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Issue 81 Summer 2010

Issue 79 Winter 2009

Issue 77 Spring 2009

Issue 80 Spring 2010

Issue 78 Summer 2009

Final edition of Information Exchange

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.

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. Information Exchange is for everyone - family members,

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.

Contents Editorial


Spotlight on the views of Peter Limbrick


Multi sensory magic in Johannesburg


Communication: A Basic Part of Active Learning


Assessing Happiness for Very Special Learners


Finger Gym Activities from Kay Evans


A shoebox story


Reaching out


Rag Bag To Make and Buy


Rag Bag To Do


Rag Bag To Buy


We’re going on a joruney to Egypt


I can Kids


Chestnuts – A music and touch session


Reflections on an Italian experience


Holiday information


Book Reviews and Websites for support


A last comic strip from Richard


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

Happy reading!

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.


This is the final edition of Information Exchange. With this magazine you will receive a special commemorative dvd of the last 16 magazines for your own use.

Any problems then contact Flo Longhorn

Issue 81 Summer 2010

Editorial Editorial

The Information Exchange Editorial Team Flo Longhorn:

Dear readers, This is my final editorial and it is written with regret and also relief. The magazine has been in the world of special people for many years and has been read across the world. Now, with the internet, the magazine has a changed role for the future. There is little need for a hard copy when the web provides so much information. Readers will only intensely miss the personal aspect, I regretfully think. My relief comes as I no longer need to burn the midnight oil, as seen in the picture below.

Managing Editor, Consultant in Special Education Les Staves: Co-editor, Special Education Consultant Catherine de Haas: Parent and Speech and Language Therapist Sara Longley: Subscriptions Secretary Kay Evans: Teacher and regular reader of IE Sue Granger: A volunteer who lives in Oxford Rachel Beirne: Physical and sensory support service, Surrey 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 Send your ideas and articles or views to

Editorial and Administration Address Flo Longhorn: Managing Editor 1A Potters Cross, Wootton, Bedfordshire MK43 9JG OR

However I will continue to run an internet version of Information Exchange at from January, 2011 – do keep in touch! You will receive a special dvd with this last magazine, this covers many of the back issues. Hopefully this will take the place of any odd magazine that will not/has not come your way for your subscription.

24 Fazantenlaan, Bredene-Am-Zee, B8450 Belgium Tel/Fax: 0845 127 5281 Email:


Any monies left after the magazine ceases in the next couple of weeks, will be sent to Woodside Sanctuary, the special place for special children in Johannesburg. It has featured many times in the magazine. An enormous thank you to everyone who has had any association with Information Exchange over the years. You are all shining stars!

Please remember to pay up your late subscriptions!

Farewell! Flo

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Spotlight on the views of Peter Limbrick Disabled babies – off the delivery table onto the conveyor belt A personal view by Peter Limbrick – February 2010 Some babies, for a variety of reasons, are born with a number of difficulties and are described, sooner or later, as having multiple or complex needs. In defence of the wellbeing of these vulnerable infants, I want to suggest that in the UK we offer an overly mechanistic approach to their development and learning. It feels to me as though they drop off the delivery table onto a conveyor belt of intervention, intervention, intervention. The conveyor belt is unremitting and will carry baby and family through physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, specialist pre-school teachers for hearing and for visual impairment, play therapists, psychologists, learning disability nurses and Portage workers – all with their assessments and programmes. Enterprising parents, in their natural desire to help, might add to the list with cranial osteopathy, oxygen therapy, Botox treatment, Conductive Education, patterning, a second skin, etc. The conveyor belt can expose the infant to all of these, and more, in the first 12-18 months. Pause a moment please, and imagine the babies you know in your family and amongst your friends in their first year. Would you want to do this to them? It is not my purpose to criticise parents. We all want the best for our children and none of us know how we will be with a disabled baby until it happens to us. Nor is it my aim to criticise practitioners. They, too, want the best for the children they care for whether as therapists or teachers. My question is wider. Why do we as a society in the 21st century want babies to be treated in this way? Why do we feel this is the best way to welcome a new being into the world? I have two more questions. Suppose the child does well or suppose he does not. How do we know which of these interventions helped, which hindered and which were just a waste of time and money? Research is very thin on the ground and families usually have to rely on instinct, or luck, in choosing what to go for. And how do any of us know which interventions can be used together at the same time? Does Botox fit with patterning or are they pulling in different directions? Does physiotherapy fit with cranial osteopathy or will they cancel each other out? When we have to admit we are groping in the dark, do we remember that there is a baby at stake here? And what about the baby? What is his or her experience of this life we are providing? Babies typically sleep, feed, attach to their mothers, and spend time gazing, listening and feeling. Do they have some inner voice that cries out to be let off the conveyor belt? Might they then have a more wholesome and healing experience of life? In my view, we should be more sensitive to the infant and much less demanding. Babies of this tender age, who might have sensory deficits, physical vulnerability, learning difficulties, and challenges in their social and communication skills, are almost certainly not ready to form relationships with and accept being handled by so many adults. My last question. Suppose the child steps off the early support conveyor belt and enters school with a host of abilities and skills that were not predicted. It might then be natural to congratulate ourselves as parents and practitioners for a job well done. Is this how it is? Do we believe development and learning must be achieved at all costs? And that new abilities justify any treatment of the infant? Discussion welcomed. E-mail: Peter has a web site of considerable interest to readers. Have a look at


Issue 81 Summer 2010

Multi sensory magic in Johannesburg Reflections from the editor Readers will remember Heidi, who starred on the front cover of information Exchange in the winter edition, issue 70, 2006. She fulfilled her dream of becoming a fairy at Christmas time. Heidi has lived at the Woodside Sanctuary in Johannesburg, from being a very young child. Here is a picture of her last August, which I took on my last volunteer Trip to South Africa. She is still very much part of the Sanctuary, loves nothing more than being where the action is and has a good group of special friends and a woolly hat! Multi sensory approaches for elderly residents of old age homes in Johannesburg is really developing rapidly and with much success. Under the guidance of Sylvia Birkhead, a marvellous OT, there has been the introduction of a range of sensory activities to stimulate and awaken those with dementias. Many of the activities are based on the sensory work seen in action in the UK. For example, a look in a mirror may awaken pleasant memories or a sudden awareness of the march of time.

Enjoying the sounds and touch of maracas.

The fun of parachute play brings back memories of playfulness as a child; the parachute ends in an impromptu conga dance with everyone joining in.

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Multi sensory magic in Johannesburg

Sensology activities take place in institutions where clients appreciate human contact and stimulation of their senses through activities such as massage on the shoulders and on hands using warm sweet smelling candle wax. Following my visit, we have obtained funding to print a publication called 'sensory stimulation: South Africa'. This will be for staff who work closely with special babies, children with disability adults with disability, those with chronic mental health problems or dementias. The book is being produced the end of this year and will be translated in to many of the rainbow nations languages and distributed across South Africa.

A lesson in spirituality – Studying nature and the natural world

• Black the room out and light a candle (object of reference) showing it to the students. • Light the incense and waft smell towards students. • Show youtube video of a rainforest listening to natural sounds CD. • Show and touch students with big leaves, twigs and feathers. • Offer students choice of 2 body creams for hand or foot massage. • Adults massage students and look for reactions in student’s face/emotion etc. • After 20 mins show candle again to show lesson is ending. • Slowly raise blinds again. You will need body creams ,candles, leaves twigs and feathers, incense, natural sounds music,and youtube clips of a forest. (thank you anonymous donor, lovely ideas!)


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Communication: A Basic Part of Active Learning Part two By Lilli Nielsen, PhD Kolding, Denmark The question now is whether it is possible to achieve missing links in a non spoken learner who is five or ten year of age, or even older. The missing links could be one or more of the following:

• Lack of the ability to initiate • Lack of responses to the learner’s initiative • Lack of sufficient development of mouth • • • • • • • • • •

movements Lack of opportunity to play mouth motor games Lack of the ability to chew Lack of use of the vocal chords Lack of coordination between the vocal chords and mouth movements Lack of variation in interactions Lack of intermodal perception Lack of comparison games Lack of banging games Lack of sequential games Lack of experience of various qualities of objects

Intervention: The ability to initiate Some learners are so passive that they almost give no sign or signal to respond to. In order to recognize that any of a learner’s actions or signals were of importance to him, I decided to always interpret a signal and then respond by giving either a spoken reply or by performing an activity, in the hope that my reply or activity was relevant. I did so no matter whether I thought the learner was able to understand what I said or not. Often I did not know what the learner wanted to express and there was a risk that my interpretation could be wrong. Because a learner nearly always has a way of protesting, I hoped that she/he would protest if my interpretations were wrong. I also thought it better for the learner to get a wrong reply rather than get no reply at all. When I began this tactic, I probably

interpreted 50% of the events correctly and gradually, this percentage became quite high and I knew by the learner’s reaction that I had made a correct response. I thought that maybe I was not the only one to have improved in understanding. Several of the situations had been repeated so many times that perhaps the learner had now realized that giving me a signal was giving them a result too. Sometimes I met a learner who was totally passive and did not respond to any of my initiatives. Even a totally passive human performs some movements. Such movements are unconscious. They serve to keep the blood circulation intact. Having taken time to observe these movements, I would choose the movement I saw most often and consider that as the learner’s contribution to a communication. I would then respond by making the sounds of smacking my lips or I would perform primitive babbling such as aiai-ai. If the learner did not seem to listen, I would slightly squeeze her/his upper arm. Using this approach can result in the learner beginning to perform movements never before observed. For example she/he may:

• perform tongue movements and or smack their lips

• listen intensely • move their hands and or feet • smile Maybe he/she would move the tongue, which is always a good way of saying “Hello” or “more”. Some learners listen intensely. For example, if the mediator starts smacking her lips 3-4 times and gives the learner time to reply, the learner can respond by smacking her/his lips or by moving her/his tongue or by performing another movement of similar character. Some learners just listen to the smacking sound and to the break. If the learner stops listening, the mediator can repeat the smacking sound another 3 – 4 times by which the learner, most often, begins to listen again. This pattern can be repeated several times with the mediator varying the number of sounds. If the mediator now waits for a longer period of time, it may happen that the learner performs a movement with his hand or his feet. Thus, the learner has taken the initiative by using his hands

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Communication: A Basic Part of Active Learning or feet to get the mediator to continue. Gradually this smacking game can be enhanced to include primitive vocal sounds. If the learner smiles when hearing the mediator’s smacking sounds or making “ai” sounds, it can be tempting to continue and so get the learner to continue to smile. However, since the goal is to get the learner to express a need for the continuation of the game, the mediator must remember to take breaks and so give the learner the opportunity to communicate. When the learner starts to imitate the smacking or babbling sounds, it is important that the mediator, happy as he may be, refrain from praising the learner. It is better to continue the smacking and babbling game so as to build up a smacking and babbling dialogue rather than give praise to the learner. Praise is spoken language about something that the learner cannot imitate.

Replying to the learner’s initiatives In the paragraph above, I mentioned several kinds of replies to the learner’s initiatives. It is of course important for the mediator to talk to the learner about what she wants to do with her/him but it is even more important for the mediator to talk about what the learner is doing. She will need to talk in such a way that it is of interest to the learner. However, some learners become motor inactive because they stop their motor activity to listen intensely to the mediator’s voice. If this happens, the mediator will need to wait for the motor activity to stop before talking to the learner, or the mediator will need to use a different approach. Imitating the learner’s object based sound production, for example a turn taking banging game, is also a means of communicating. Some learners have come to experience spoken language as a sign that the mediator wants to train or to teach them or wants to care for them e.g. feed them. They do not experience language as something that they can reply to. A mediator can establish a basis for a more effective language based communicative initiative by imitating the learner’s activity for a few seconds, waiting for the learner to repeat the action and then responding again to the learner without speaking. 8

Improving mouth motor development To be able to babble in such a way that the sounds gradually become language- like requires that mouth motor abilities become developed. During several years (from 1980), I tried to help learners achieve better mouth motor development. Realizing that many learners, because of their dysfunction, had never had the opportunity to put toys into their mouths in the same way as other children, I began to hold an object as close to the learner’s mouth as possible so that the learner could have the opportunity to suck and bite. I also put small objects into the learner’s mouth so that he/she had the opportunity to move the object from one side of the mouth to the other, or to spit it out, or to examine it with the tongue, lips and teeth. These endeavours led to better chewing function in the learner and some started to babble more than before. However, it was difficult to set up this activity so that the learner could do it for her/himself. This problem was solved by equipping some learners with a mouth organ holder onto which objects that were interesting to suck were tied. It was used in cases where learners were unable to take objects to their mouths independently, to use both hands simultaneously or were unable to pick up objects. In situations whereby learners were unable to grasp an object, hold onto an object, or hold onto it long enough to take it to their mouth, a ‘buncher’ was used to keep the object in the hand. In a few cases, I saw the learner sucking the objects tied to the holder, and then, suddenly, taking a hand to the midline of her/his body. Having observed this, I hung some objects off the holder. This arrangement then gave the learner the opportunity to get some tactile or auditory feedback from having his hands in the midline position and to be able to compare the tactile experience from the hand’s activity with those experienced with the mouth. That hand movements influence mouth movements, one only has to observe a beginner learning to cut with a pair of scissors. They also “cut” with their mouth. Find the full article at in 'free sensory ideas' and also on the new webite

Issue 81 Summer 2010

Assessing Happiness for Very Special Learners By Flo Longhorn We are all uniquely different. Our brains are all ‘wired’ differently, causing us to view the world in a multitude of different ways, with different values and emotions. No one is better or worse, merely different. Most of us however, are at our happiest when we feel secure, safe and valued – living in an anxiety-free environment. In such surroundings, our moods, emotions and behaviours are usually channelled usefully and productively. Very special people are just the same as anyone else in this regard. Emotions are identified in six major areas: joy (pleasure) – fear – surprise – disgust – anger – sadness. Happiness is part of “joy” and it can be gauged by happiness indices and through physical means, such as measurement of blood pressure, skin response and brain activity. It can also be assessed by keen observations, such as observing: Happiness

• facial movements, • subjective feelings, • increase in energy, • decrease in negative feelings, • feeling of well being, satisfaction

The emotions, including happiness and sadness, are very powerful and take precedence over everything happening in the brain. Imagine a tiger about to pounce on you – your emotions override logic immediately! If we take emotional happiness as an excellent framework for learning, it can provide the optimum environment for learning by very special learners. There is very little research on happiness and very special people. Green et al (1996) looked at happiness for six adults using conventional happiness indices. Conclusions were simple – there was an increase in happiness when a person was given a preferred sensory stimuli and unhappiness when given a least favoured activity. Staff used the assessments to plan and extend programmes. For example, Sonny liked human voices, so he began to be included in an intensive interaction programme with an emphasis on voices. Happiness can also be observed on the simple level of sensory happiness through provision of positive sensory environments, interactions and events. However, very special people may sometimes portray the opposite of what they actually feel emotionally when placed in such situations.

Andrew was agitated and cried every time liver and onions was on the menu for school dinner. Staff were understanding and made sure he had an alternative. When his mum came to school for a review, she recounted how Andrew adored liver and onions so much that he actually cried with happiness!

and pleasure.


• drop in energy, • fall in enthusiasm, • unwillingness to partake of enjoyable activities, • deepening depression, • metabolism slowing down, • introspection creeping in, leading to… • withdrawal, restlessness and sad faces.

Observations, therefore, need to be ongoing and open to unexpected interpretations of happiness, as shown in Illustration1.

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Assessing Happiness for Very Special Learners Illustration 1. Observing Happiness from the Learner Observed Examples/different learners Situations observed:

• classroom; garden; swimming pool; dark room.

Physical clues: Head – Body – Face –

• holds head to one side; rolls head around. • dances; slaps body parts; open gestures; flaps and wriggles. • smiles; giggles; has a Big Big Smile!

Emotional clues: Joy  Despair

• makes happy noises, • looks happy and calm – lies on sofa and moves hands around head, • has self-confidence, • has violent swings – happy to sad and back.

Communication clues:

• • • • • •

pulls you around and spins you, points and taps, eyes roll to top right, laughs to him/herself, gets the giggles, moves body from side to side with loud vocal noises.

Behaviour clues:

• • • • • •

goes to be on the beanbag, makes eye contact, wants to interact - grabs you and signs, goes from blank face :| to cheeky grin stops self-injurious behaviours, becomes louder and bigger.

Positive  Negative

Sensory changes:

• blocks environment – concentrates on own senses, • spins around, • wants close bear hugs – repeating “oo” “ooo” sounds.

Patterns of motivated learning:

• pauses and processes information, • more receptive - stills – becomes more communicative, • rewards of grapes.


• • • •

Shortened  Extended

stays with you – grows and grows with increased happiness, more receptive to staff, more successful at activities. stops demanding instant attention, sporadic, but looks more intent.

Illustrations 2 and 3 show simple assessment sheets for observation of an individual’s sensory happiness and preferred environment of happiness. Remember to observe at a good time in the day (not a wet Friday afternoon!), to ask family or carers about happiness at home and to build up a picture of happiness over time.


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Assessing Happiness for Very Special Learners Illustration 2. Assessing the Environments Surrounding the Learner to Encourage Optimum Happiness Environments

Examples Observed/different learners

Immediate Environment:

• • • •

Preferred Sensory Input:

• vibration; visual vibrations; blowing winds

Preferred Teaching Styles:

• needs motivating rewards • quiet and firm; out and about.

Preferred Friend(s)/Adult(s):

• • • •

Preferred Grouping:

• on own; with one friend only

Preferred Materials and Equipment:

• switches; bubble tubes; bowls; books/magazines.

Preferred Style of Interaction:

• tickles; on own terms; rough and tumble, • spoken to as a man/woman and not a baby, • no surprises, routines, close 1:1.

Preferred Personal Leisure Activities and Obsessions:

• flapping cellophane; stretching elastic, • ticking clocks; chill out in beanbag, • line dances; bikes.

special toys - familiar environments, quiet - under their control, access to instant communication, windows and radiators

quiet people, new staff (runs rings around them!), strong males, sensual approach from people.

Illustration 3. Sensory Happiness happiness is……………………..

Examples Observed/different learners

The touch I like from humans:

• tickles; scratch up and down my legs, • firm touch.

The tastes I like:

• pickles and vinegar; jam tarts, honey, bananas, cheeseburgers.

Smells that make me happy:

• bodily smells, lavender oil, hair, rubber, aftershave.

Sounds I like to hear:

• crying, toilet flushing, flicking noise, Abba, chanting, fast tempo music, household appliances.

What I like to see best:

• friends, repeating patterns, bubble tubes, lorries, Postman Pat, shiny objects.

Vibrations I like to feel:

• flapping (jumping and roaring), vibration of water, toys put to ear, horse riding, stamping my feet.

Touches I like from the world around me: • touches from people, the breeze, being thrown onto a beanbag, silky cloth, animals, smearing, hard touches. Movements that stimulate me:

• spinning top, roundabout, flapping, riding.

Pleasing multisensory environments:

• busy ones, spinning myself at speed, cars, ponds, swimming.

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Assessing Happiness for Very Special Learners With this happiness baseline, it is then up to the educator to ensure, within each learning experience on offer, that there is an element of happiness included. Environments that are optimal then can be extended into formal curriculum, as indicated in Illustration 4.

Buzan, Tony. 2000. Head First. Published by Thorsons. Goleman, D.1995. Emotional Intelligence. Published by Bantam Books. Marion Janner ‘the sense of humour project’ PMLD Link Vol17 No.1 issue 50 p15-18

Illustration 4. Extending environments to formal curriculum.

Greenfield, Susan (ed). 1999. Brain Power. Published by Element.

Supriya loves to tear and tear paper – she is happiest in art with an extensive range of papier maché work to her credit. Anne Marie is at her happiest in the company of her dad and brother. School ensures that she has time in a male teacher’s lessons and the company of male students at break time. Jamie is happiest with flashing lights in the multisensory room. He is ecstatic when his community skills are learned in the local town centre amusement arcade!


Green, Carolyn W and Reid, Dennis H. 1996. Defining, Validating, and Increasing Indices of Happiness among People with Profound Multiple Disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Vol 29,no 1, pp 67-78, Spring1996. Jensen, Eric. 1998. Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Published by ASCD. Websites of interest: World Database on Happiness at, which links to the Journal of Applied Happiness.

Thank you to all the faithful readers over the years, for your support and contributions. You are all special!


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Finger Gym Activities from Kay Evans These are some ideas that I have gathered from various sources including the TES Early Years staffroom (your own contribution may be on there) and the ‘Ready for Kindergarten’ website, plus some ideas of my own: ness/finemotoractivities.html early years thread ‘Independent fine motor skills activities’.

Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.

• Popping bubble wrap • Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.

• Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.

• Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.

• Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling

them into balls. Use to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.

Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super strength builder.

• Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors,

outdoors) to spray snow (mix food coloring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt "monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run when sprayed.)

• Picking up objects using large tweezers such as

those found in the "Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes, small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.

• Shaking dice by cupping the hands together,

forming an empty air space between the palms.

Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in a building set.

• Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios, macaroni, etc.

• Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or to make artistic designs on paper.

• Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto construction paper to form pictures or designs.

• Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to the edge of the table.

• Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.

• Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the

thumb, index, and middle fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.

• Threading or weaving through netting, screw top jars with things inside.

• scissors with the dough (helps cutting skills as well as fine motor)

• knives and forks in dough • peg activities across the curriculum - e.g. our

calendar is a washing line, I do "peg words" picture cards with 8 or so pictures, put pegs on the ones beginning with s. This way they are developing fine motor across the curriculum.

• various threading activities - beads, numbers,

teddies, plastic templates with holes in (more like sewing), children preapring their own template, putting the holes in and threading.

• You can make big mazes (with only one way to go) and shapes that you laminate and then the children follow them using a whiteboard pen.

Making yarnballs using two circles with holes in them is also good fun.

• At the moment in our water tray we have loads of sea creatures and small fish, coloured water and glitter, we also have lots of strands of wool, the children are carefully catching the creatures by

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Finger Gym Activities winding the wool around them, they unwinding to let them go, developing fine motor skills at the same time.

• Clay is also good as it is not quite as malleable as playdoh and they really have to squash and squeeze to get anywhere.

• Trays filled with (past their sell by date) rice/lentils and plastic tweezers. The children transfer the grains to little containers (old film canisters useful).

Also unscrewing little jars (start collecting empty cosmetic jars, rinse out well and put something interesting inside e.g. cotton wool dampened with lavender or vanilla essence, little beads).

• Hiding 'treasure' in little mounds of playdough is fun.

• Wikki Stix are wonderful - they are waxed and

mouldable. Children can press them down onto paper and they make a tactile surface.

• Bending pipe cleaners into different shapes. • Children to draw a small picture and then make

holes very close together - use cocktail sticks. When done the children can tear the picture outlike making a perforated edge.

• In my finger gym I have hole punches and staplers - at the moment the children love making holes in paper plates and then locking the padlocks into them, I've been amazed how much time the most unlikliest of my children have spent with this activity.

• Stretching rubber bands between individual fingers and thumb.

• Putting large plastic rings on each finger. • Make small rolls of silver foil then flick into a ‘goal’.

• Finger puppets • single hole punch

• Use padlocks and keys – how quickly can the children unlock them?

• Clothes pegs. How many can the children peg

around a box in 1 minute? Which child can peg the most if playing against a partner etc

• How many small beads can children pick up in a minute with tweezers?

• Have mixtures such as dried pasta and peas. Can they separate the mixture using only tweezers?

• Scissor activity booklet – ensure children have correct scissor grip at all times.

• ‘Melt monsters’. Draw monsters with felt tip pens

and then using eye droppers drip water on them and watch the monsters ‘melt’.

• Playdough (see over for recipe). Encourage the

children to pull, squeeze, roll, twist it etc. Sometimes using the palms of their hands, othertimes using their fingertips. They can also prick out designs using toothpicks in the dough.

• How many bubble wrap bubbles can they pop? • Threading beads onto a string • How many paper clips can they join together? • Have a simple outline drawing, children to stick string/wool onto these outlines.

• Play games that encourage strength in the

shoulders eg: wheelbarrows, crabs, wall push ups etc

• Use individual hole punch round a piece of card. Children can then thread wool/ribbon through these.

• Play games such as tiddly winks or the frogs where you press their backs.

• Doing up buttons and zips quickly. • Upright surfaces promote fine motor skills so do

things such as painting on easels, writing on chalk boards/whiteboards etc.

• Pegboards


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Finger Gym Activities • Scrunching up sheets of newspaper with 1 hand (to then stuff something with eg: a scarecrow)

• Play board games requiring children to turn over

cards/counters BUT they cannot slide them to the edge of the table to do so.

• Tracing round stencils • Using small hammers, bang golf tees into something like a pumpkin

• Taking lids on and off small Tupperware containers

Playdough recipe 3 1 3 3 3

cups of flour cup of salt tablespoons cream of tartar tablespoons oil cups of boiling water

To change colour just add food dyes. Essences can be added to change the smell or replace water with something such as coffee or replace flour with cocoa etc. Small objects such as sequins can also be added. Thanks Kay you are a finger star!

The mysterious can

Here is a sample letter

This can of mystery has a hidden message inside, to send home and see what happens.

This is our class mystery can. The object is for the children to try

You will need a big can with a detachable lid (an empty large can of coffee for example) decorated in attractive materials with a note inside the can. The can is sent home with a different child each day.


and guess what is inside.Your child has been selected to take it home tonight. Please help them to select something that makes a sound when the can is shaken. When you send it back, we will all try to guess what is inside. Please help your child with clues to give the rest of us. The object of this activity is to stimulate their curiosity, encourage the use of sensory skills and offer the children the opportunity to ask many questions. Happy hunting for your Mystery can item. You could also sing the song 'what's in the mystery can?' (Sung to "I'm a Little Teapot") What's in the Mystery can, Who can tell? Maybe it's a book, or maybe a shell. What's in the Mystery can,

Who can see?

It's something special for you and me. Please send the can back tomorrow.

Thank you!

Issue 81 Summer 2010


A shoebox story A nest full of mice to count and explore and also to tell a story about a squeaky mouse who lives in the nest.

An empty shoe box, what can it become?

Let's place one mouse in the lid.

And if you search through the mouse nest you will find a little grey mouse that squeaks! This is a lovely maths lesson all about ‘one’ and ‘many’. The mice are cat toys and came from the pet shop or Pound land store. The shoebox was from a very nice pair of new shoes. Lots of fun and lots of maths at the same time.

And lots of mice in the box!

Keep up with Flo at her new multi sensory site


Issue 81 Summer 2010

Reaching out ... Sent in by Les Staves

Reaching Springhead School is driving forward its Specialist Status Springhead is a school for 60 pupils aged 2-19 it is a lively school for kids with all kinds of very special needs, in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough. Though situated in traditional holiday resort its pupils come from a huge rural area. It has long stood on its a tiny site with little scope to expand its building or play area, Many would see these circumstances as difficulties, but the limitations don’t phase the school and their creative thinking sees them reaching out in many ways. They have a beach hut that is used as a classroom, they have their own forest area out towards the moors, they have a learning bus to take out to parents, and they are developing a wonderful modern interactive sensory environment in a local community centre. The big white bus

The Springhead learning vehicle was commissioned in September 2008 the vehicle was designed to be a social vehicle to present a comfortable that would be conducive to learning. The meeting area can accommodate 10 people around a table and the quality leather upholstery offers a luxurious environment to hold meetings and present information. There is a laptop area at which two or three people can work as well as a large plasma screen for presentations. There is a kitchen area with boiler, sink, fitted units to provide refreshments.

The vehicle helps the school to facilitate and foster relationships for parents of pupils and students providing social opportunities for parents of children who may feel isolated and excluded, to chat, share experiences as well as gaining new skills to use with their children at home. It also helps to take many specialist training opportunities that Springhead has to offer out into the 680 square mile rural catchment area, including communities, small schools and villages with limited transport and facilities. It helps people gain access to valuable resources for pupils and students with learning difficulties and disabilities, such as Signalong training, or the opportunity to try out specialist software and resources . SMILE The Springhead Multi sensory Interactive Learning Environment expands our ideas about what a sensory room can do, taking it beyond the school walls. Imagine the sound of rain all around you with mist creeping in around your feet. When you listen you can hear the sound of monkeys, birds and insects in the background. As you move through the forest and as the rain slows and the sun comes out you notice colourful parrots flying above you, hear tree frogs croaking and spot jaguars hiding in the thick vegetation. The air is damp, hot and humid but this feeling is soon replaced by the wonderful smell of tropical flowers. You explore further, looking at and pointing out the many different types of flowers and fauna‌. The beauty, majesty, and timelessness of the rainforest are indescribable, awe inspiring. However, Springhead school are in the process of transporting this experience all the way from Borneo, South America to a community centre opposite B &Q on a busy main road into Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Phase 2 is underway to transform part of the centre into a unique environment for children and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities to enjoy gentle stimulation of the senses through a full sensory journey across 3 zones using state of the art technology. The Amazon Rain forest is just one example of the kind of experience that will be on

Issue 81 Summer 2010


Reaching out ... offer. Hundreds of different possibilities will transform the areas into.. a football match, a farmyard, a string quartet where the vibrating guitar strings are projected and can be plucked and played, the Ice Age, World War I.. the list is endless. Users will discover, explore, question, probe and investigate, control, change, direct and be in charge of their environment. We intend that pupils will immerse themselves in their learning experiences in this incredible place. The wealth of benefits that can be gained from this project will be demonstrated in the opportunities for users and their carers to work closely together to improve communications, enhance their understanding of each other and build trust in their relationship.

Zone 1 is designed to not only teach but help with interaction, develop relations, help confidence to grow and develop perception and non-contextual learning. It includes a stage where users can interact within any scene of their choice. Lighting and aromas will heighten the realism of the experience, for example the smell of fresh cut grass, or the pungent aroma of the farmyard! Wind machines will replicate anything from a cool breeze to a howling gale and a low lying fog cooler will mimick a light mist to a thick fog or sea fret. This zone can recreate a journey already experienced, using ones own video footage or create a totally new experience which may under normal circumstances be out of reach for many of us.


Zone 2 An area with an interactive floor where user and machine work together harmoniously to create experiences, motivate learning and generate memories. People naturally communicate through gesture, expression and movement. This system understands these actions and engages people to interact naturally with each other and the environment.

Zone 3 The UV corridor with tactile and interactive area. UV light, also known as black light is a highly visual medium that encourages attention, tracking and focus. This is especially beneficial to those with autism, sensory impairments and visual impairments. It will offer visual challenges as encouragement for focus and stimulation, colour recognition and awareness, hand eye co-ordination and concentration. When used with UV reactive materials, they shine intensively creating a very brilliant visual effect which can aid tracking and fixation skills. There will also be large Sculptured Tactile Panels offering many stimulating activities incorporating not only touch, texture and visual rewards, but also sound and smell features. There will be a Fibre Optic Tunnel allowing the user to crawl through it and lay on a padded floor watching the lights twinkle all around them. This therapeutic environment has a proven record with users with various difficulties from profound and multiple to moderate needs. Another part of this equipment will be the Curved Linelite Panel, a mesmerising wall mounted panel using UV reactive Linelite and mirrors to create an interesting visual and tactile experience Staff, pupils, governors and friends of Springhead School are really excited about the completion of this project this year and are looking forward to sharing this amazing resource with other special schools and colleges throughout the area. Parents will be encouraged and trained to use the learning zone at weekends and school holidays and we anticipate a huge amount of interest as well as a surge in pupil and student motivation and desire to learn.

Issue 81 Summer 2010

Rag Bag To Make and Buy Weaving magic

Crepe paper magic

This weaving can be created by anyone. You will need:

This art activity brings all the colours of the rainbow to the artist in a very abstract art way.

• Lots of strips torn or cut into different lengths • A cake cooling mesh tray ( Sainsburys do a nice

You will need: Rolls of crepe paper A roll of rainbow crepe paper Crepe paper streamers for easy tearing Large piece of strong cardboard

square one) Small objects to dangle from the mesh

Thread and tie the strips and objects through the mesh until full. Then the weaving can be held up and used as a mobile or a ‘reach and touch’ piece of art.

• • • •

Suggested activity: Look at the colours of the rainbow seen in the rainbow crepe paper. Explore the different colours of crepe paper and streamers. Tear and rip the crepe paper into pieces looking at the colourful forms and scraps. Make sure they are kept in separate piles Use a paper shredder with an adapted switch for those who find it hard to tear with their fingers. Place the card on a well covered surface and pile the pieces in heaps onto the card in the colours of the rainbow- or in a swirl of colour Red orange yellow green blue indigo violet. Gently spray each pile of colour until soggy Lift off some of the pieces and observe the smudgy colours of the rainbow. Repeat until the crepe is all gone and a multicoloured rainbow remains. Compare with the rainbow crepe paper colours. Place all the soggy crepe into a bowl and mix and mix with a large spoon, and see what happens to the rainbow colours.

• • • • • • • • • •

This cup from Fledglings

£4.95 + p&p has a 360 degree valve, making it possible to drink from any point on the rim while at the same time preventing a single drop being spilled. In order to drink you need to start with a small suck but once flowing the valve allows the drink to flow gently, making it suitable for many who have difficulty sucking and swallowing. As the valve seals automatically once lips leave the rim it is also suitable for persons who may need to drink in a reclining position. Families whose child is prone to dropping, throwing or knocking over their drinks may well love this technology. It also has an illuminated base which comes on automatically and glows in low light. This makes it possible to be used in sensory environments such as a light room or can act as a nightlight in a bedroom while at the same time making essential liquid refreshment available. The base light lasts for up to 3 months in normal use but can be switched off if not required.

Issue 81 Summer 2010


Rag Bag To Make and Buy Sent in by Sally Silverman Becky’s class in Bluebell Valley Nursery, Bristol are having a yellow and black, multi sensory feast .. With yellow and black sticky tape and junk materials from scrap store, staff have created excellent learning materials for children with difficulties in processing visual information. Have a peep at the black and yellow corner, a bottle covered in yellow and black stripes and a very visual moving spool.

Wondercube Ever watched kids fascinated by the process of pulling tissues out of the box one by one. A Mum spotted this fascination and designed the Wondercube – packed with textile squares that can be pulled our one by one like wet wipes, or like a magician pulling scarves out of a hat. It can help children develop fine motor skills, understand sequencing, take turns many of the skill contribute to later learning such as counting learn letters and making words,. This fun, interactive and educational toy comes as a tactile touchy feely cube or a beautifully crafted sturdy wooden cube. Prices start at £14.99, I am sure there are loads of ways the we could make our own ways to use this making our own little bags. Sent in by Les Staves – you are a whizz!


Issue 81 Summer 2010

Rag Bag To Do Messy Play Activities – one a day messes!

• Toothpaste

• Bath bombs in a bowl of water. • A flour sifter full of flour sifted onto black paper or • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

a raw egg. Condensed milk mixed on a plate using fingers or a cotton bud. Finger paints used with fingers or toes. Warm soapy water and a bar of squidgy soap to squeeze. Face paints used all over the body. Wedding confetti to sift and make coloured paper-maché. Wood shavings with a strong woody smell. Bottle tops to jingle jangle and feel the rough edges. Scattering dried peas poured from a height onto a drum. Cooked pasta to squash or smash with a potato masher. Syrup dripped onto the palm of a hand. A bowl of soil compost to explore. A wheelbarrow of compost to jump in! A net full of feathers to stroke and flutter in the air. Shredded paper in a big box to empty and to throw. Baby oil dabbed with a cotton bud onto skin. Baby lotion patted on skin.

squidged and squashed by a toothbrush. Bath confetti to be thrown into a bowl or paddling pool. Sugar lumps dripped with an eyedropper of water. Tea leaves pressed into an eggcup. Ice cubes smashed with a hammer or rolled with a rolling pin. Sawdust swirled and placed into bucket to make a sawdust pie. Semi-inflated balloons with paint inside to throw at a wall. Grated carrot and cabbage to mix and freeze and unfreeze. Shaving foam on the mirror and a finger to draw a face. Clear hair gel, put in some tiny stars and pick out with tweezers!

• • • • • • • •

Go and make a mess at

Issue 81 Summer 2010


Rag Bag To Buy Transparent Easel Perfect for portrait painting, this transparent easel enables children to see the subject of their drawing through the Plexiglas screen. Then before the paint dries, they can place a sheet of paper over the window to create a permanent record of the painting. The easel must be used with poster paints, which can be wiped from the screen with a damp cloth. Available from: Price: £36.57

All the following items are available from: Tel: 0800 318 686 Fax: 0800 137 525

Mirror Trays

A beautiful collection of 4 wooden nesting mirror shapes. Children will love making patterns as they peer into the reflective containers. Whether it is for sorting, collecting or display, this makes a great practical as well as aesthetic resource. There’s a triangle, square, rectangle and hexagon all made out of beautifully finished wood and acrylic mirror. Price: £32.95

Single Sensory Stacking Tower Ideal for sensory exploration and developing fine motor skills is Asco’s single stacking tower, which comes with six rings in varying textures and a velvet bag. The rings are made from various materials including soft cloth, beads, woven twine and plastic.

Flip Fingers

Available from: Price: £39.95

Crackling Ice Foot Spray is an invigorating foot fizz to cool, deodorise and revitalise hot, tired, aching feet. Its gel formulation turns to a crackling mousse on application, leaving you feet silky soft, cool and refreshed. It feels like space dust does on the tongue! Buy it at Boots the chemist for a fiver


Brightly coloured tubes with bells inside, which revolve to the slightest tough. Easy to use with a quick reward. Price: £57.95

Issue 81 Summer 2010

Rag Bag To Buy Rainbow Sound Blocks

Canopy Frame

Promote sensory exploration with these colourful sound and light blocks. Shake to hear a range of sounds or look through to see the world in a different light. Made from tactile wood and coloured Perspex contained in a highly crafted wooden box. Price: £21.95

Suspend from the ceiling and drape a variety of materials over or through this highly finished wooden frame. Creates a multi-sensory canopy or den. Price: £17.99

Sensory Play Kit

Mirror Blocks

This fantastic collection of flashing, stretchy, sensory toys are designed to stimulate and fascinate. Great for fidgeting fun. Assorted 9 pieces. Price: £41.95 Build a beautiful effect with these acrylic blocks. Watch as the reflections are created with shiny towers. Make interesting patterns. Why not use them on a light panel. 20 bricks. Price: £52.50

All available from

Thank you Evelyn for your faithful work in processing and support!

Issue 81 Summer 2010


We’re going on a journey to Egypt Group Creativity Session from a member of a Sensology course 2010 – thanks!

We're going on a journey to Egypt You will need: Access to youtube to download materials Ocean drums Sand trays Elephant puppets Snakes in a basket Chiffon or gauze scarves Silky or chiffon net skirts Rain shakers Water sprayers

• • • • • • • • •

We're going on a journey to Egypt

We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, oh – Elephants – grey, wrinkly elephants YouTube – Danielle "Elephants Have Wrinkles" 5-21-09 – Elephant puppets

‘Row The Boat song’ throughout We’re going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, Oh water – swaying waves, beautiful swaying waves – (Listen to the sound of the Ocean Drum) Ocean Drums We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, Oh – it’s hot very, very hot – sunrise and sunset Sunrise music video YouTube – ”Sunrise” Music Video We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, oh – sand Soft, flowing sand – sand trays


We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, oh – a baby elephant YouTube – Simpsons Elephant Walk We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, oh – snakes long, scaly snakes in baskets We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared Oh, oh – Belly Dancers beautiful belly dancers!!Silky Scarves and skirts

We’re Going on a journey We’re going to go to Egypt Oh What a Beautiful Day We’re not scared dancing Oh, oh – Where’s the rain, cold wet rain? Rain shakers & water sprays Song – Listen to the sound of the rainmaker raining

Issue 81 Summer 2010

I Can Kids

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Issue 81 Summer 2010


Chestnuts – A music and touch session Learning Intentions To communicate likes and dislikes To demonstrate anticipation of object and music To respond to objects and music To show body awareness

• • • •

Getting Started Start the introduction music on the Ipod ‘simple things’ by zero 7. Pass around boxes of pot potpourri to signify start of session. Position pupils in a circle in a comfortable place on the floor or in their chair, take off shoes and socks. Adults to be allocated a pupil – sit comfortably opposite pupil, introduce yourself and each object before using it. OBSERVE – Note responses and stop if displeasure is shown. During actions, pause and note any signs of anticipation.

• • • • • •

Activities and Music 1. Feathers – ‘Sitting Waiting Wishing’ by Jack Johnson Slowly brush the feather on arms, legs, hands and feet. Pause to see if the students show anticipation. 2. Bamboo sticks – ‘At the River’ by Groove Armada Let the students feel the bamboo sticks in their hands first. Gently and slowly roll the sticks up and down arms and legs.

4. Natural Sponges (can be used damp) - ‘Mercy’ by Duffy Let the students feel the sponges in their hands. Gently brush backwards and forwards across the arms and legs. 5. Loofah – ‘Sway’ by Mooi Use the rough side, note any response. Then repeat with the soft side. Then alternate between the two. 6. Hot Pebbles (soaked in hot water) - ’Destiny’ by Zero 7 Give opportunity for the student to feel the stones in their hands first and gently and slowly roll them up and down the arms and legs. Finish with a cocoa butter foot massage and replace socks and shoes.

During final piece of music pack all the items away to signify finish.

3. Bags of shells – ‘At your best’ by Aaliyah Shake the bag in the air in front of the student. Gently bounce the bag of shells against students’ skin, allowing time to feel the movement of the shells inside. 26

Issue 81 Summer 2010

Reflections on an Italian experience Marissa shared this reflection on a Florich Sensology course in London:

A Special Moment

One of the most exhilarating experiences working with Special People happened many years ago in an ex ‘Mental Institution’ in Trieste, Italy, where I volunteered as a young student of Sociology. It involved several weeks of working and sharing sleeping quarters with inmates of all ages, who permanently resided there. I shared a room with another worked and a young man who suffered from Schizophrenia and whose behaviour intrigued me from the moment I met him. I can’t remember his name so I will call him Marco. Marco spent hours and hours, day after day either blankly staring through the window or obsessively polishing his shoes.

He refused to communicate with anybody in any shape or form or to participate in any activities. I was told that many had tried to get any kind of response from him, but it had all been in vain. But I was convinced that there must be a way to reach him. I don’t speak Italian, apart from a few words I picked up in the first few days, so it made things even more difficult. So, I spoke to him anyway, any chance I had anywhere, anytime. I would leap in front of him with big smiles when he least expected, wave my arms and talk, or try to engage him any other way - he just turned his back to me. I brought him gifts of oranges, biscuits, cakes and chocolates - he refused all of it. My student friends were laughing at me and told me to give up, because others had. But I just couldn’t. He looked so profoundly lonely that it was breaking my heart. I kept talking and smiling at him, continuing to bring him gifts and leaping in front of him at any opportunity. After about almost four weeks, one sunny morning when we were alone in the room, and me chirping happily to myself, as usual being ignored by him, he suddenly got up, took the Italian-Slovenian dictionary and sat me down. He put one arm on my shoulder and shook me, looking directly into my eyes, knocked on my forehead with his finger and said ‘You are crazier than me!’ I cried with happiness! And I cried even more when he allowed me to take him to the party which was held for all at the Institute. Everyone was cheering when he appeared. He only stayed for a few minutes but it was a giant step for him. Even his doctors were surprised. I still remember him so well. Poor Marco, how annoying must I have been! Thank you Marissa

Issue 81 Summer 2010


Holiday information Recommended holiday sites for Very Special Holiday Makers – sent by a reader Cowran Estates Cowran Farm Pennington Ulverston Cumbria LA12 0JW 01229 585812 Farm Education Centre – will take school group visits on to working farm or take animals out to schools/fetes. Big barn and portacabin classroom to deliver lessons. National Curriculum adapted. Will support any student. Qualified experienced teaching staff. Food can be provided. All aspects of farm/animal care.

Calvert Trust Kielder Kielder Water Hexham Northumberland NE48 1BS 01434 250232 Muscular Dystrophy family holiday – Chalets with hoists bed to bathroom, great accessibility. Rock climbing, sailing and King Swing all accessible with extremely well informed and trained staff.

Holton Lee East Holton Holton Heath Poole Dorset BH16 6JN 01202 625562 10+ room residential barn conversion. Hoist tracking in all rooms with en suite accessible wet rooms to all rooms. Beautiful nature reserve – viewpoint to Estuary. RDA – carriage driving on site


Watch this space for online information exchange

Issue 81 Summer 2010

Book Reviews and websites for support Art as an Early Intervention Tool for Children with Autism

A web of help Contact a family

By Nicole Martin (2009) The early years are the most critical period of learning for a child with autism. Therapeutic artmaking can be a useful tool to tap into their imaginations and help them to express their thoughts and feelings. Art as an Early Intervention Tool for Children with Autism’ includes practical advice on helping a child move beyond scribbling, organizing the child’s environment for maximum comfort and relaxation, and providing physical and sensory support. This book is packed with tips and suggestions for how to provide art therapy for children with autism – covering topics such as the basic materials required, safety issues, how to set up a workspace, and ideas for managing difficult behaviour. The author writes from a professional and personal perspective – Nicole Martin is a qualified art therapist specializing in working with children with autism, and she also has a brother with autism. £13.99 Further details on

Contact a family Is a UK charity providing information and support to the parents of all disabled children, they bring families together so that they can support each other . Its website is easy to use and comprehensive with home tabs for ‘Families’ ‘Medical information’ ‘Professionals’ ‘In your area’ and ‘Campaigns’ – each of which lead you to more detailed options. Whatever the nature of your query – Educational, Medical, Social or Financial you are likely to find useful information and you can contact them and other families. A great strength of the website is that it also connects to other media including its own Facebook pages and Twitter. There is an extensive range of U tube videos even a range of free podcasts from i tunes The website also provides downloadable publications useful to professionals e.g. a resource pack with info relating to services and support families are entitled to and facts about families with disabled children – which gives insights for professionals and students.

Issue 81 Summer 2010


Book Reviews and websites for support Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, part of the UK charity, the Mental Health Foundation

PMLD Network Is part of the Mental Health Foundation, a national charity. It works to promote the rights and quality of life and opportunities for people with learning disabilities and their families. The foundation is involved with improving services and spreading knowledge and information, it provides staff training, consultancy on service improvement, and undertakes research into policy and practice development on all areas related to people with learning disabilities

The intention of the PMLD Network is a group committed to improving the lives of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. One intention is to bring people concerned with PMLD together with statutory and voluntary agencies, to share good practice, to campaign and to provide information and support. They have a website with news and resources and connections to other organisations and their resources. It helps general visitors to understand the lives of people with PMLD and has many real life stories about children and adults which can give perspective, information and inspiration. The site has information and links about developments in reports, legislation and provision. It supports ways that interested people can get their voices heard and campaign for improvement. For example you can find out about the recent report launched in March 2010 â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Raising our Sightsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which makes 33 recommendations across such areas as health , wheelchairs, assistive technology and day activities emphasising personalisation and the importance of treating family members as experts. There is a links page for resources and training that connects to a wide range of information relating to many aspects of the development and lives of very special people. Examples of the headings include Communication and behaviour, Opportunities and Inclusion, Health, Education â&#x20AC;&#x201C; some links lead to free publications, some to websites or information about books or training.


Issue 81 Summer 2010

A Last comic strip from Richard!

Issue 81 Summer 2010


Information Exchange - Summer 2010  

Information Exchange magazine, Issue 81, Summer 2010

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