the Woodside centre in Bristol. ‘Hi Abbie, do you remember how we sat on the wheelie stool together at Woodside yesterday and discovered what we could find along the corridors? This is the radiator. It felt warm but not too hot. You opened up your hand and enjoyed feeling along the radiator.’

‘Here we are by the beads. You looked, reached, grasped and gave it a shake! It is great having things stuck to the wall isn’t it, as they don’t roll away from us’

Issue 74 Spring 2008










Lo u n the gh r or e! n

SPEAKER WORKSHOP TICKET SESSION – MORNING [ ] AFTERNOON [ ] LUNCH TIME MULTISENSORY EXTRA! [ ] Sponsored by Information Exchange SENSE West and the Woodside Centre, Bristol


Information Exchange - Spring 2008  

Information Exchange magazine - Issue 74 - Spring 2008

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