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Mar • Apr 2017 Issue 87

Personal growth

Is education blooming in our school gardens?

A sense of wonder

Using sensory equipment to promote educational development

Autism Awareness Month The way forward for autism research and support

Tourette’s syndrome • music therapy • wheelchair accessible vehicles specialist seating • sensory processing disorders • short breaks • dyslexia ADHD • transition to adult services • recruitment • CPD and much more…

This issue in full Mar • Apr 2017 • Issue 87

Welcome Third sector organisations across the globe are busy gearing up for World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) on 2 April. Many UK bodies will also be recognising Autism Awareness Week (27 March to 2 April) and Autism Awareness Month (April 2017). These events represent high-profile opportunities to highlight key issues facing people on the autistic spectrum and their families. In this issue of SEN Magazine (p.76), three of the UK’s leading autism charities outline their priorities going forward, what they will be doing to promote understanding of autism and how you can get involved. Also in this issue, Becky Pinniger finds gardening to be an ideal way to facilitate learning outside the classroom (p.49); Gareth Jones and Sheena Hardwick examine the role of sensory equipment in encouraging educational development (p.40) and Patrick Tonks looks at ways to support children with sensory processing disorders (p.44).

Contacts DIRECTOR Jeremy Nicholls EDITOR Peter Sutcliffe 01200 409 810 ADVERTISING SALES Denise Williamson Sales Manager 01200 409 808 MARKETING & ADMINISTRATION Anita Crossley 01200 409 802


Elsewhere in this issue, you will find articles on music therapy (p.22), wheelchair accessible vehicles (p.26), specialist seating (p.30), Tourette’s syndrome (p.34), ADHD (p.38), short breaks (p.55), transition to adult services (p.62), dyslexia (p.68), and school workforce management (p.86). In his regular SEN legal Q&A (p.20), specialist solicitor Douglas Silas looks at what students with SEN can expect from their college. And as always, our CPD, training and events section (p.88) includes a round-up of forthcoming seminars, courses and exhibitions for parents/carers, teaching staff and SEN professionals. For the latest from SEN Magazine, join us on Facebook or Twitter.

Peter Sutcliffe Editor

SUBSCRIPTION ADMINISTRATOR Amanda Harrison 01200 409 801 DESIGN Rob Parry Next issue deadline: Advertising and news deadline: 5 April 2017 Disclaimer The opinions expressed in SEN Magazine are not necessarily those


SEN news


What's new?


Point of view


SEN legal Q&A


Music therapy


Wheelchair accessible vehicles


Specialist seating


Tourette's syndrome




Sensory equipment


Sensory processing disorder


Learning outside the classroom


Short breaks


Book reviews






About SEN Magazine






CPD, events and training


SEN resources directory


SEN Subscriptions

CONTRIBUTORS Stephanie Anderson Elizabeth Archer Mark Chapman Suzanne Dobson Lynn Donovan Sheena Hardwick Gareth Jones Rebecca Jones Richard Kramer Baljinder Kuller Devika Lambert Mark Lever Vicky Missen Mary Mountstephen Jayne O’Brien Becky Pinniger Simon Procter Beverley Samways Douglas Silas Jon Spiers Patrick Tonks Daniel Williams

of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held liable for incorrect information, omissions or the opinions of third parties.

SEN Magazine Ltd. Chapel House, 5 Shawbridge Street, Clitheroe, BB7 1LY T: 01200 409800 F: 01200 409809 W: E:

SEN Magazine ISSN: 1755-4845


In this issue

Further education





Music in mind


The road to independence

How to support young people with complex needs to transition to adult services


Spelling out failure

A helpful guide to buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle


In support of good posture

How the Government’s writing test disadvantages pupils with dyslexia


Autism awareness feature

The role of specialist seating in ensuring health and wellbeing



Leading autism charities outline the way forward for autism support and research

Tourette’s unwrapped The relationships between Tourette’s and common SEN conditions

Regulars 6

ADHD and autism

Looking at the similarities and differences in how ASD and ADHD present



A sense of wonder


Using sensory equipment to promote educational development



Meeting sensory needs How to support children with sensory processing disorders



Personal growth

What's new?

The latest products and ideas from the world of SEN

Point of view

Have your say!

SEN legal Q&A

What can students with SEN expect from their college?

Book reviews

What can schools learn from the business world about recruitment?

Breaking point


Why budget cuts are causing families to miss out on short breaks


Follow SEN Magazine on

SEN news

86 Recruitment

Is education blooming in our school gardens?



Short breaks

Moving on

How music therapy provides a vital form of expression for troubled pupils


Mar • Apr 2017 • Issue 87

Visit us at:

CPD, training and events

Your essential guide to SEN courses, seminars and events

SEN resources directory

Join SEN Magazine on

22 Music therapy 40 Sensory

49 Learning outside the classroom

76 Autism

In the next issue of SEN:

SLCN • learning disability • technology in the classroom • play • numeracy • fostering • sport • cycling • autism • dyslexia • recruitment • CPD • and much more…





People with complex mental health needs are hidden away Disabled children deprived of right to an education and community life Call for system-wide changes to improve care and support A review of the care of disabled children and young people with challenging behaviour and complex mental health needs is calling for urgent action at a national level to prevent these children being institutionalised at an early age, at huge cost to the taxpayer and with low ambitions for improving their lives.  The review, conducted by Dame Christine Lenehan from the Council for Disabled Children on behalf of the Department of Health, drew evidence from civil servants, clinicians, managers, parents and young people. It found that despite numerous Government initiatives, accelerated since the abuse of people with learning disabilities was uncovered at Winterbourne View, there is not a clear vision for the treatment of children with complex needs involving challenging behaviour and a mix of mental health problems, learning disabilities and autism. A lack of ownership or accountability across a fragmented system of care is depriving children of their right to an education, and community and family life. Data to be published in the spring finds that there were 170 under-18s with learning disabilities and/or autism in inpatient care and 635 aged 18 to 25. Over a thousand children (1,129) were in 52-week residential schools. The costs of inpatient care and treatment for each of these children could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. The review confirms that this is not a group of children ignored by Government programmes, and there are examples of excellent inpatient care from highly committed staff, but despite this the system is failing to significantly improve lives. “There’s a well-worn path for this group of disabled children, away from their home communities into long-term placements that often act as a last resort”, says Dame Christine. “Hidden and separated from the rest of society, these children become ‘special cases’, for whom the aspirations we have for other children and young people don’t apply.” Dame Christine is calling for a shift in thinking “so that ‘these’ children are recognised as ‘our’ children, as members of our communities with exactly the same rights to health and education, and family and community life.”

Respecting rights The review looks at what could be done by the Government and other national bodies to improve the system. It says the right to a childhood, conferred by the United Nations Convention on the SENISSUE87

Residential placements can institutionalise children, a new report claims.

Rights of the Child, must be upheld for disabled children with complex needs and behaviour that challenges, with these rights recognised by the NHS Constitution, Department of Education (DfE) , Department for Health and local commissioners. The Review calls on the DfE to look at provision in special schools and colleges for this group of children. The DfE has agreed and have commissioned Dame Christine to conduct this work in 2017. The call for views on this review is open until 17 March (see “Your views sought on residential special education”, page 8). The Department for Health and NHS England should also undertake an urgent review of the number of these young people aged 18 to 25 currently in inpatient provision. The DfE should work with Transforming Care Partnerships, the Association of Director’s Services and the Local Government Association to develop an effective model of what care for these children should look like, the review argues. Better commissioning of services is also identified as a priority and the review urges greater professional responsibility, saying that every one of the children in an in-patient setting, or at risk of going into one, should have a named key worker from either health or local authority services to help them and their family navigate the system. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of General Practitioners and other royal colleges should clarify the responsibility of medical and other professionals for these children, and jointly develop guidance to ensure respective roles are widely and consistently understood. Further information on this review, These are our children, and Dame Christine’s forthcoming review of how special schools and colleges cater for this group of children and young people, is available at: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Special interests may be strengths for adults with autism Intense interests provide career opportunities People with autism see their preferred interest as a “lifeline” Adults on the autism spectrum see their interests as possible fields of study and career paths, as well as ways to mitigate anxiety, finds a study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, the study suggests a shift away from perceiving strong interests in those with autism as a negative and towards a perspective that stresses the strengths and potential of these personal pursuits. People with autism may show intense interest in subjects like science, technology and art, developing, for example, a deep knowledge and appreciation of trains, mechanics or cartoons. Historically, these “preferred interests” have often been negatively perceived and deemed as restrictive problems or even obsessions. Some experts have thought that the intensity of the interests may interfere with people on the spectrum’s ability to develop social relationships, by limiting their topics of conversation. However, this study reflects a growing trend amongst autism researchers away from this deficit-focused perspective. Researchers are now arguing that these special interests can be strengths and that using these interests, rather than discouraging them, can lead to better outcomes, including increasing attention and engagement and reducing anxiety in individuals with autism.

Positive view This study examined the role that preferred interests play in adults with autism, in terms of how they viewed their childhood interests and how they have incorporated these interests into their current lives. Study participants included 80 adults on the autism spectrum, aged 18 to 70, who completed a 29-question online survey about their preferred interests. The researchers found that adults with autism have a positive view of preferred interests – both their childhood and current interests – and believe that these interests should be encouraged. They also see their interests as a way to alleviate anxiety, with 92 percent of respondents reporting that they provide a calming effect. “Many of our study participants referred to their preferred interests as a ‘lifeline’,” said study author Kristie Patten Koenig. Reflecting on their childhoods, participants reported that the majority (53 per cent) of parents were supportive of their interests, but only ten percent of their teachers were supportive. “This highlights an important gap in the educational practices of supporting students on the spectrum and the potential for incorporating their preferred interests in the classroom,” said Koenig. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Many people with autism use their special interest at work or in further study.

Preferred interests shifted for most children with autism as they grew into adults, with 68 percent of participants reporting having different preferred interests as they grew up – although 19 percent did have similar interests throughout their lives. The study also offers further support for utilising interests as strengths in the classroom and workplace. Indeed, 86 percent of participants reported that they currently have a job or are in an educational or training program that incorporates their preferred interests. For example, one person surveyed with a strong interest in computers and visual hypersensitivity is successful as a database analyst. “The findings support a strength-based paradigm that is in contrast to a deficit model that assumes restricted interests and sensory sensitivities only have a negative impact,” Koenig added. “Employment opportunities that leverage individuals’ preferred interests could lead to successful professional experiences and contribute to individuals’ overall well-being.” Lauren Hough Williams, founder of Square Peg Labs and co-project director of the NYU ASD Nest Support Project, co-authored the study. The full article, Characterization and Utilization of Preferred Interests: A Survey of Adults on the Autism Spectrum, can be found on the website of the journal’s publishers Taylor and Francis: SENISSUE87




Your views sought on residential special education A call for evidence has been launched to seek opinions on educational experiences and outcomes for some of the country’s most vulnerable children. Following Dame Christine Lenehan’s care review, These are our children (see page 6), the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson has asked Dame Christine to conduct an independent review looking at the outcomes and experiences of children and young people attending residential special schools and colleges.

Training gap in speech, language and communication Over half of the children and young people’s workforce have received little or no learning in their initial training about typical speech, language and communication (SLC) development, according to a new survey. Conducted by The Communication Trust, the survey of 1,200 members of the children and young people’s workforce also revealed that nearly 60 per cent had little or no initial training focussed on identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).   While 99 per cent of those surveyed said they recognised the importance of SLC skills for children and young people, significant gaps were identified in terms of their knowledge and skills, as well as opportunities for both initial training and continuous professional development.   Only four per cent of the workforce felt they accessed sufficient training in relation to SLC. Whilst 81 per cent of the workforce did not report “lack of support from senior management” as a major barrier, this was seen as insufficient in overcoming other barriers such as lack of budget and time. Respondents also said that other work commitments, like safeguarding, were prioritised.   “Bridging this training gap is the key to giving all children, especially those with speech, language and communication needs, the strong and lifelong skills that are vital to achieving their potential”, says the Director of The Communication Trust Octavia Holland.   The Trust is calling for all members of the children and young people’s workforce to have entry level training in SLC/SLCN and for Ofsted inspections to routinely report on support for SLCN provision. Training and workforce strategies should also include working with parents to develop their knowledge and understanding of SLCN, the Trust believes.   The report, can be found at: SENISSUE87

The Department for Education says the new review is designed to find practical outcomes for the Government and other agencies who work with this group of young people, who often have the most complex needs and require more intensive support. It will look at the characteristics of this group, how and why they are placed in residential special schools and colleges, the support that’s available to them during and after their placement and the ways in which families say their experience of these settings could be improved. Dame Christine is asking for contributions from people working in residential settings, students attending these residential schools and colleges, their parents or carers, and children, young people and adults who have now left these settings. Councils, academics and other sector groups are also encouraged to take part in the review. Director of the Council for Disabled Children since 2003, Dame Christine will be supported in the review by Mark Geraghty, Chief Executive of the Seashell Trust, which runs a residential special school and college for children and young people with complex needs. The review will report back to the Government later this year. Interested parties have until 17 March 2017 to make a submission to the review – Residential special schools and colleges: a call for evidence. Details can be found on the Government’s website:

follow us on join us on News deadline for next issue: 5/4/17 Email: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


UK fostering system “held together by goodwill” The fostering system in the UK is under “unsustainable strain”, according to a new report by The Fostering Network. The charity says the system is only being held together by “the goodwill and commitment of thousands of dedicated foster carers”; this risks undoing the hard-won improvements in raising the aspirations and achievements of fostered children, undermining the terms, conditions and recruitment of foster carers, and increasing long-term societal and financial costs. The warning comes with the publication of the charity’s second State of the Nation’s Foster Care report, based on a survey of over 2,500 UK foster carers. The report highlights that the proportion of foster carers who would definitely recommend fostering to others had fallen from 66 per cent in 2014 to 55 per cent in 2016. It also found that a third of foster carers felt that children’s social workers did not treat them as an equal member of the team. Only 42 per cent of foster carers felt their allowance covered the full cost of looking after fostered children, compared with 80 per cent in 2014. A third of foster carers described out of hours support as “could be better” or “poor”. In addition, 31 per cent of foster carers reported that they were rarely or never given all the information about a fostered child prior to their arrival. “We know that foster care works, and that foster carers, together with many social workers and others in the system, do an amazing job in helping children transform their lives”, says Kevin Williams, The Fostering Network’s Chief Executive. “However, the message that this report clearly sends is that foster carers find themselves working within – and sometimes against – a system which is challenging and, at times, counterproductive.” The top three things that foster carers said they would change to help them improve the lives of the young people they care for were improving communication and support from their fostering service, being treated more as a professional, and better financial support. These findings follow a report from The Fostering Network in early 2016 which found that the wellbeing of children living in foster care was under threat from the impact of cuts in Government funding to local authority budgets in England. The findings of the new report form the basis of the charity’s oral evidence presented to the England education committee’s fostering inquiry. The report, State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2016, is available on the charity’s website:

First children receive new NHS sports prostheses Children across England have begun to receive new running and swimming blades from the NHS, in a move which the Government says will help a future generation of young people get active and even become the next Paralympians. The introduction of children’s sports prostheses on the NHS follows the creation of a £1.5 million fund by the Department of Health to help children run, swim and play sport using specialised sports prostheses. The move was announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt during last summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio.   The money has been split between funding going to NHS limb centres to fund requests for prostheses and investment in a Child Prostheses Research Collaboration, bringing the latest technology into the NHS. It will also enable more children to benefit from sports prostheses that are tailored to their needs and the sports they want to play.   "Team GB surpassed everyone's expectations at last year's Paralympics and this investment will ensure the next generation of children who have either been born without a limb or who have lost a limb will be able to lead an active life”, says Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Sports prostheses given out so far include a running blade for Ben (pictured above), a 13-year-old boy in Brighton, and a water limb that will allow a child from Cumbria to go to the beach or pool and swim with friends.   The initiative has been welcomed by Richard Whitehead, a double leg amputee and double Paralympic champion in T42 200m. “Having run thousands of miles on prosthetics myself I’m delighted to see the next generation take their first steps in experiencing the freedom of running, whether just for general enjoyment or towards achieving their own Paralympic ambitions.”

For the latest news, articles, SEN resources, CPD and events listings, visit: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK





Children with SLCN do not get support they need The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is calling on the Government to guarantee that local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) commission speech and language therapy services for children and young people, as the College says many are not getting the support they need. Almost half of speech and language therapists, recently surveyed by the RCSLT, said that they lack the time and resources to provide services to children and young people with communication problems who do not have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. This legal document describes a child or young person’s special educational, health and social care needs and how local agencies must support them.

Gareth Gates to host Shine a Light Awards The singer and performer Gareth Gates (above) has been unveiled as the host of the 2017 Shine a Light Awards, taking place in London on 23 March. The national awards scheme, run by Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust, celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s speech, language and communication development.   Gareth Gates, who rose to fame on the TV show Pop Idol, has spoken publicly about living with a stutter and the impact this has on life chances. After qualifying as a speech coach, he made the 2011 documentary, Stop my Stutter, in which he taught young people who had stammered since childhood how to use a particular technique to overcome stuttering.   “Too often people take speaking for granted but for many being able to communicate and converse is an everyday struggle”, says Mr Gates. “In the past, I have found my stutter crippling, affecting my confidence greatly, but I have learnt ways to manage my difficulties with the support of others.”    The Shine a Light Awards feature a 28-strong judging panel including leading individuals in the speech, language and communication sector, SEN Magazine Editor Peter Sutcliffe and previous Award winners. The international comedian, writer and speaker Francesca Martinez has also joined the judging panel this year. “The pressure to be ‘normal’ can be immense, but what does normal mean?”, she asks. “I have cerebral palsy, something I prefer to reference as ‘wobbly’, but that doesn’t stop me from performing, whether that be acting, stand-up comedy or appearing on a panel show.”    Francesca Martinez, who attended a mainstream school, says, “It is so important to recognise the achievements of those with speech and language difficulties and the families, individuals, team and settings that support them.”    For further information about the Shine a Light Awards, visit: SENISSUE87

“This is alarming, as we already know from the Department for Education that 86 per cent of children and young people (almost nine out of ten) who have communication problems as their primary need do not have an EHC plan”, says Kamini Gadhok, CEO of the RCSLT. She goes on to say that local budget cuts and changes to commissioning priorities are causing children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) to miss out on the support they need. The survey also revealed gaps in joint commissioning arrangements for children and young people aged from birth to two years and from 18 to 25, with 43 per cent of respondents commenting that speech and language therapy support was not being commissioned for these groups. The College is urging the Government to address this issue with local authorities and clinical commissioning groups before full implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms in March 2018.

Families of children with learning disabilities sought for online study Parents and caregivers of children with a learning disability are being asked to complete an online questionnaire, which will inform a study exploring the experiences of family members who live with a child with a learning disability aged four to 11 years. Families with a child who has a learning disability and other conditions, such as Down syndrome, autism, or other genetic syndromes, are also encouraged to take part. The 1,000 Families Study is being run by Cerebra in association with the charity’s Family Research Group at the University of Warwick. The charity wants to recruit at least 1,000 families to take part in this research and organisers are keen to follow families over time, to understand how families change and adjust in different ways to having a child with learning disabilities. The study involves taking a short survey online and organisers hope it will become the largest ever study of families of children with learning disability in the UK. The charity says it should provide further understanding of what it is like to raise a child with a learning disability, which can be used to help shape future information and support for families and children. More information and a link to the online survey can be found at: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


BSL to become a formal qualification in apprenticeships For the first time, British Sign Language (BSL) will be accepted as an alternative qualification to Functional Skills in English for apprentices where BSL is their first language. Functional skills are qualifications that help people gain practical skills in maths and English that are designed to develop greater confidence in future life and work. This change will mean that apprentices will be able to take British Sign Language as an alternative Functional Skills in English – removing what the Government calls an “unnecessary barrier that has been preventing them from getting on”. BSL is not simply English with hand signs, it is a different language with its own grammar and sentence construction. It is also totally different to other sign language such as American Sign Language or Japanese Sign Language. “For those whose first language is British Sign Language, this simple change will allow them to achieve their full potential”, says Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon. Government figures show that more people with SEN and disabilities are taking up apprenticeships. In 2015/16, 50,640 of those starting an apprenticeship declared a disability or learning disability. This is 9.9 per cent of total starts and an increase of 14.8 per cent on 2014/15. The Government says that high-quality apprenticeships are essential to support employers and address skills shortages facing industry, as well as ensuring greater equality of opportunity. English and maths are a key element of this. “Being deaf and dyslexic, I find English tests really hard”, says engineering apprentice Max Buxton. “It’s very difficult to translate BSL into English and for it all to make sense.” Although Max’s employer says he is doing well and his language skills are not an issue, he can’t, under current rules, complete the apprenticeship without passing the Functional Skills test. “It’s an unfair, unnecessary rule that has created a lot of stress, so I’m very pleased things are changing now”, says Max.

Deaf and disabled-led theatre gets £300,000 boost The Arts Council has announced a total of £301,008 to support deaf and disabled-led arts organisations to go nationwide with two tours. Deafinitely Theatre is a professional deaf-led theatre company that works bilingually in British Sign Language (BSL) and spoken English, and produces work that caters for all ages. It has been awarded £81,008 for Deafinitely Little: a deafled bilingual touring theatre project developed for families in partnership with theatres across five English regions. A programme of audience development, participation and training activities will accompany theatre productions, aiming to engage and retain interest from deaf family audiences. “Each venue involved in the Deafinitely Little tour will develop its knowledge of local d/Deaf audiences and the skills required to fully integrate accessible production”, says Joyce Wilson, London Area Director of the Arts Council.

Gesturing boosts children’s creative ideas

Graeae Theatre Company is a disabled-led theatre company, which aims to place D/deaf and disabled artists centre-stage. Graeae will receive £220,000 to tour Reasons to be Cheerful (pictured above), a mid-scale musical featuring the music of Ian Dury, to seven regions across England.

Encouraging children to move their hands while thinking increases their creative ideas, according to new research by a psychologist at the University of York.

Joyce Wilson says she hopes that this tour “… will hammer home the importance of integrated accessibility in the arts”.

Asking children aged eight to 11 to describe different uses for everyday objects – for example, a newspaper could be used as a fly swatter – researchers measured how often children gestured against the number of ideas generated. Presented with images of items such as a newspaper, pencil or tin can, it was found that the more children gestured spontaneously when thinking, the greater the number of ideas they came up with. The majority of children’s gestures conveyed the performance of an action on the object, for example rolling a newspaper with two hands. A second study revealed that encouraging gesture significantly boosted the number of uses children generated. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

The funding is part of the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Programme, which aims to give people better access to quality work in a range of venues. The initiative targets places with low levels of art engagement and those that rely on touring for arts and culture. The Arts Council says it welcomes applications for a wide range of arts on tour including, in particular, mid-scale theatre, inbound international work, and more work by and for people from diverse backgrounds. For information about the programme and application deadlines for future funding rounds, go to: SENISSUE87




What’s new?

The Autism Show 2017 – online ticket office is now open The Autism Show, the national event for autism (including Asperger syndrome), has opened it's online ticket office early to enable visitors to pre-book their tickets well in advance of the events in June and July this year.

The show runs in London, Birmingham and Manchester, attracting over 10,000 parents, carers, and professionals looking for the latest autism information, practical advice, products and services on the condition. You can book your tickets now and save 20 per cent at:

Brotherwood launch exclusive new WAV Brotherwood are set to introduce their most luxurious wheelchair accessible vehicle yet: an exclusive lowered floor conversion of the Mercedes-Benz V-Class, complete with remote-controlled powered ramp, power assisted wheelchair restraint system, and patented self-tensioning restraint system. The V-Class “Klastar" conversion will be available with the Mercedes-Benz 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, and a choice of two powerful diesel engines. It will be officially launched at the Brotherwood WAV Weekend at Haynes International Motor Museum on 29 and 30 April 2017. For more details and to register your interest in a free, no obligation home demonstration, visit:

HydroTilt with negative leg rest angle to aid standing CareFlex’s HydroTilt has a unique angleadjustable, padded, flip-up footplate which provides a more restful ankle position whilst supporting the foot. It also has a 25 degree negative angle to facilitate standing, and offers a more comfortable seating position for clients with tight hamstrings. These features are available as standard at no additional cost, as are many HydroTilt features, including its clinically assessed WaterCell Technology®. Infection control removable covers are available as an option. Velcro has been replaced in all exposed areas with plastic profile fittings, and zips and exposed seams have been minimised on covers. SENISSUE87

Socialeyes Facilitator Training The National Autistic Society is running a Socialeyes Facilitator Training course in Birmingham on 22 and 23 March 2017. Socialeyes is an innovative approach to learning social skills and developing social understanding for people on the autism spectrum and is primarily suitable for people with Asperger syndrome. This interactive two-day course will help you learn how to use the resource to facilitate the Socialeyes programme and give people on the autism spectrum the tools they need to participate more fully in the world. To book your place, visit: training

Free autism events in Liverpool Hesley Group have released details of their upcoming free autism events and are now taking booking requests. Children with Complex Needs – Better Understanding, Better Support will be taking place at the Crowne Plaza City Centre in Liverpool on 15 and 16 March. Speakers Professor Barry Carpenter and Angela Stanton-Greenwood will provide workshops and presentations that will enable parents and professionals to gain valuable knowledge during the respective one-day events that will be sure to keep you engaged and focussed throughout. More details can be found at:

Immersive Interactive brings Iceland to UK classrooms Immersive Interactive video producer Jon Bradley was on location in Iceland at the start of the year filming the country’s natural wonders in 360 degrees. The shoot marks the beginning of an ongoing project to capture the sights and sounds of Europe’s most fascinating attractions, enabling schools to conduct “virtual field trips” from the comfort of their Immersive Classrooms. The new content includes geyser eruptions, huge waterfalls, snow covered mountain ranges, and provides students with a transporting experience that is educational and memorable. For information or an onsite demonstration, email: or telephone: 01704 500580. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK



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Medpage Limited launch new MP5-UT seizure detection alarm for children The Medpage MP5-UT combines features of two of the company’s most popular monitors, resulting in an affordable epileptic seizure detection alarm suitable for babies through to adults. The UT super-sensitive sensor is positioned under the bed or cot mattress where it continually detects body movements from a sleeping person. The detected movements are analysed by computer software that differentiates usual sleeping movement from typical seizure movement. Continuous seizure activity generates an alarm, which is transmitted to a radio pager to warn the parents/carer of an ongoing seizure. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK





Canopies for education settings i2o Ltd, one of the country’s leading canopy manufacturers, is now in its seventeenth year of providing outdoor covered areas within the education and SEN sector. Structures are tailored to meet the needs of the setting and individual requirements and have a choice of colours and roof shapes as standard. i2o Ltd work with you to ensure everything runs smoothly and with minimum disruption to your students. To qualify for a ten per cent discount off their RRP quote SEN17 for a free, no obligation site visit and quote. To find out more, contact: or: 01480 498297.

Free consultation and inspiration guide on inclusive, sensory outdoor play The outdoor sensory space in any setting should be fully inclusive and provide the same opportunity for everyone to explore regardless of their ability or special need. It should be a place where diversity is respected and valued, enabling children of all abilities to explore their surrounding in a safe child-centred inclusive environment. Timotay Playscapes have a free inspiration guide to outdoor sensory play spaces and outdoor sensory play equipment. For your copy, email: or call: 01933 665151.

Tarzanne sensory play tours SEN schools Tarzanne is a sensory play telling the story of a young girl lost to the jungle, raised by apes, who is captured and returned to her family. Audiences can follow her journey through the senses, from the lush forests that raised her to the concrete jungle of the civilised word. Interplay, the National Centre for Sensory Theatre, has worked for over 45 years to create theatre that engages the senses, bringing interactive storytelling and live music within immersive 360º environments to audiences. They are touring SEN schools nationally from May to July 2017. 0113 263 8556

Leaders of residential trips sought The Lake District Calvert Trust are recruiting a panel of SEN teachers/ SENCOs to help them refine their outdoor learning proposition. They are looking for three leaders of residential trips who are largely or wholly responsible for setting learning objectives and coordinating finances, but don’t currently use the Calvert Trust. You would be joining other members of their advisory panel for twice-yearly two two-day residential sessions at their centre, the 1st this Easter. All catering and accommodation, plus reasonable travel expenses, are covered, with an opportunity to sample activities. If you are interested, contact Justin Farnan. Call: 017687 72255. Email:


Lincolnshire independent college maintains “Good” status Linkage, the Lincolnshire based independent college for students with learning difficulties or disabilities, was recently judged by Ofsted to be a “Good” college that continues to provide a good educational experience for students and maintains the rating awarded in 2013. The inspectors noted that many Linkage students, including those diagnosed with more complex autistic spectrum disorders, make notable gains in self-confidence and social interaction, and that students benefit from a good range of wrap around support. Linkage runs monthly open days; call: 01472 372303 to book your visit and receive more information.

Post-16/19 pathways for young people with SEN Beechwood College regularly organise free events in Bristol, Cardiff and Hereford led by a panel of independent speakers, who provide impartial advice on the wide range of opportunities for young people with SEN as they transition from school into adulthood. Events cover: the range of post-16 education and employment options available to young people with autism and/or a learning disability; the rights of young people with SEN and how parents can access funding applications and legal advice; and practical tips for a smooth transition. For more information about Beechwood College and forthcoming free events, visit: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK








FdA in Inclusive Practice The FdA in Inclusive Practice started at Weston College in 2007 as the first qualification of its kind in the country. It won a Beacon Award in 2013, reinforcing Weston’s reputation for LDD and SEND provision and specialist training. Initially specialising in autism, it has expanded to include mental health, literacy difficulties and profound and complex LDD. Kay, a mainstream school teaching assistant, supports learners with social and emotional difficulties. She said: “This degree has given me the confidence and skills to succeed in this position. The support from tutors at Weston College is outstanding.” 01934 411 409

Celebrating 27 years of playground design and manufacture Maple Leaf Designs Ltd have been designing, manufacturing and installing children’s playground equipment in the UK since 1990. They are a one-stop-shop when it comes to playground development, with their own in-house designers, manufacturing plant and installation teams. Over the years, their work with SEN establishments has enabled them to develop a wide range of inclusive play equipment and, on top of their free design and consultancy services, they can also help your school gain access to vital funding to put towards your new playground development. For further information, tel: Freephone 0800 633 5618 or visit:

Reliable assessments and interventions to support professionals and students Pearson Assessment supports education professionals working in a range of settings to support students with SEND.




From the new Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen™ for younger pupils, to assessments that support EHCPs, including tools for cognition and learning such as the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Third Edition Brief Form (KTEA3 Brief), and training opportunities such as Psychometrics Training Online for SENCOs – Pearson can support you and your students from day one, through to further and continuous education. For more information, visit:

New college opens in Birmingham Ruskin Mill Trust’s newest provision, Argent College, resides in a former Victorian factory in the historic Jewellery District of central Birmingham, and has a focus on the creation of jewellery. Hundreds of students aged 16 to 25 years have benefitted from the Trust’s innovative Practical Skills Therapeutic Education method that draws its inspiration from the insights of Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris. The College offers a wide and exciting range of course subjects which give students the opportunity to overcome barriers to learning, become skilled through doing real-life purposeful activities and engage as valued members of their community.

Orbis opens new respite service Following recent announcements of the group’s expansion, Orbis Education and Care are inviting enquiries for their new respite and short breaks service. Ty Galan is registered to support children and young people between the ages of eight and 19 with complex needs associated with autism and learning disabilities, and offers parents and carers a well-deserved break from their care-giving roles. Orbis provides specialist services including residential schools, adult homes and a work-skills hub. The group will also open Summergil House in Presteigne on the Herefordshire-Powys border offering education and care on a day or residential basis. For more information about Orbis services, call: 029 2002 9922 or email: SENISSUE87

Sensory Integration - could it help you in your classroom? The SI Network has a world-leading programme of courses open for bookings. The Network is the leading training organisation of Ayres’ Sensory Integration in the UK. Its inspiring programme of courses is held in venues all over the UK. From introductory one-day workshops to more in-depth courses, they cover issues including feeding difficulties, complex trauma in children and muscle stretch programmes. For more information about The SI Network and a full programme of up and coming courses, visit: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Rebound Therapy at your own home Until recently, Rebound Therapy was something only available in a school environment, where large above ground trampolines would be erected in school halls. With the advent of sunken trampolines, it is easy for families to enjoy the benefits this therapy brings within their own gardens. With professional installation, a sunken trampoline can be used by everyone, no matter what ability level. They are a safe alternative to the above ground trampoline. Sunken Trampolines install trampolines across the UK for families, schools, SEN organisations and playgrounds. For more information, visit:

Inclusive and challenging play Sutcliffe Play have been designing and manufacturing for over 150 years. They believe passionately in inclusive play, and delivering this in an invisible way. Whilst inclusive features are designed into most of their equipment, they don’t make compromises on the challenge it presents. There is always an element of risk, allowing children of widely differing abilities to develop, explore and find the limits of their capabilities together, through play. Sutcliffe Play is an employee-owned business manufacturing in the UK and distributing worldwide. They offer free play area design services, free site surveys and free project management.

Phase transfers to secondary school, post-16 and post-19 It’s that time of year again, when specialist SEN solicitors Douglas Silas Solicitors are approached by parents of children and young people with SEN. This is because this is commonly when there is a need to successfully move them to the next stage of their educational journey and disputes often arise about phase transfers to secondary schools and post-16/post-19 placements. Douglas says: “This is always a difficult time for parents, so it is important for them to seek specialist advice or representation as soon as they can.” For more information, visit:

Latest Easy News for people with learning disabilities National disability charity United Response has produced the latest edition of the award winning Easy News – the first ever magazine designed specifically for people with learning disabilities. Featuring simple language and visual cues, this edition gives readers a news round-up featuring stories including: the rights of people with disabilities on public transport, President Trump’s inauguration, the USA’s travel ban, an update on Brexit, Carrie Fisher and George Michael and much more. To download a copy and sign up for future editions, visit:

Using horticulture with pupils with SEND Thrive offers training, education and consultancy on the use of social and therapeutic horticulture which is tailored to meet the needs of mainstream and special schools, staff and pupils. This course provides skills and practical techniques that enable teachers and teaching assistants to enhance the wellbeing and development of children with SEND through horticultural activities. The benefits of social and therapeutic horticulture for children include: improved physical and mental wellbeing; improved confidence, teamwork and social interaction; better and healthier lifestyles; and greater engagement with their environment. Email:, telephone: 0118 988 5688 or visit: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Five-day TEACCH courses This course will combine knowledge and theory with direct experience working with students with autism. Led by trainers from Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina and TEACCH certified advanced consultants and practitioners, it will run on: 15 to 19 May 2017, 6 to 10 November 2017 (specific focus on pupils with typical cognitive functioning or moderate learning difficulties), 5 to 9 March 2018 and 14 to 18 May 2018. Suitable for SEN professionals and teachers, it’s based at the Child Development Centre, Kempston, Bedfordshire and costs £1250. To book or for information, contact Carole Eales on: 01908 555615 or: SENISSUE87




Point of view: parent

Fighting for support Devika Lambert describes an SEN system that seemed to work against her family’s needs


y daughter Beatrice is twenty-five and a beautiful young lady. I am so thankful for her, but our journey together has not been easy. When Beatrice was born with no obvious complications we were overjoyed. At 4.5 weeks however, something didn’t seem right to me and despite being told everything was fine and being discharged from hospital, I returned to the GP who confirmed my fears. Beatrice was re-admitted to hospital, where she had so many seizures she had to be sedated to stop them. She spent the next six days in intensive care and three months on the ward, and it was confirmed that Beatrice was 80 per cent brain damaged with limited vision. We were then discharged and our journey fully began; our time was spent with therapists and medical professionals, both at home and at hospital, trying to understand the combination of her different conditions: cerebral palsy, epilepsy, visual impairment and learning difficulties. I remember the feeling of being overwhelmed but hungry for information; I wanted to understand her condition fully and how best I could help her. She had these needs, she was going to be different, but she was mine. With the help of two charities, I started to understand the processes of special education and family support, but it was clear there was limited information and no handbook or directory of the agencies which have subsequently played such an important part of Beatrice’s life. SENISSUE87

It was a visual impairment therapist who recommended a local school for visually impaired children, that was our first break-through and made such a difference to Beatrice’s life, allowing her to take part in activities with other children like her, and providing fun and the stimulation she required.

Ever-changing struggle From here, we started the stressful statementing process; I somewhat naïvely thought that as Beatrice was using the drop-in facility she would be given a place at the school, but it became apparent that the process was not about what the child needs and requires but was driven by funding and resources. Another charity helped me raise a tribunal appeal, but the authority conceded and Beatrice spent many happy years at the school until it closed. Beatrice was forced into a mainstream school for two years, as the authority had nowhere else to place her, except a severe learning disabilities school, which I was adamant was not right for her. Beatrice was then placed in another school for children with visual impairment, where she was happy, but it became clear that it was going to be a battle: information was not readily available and the system seemed to work against and not for us. Each stage of your child’s life is a fight. The decisions you face range from the choice of school, social care and therapy support, to the next stage of your child’s education. What college should they go to? Should it be residential or day provision? On

She had these needs, she was going to be different, but she was mine top of all this, there are all the issues around support at home. We’ve even had struggles getting appointments with GPs and repeat prescriptions. My response to all this was to equip myself with as much information and training as possible; I became a governor of the school Beatrice attended and volunteered with charities. I then became an Educational Advocate to help other parents, as in all my 25 years I have not met one agency or service that can completely support and advise parents, and many of the good charities I have worked with have been closed due to funding. Our journey together has been overwhelming and lonely at times. It has left me frustrated due to the lack of help and advice given to parents. Despite that, though, I look at Beatrice every day and see the positive impact she has had on my own life. I am the person I am today because of her.

Further information

Devika Lambert is a mother and an Educational Advocate at Changing Lives Now Ltd:



Point of view: person with visual impairment

Seeing through my eyes Daniel Williams details his struggle to come to terms with his visual impairment


few years ago, I featured on the BBC’s Saints and Scroungers programme talking about my experience of dealing with my eye condition (retinitis pigmentosa) from a young age. I talked about the bullying I faced at school and how bullies used my visual impairment to take advantage. They would call me names such as “blind bat”, “Mongol” and “Batman”. I found this very traumatic and upsetting and I would often take out my frustration on my mum when I got home. Whilst at mainstream secondary, I remember people asking me if I was blind and I would respond by saying, “Not me; I think you’ve got the wrong person.” I did not want to admit my eye condition to myself, let alone to anyone else. I would become extremely angry with teaching assistants who would follow me around; I felt they were making my disability more obvious and not allowing me to interact with fellow students. I would tell them that if I needed their help, I would request it. I also got embarrassed that my handouts were in large print and I would try and hide them in class. I felt that some teaching staff at the school regarded me as being “trouble” and that they didn't really understand the difficulties I was dealing with on a daily basis.

Rock bottom I really wanted to join the Police Force and to drive a car; the realisation that I wouldn’t be able to do this was too much to comprehend. I wanted to be “normal”, just like my peers, but I quickly realised that life would never be normal for me. My dreams and aspirations as a WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

I had to deal with severe depression, even taking steps to try to end my life

young man would not become my reality and I had to deal with severe depression, even taking steps to try to end my life. Blindness had very negative connotations for me and I felt useless. What could a blind man do? What type of job could a blind man get? I felt my life had become worthless. One time, I became so angry with the world that I stole my mother’s car. After a number of failed attempts, I managed to get it started, eventually steering it into a nearby car park with my mum frantically chasing me. My eye condition became my main focus. I started researching and watching programmes on TV and became fixated on the laser eye surgery adverts that were shown regularly. I believed it was the answer to my prayers and I contacted a number of companies, only to be told that this would not be of any benefit to me. However, the more I researched my condition, the better my knowledge of what it is, and what I could expect, became. At the age of eighteen, I enrolled with a college for the blind, full of nerves and trepidation; I had never come across a white cane, let alone 200 of them and guide dogs galore. This was a massive turning point in my life. No longer did I have to hide my eye condition or be embarrassed to have large print material or specialist equipment.

Whilst at college, I had counselling by experienced counsellors in the field of visual impairment. I met people who inspired me and gave me the confidence to realise my own potential and that there was life after blindness. I studied health and social care, sociology and business and went on to university, where I achieved a Foundation Degree in Rehabilitation Studies for People with a Visual Impairment. I was a young man on a mission to prove that sight loss did not mean job loss. After working in several fields, I was acutely aware of the lack of knowledge surrounding visual impairment, and this gave me the determination to make a change. Two years ago, I set up my own business to help organisations and individuals become disability confident. It may have taken me a while, but my acceptance of my condition has been one of the most positive forces in my life.

Further information

Daniel Williams runs Visualise Training and Consultancy: visualisetrainingandconsultancy.

What’s your point of view?






What can students with SEN expect from their college? Specialist SEN solicitor Douglas Silas explains the requirements on colleges to support students with SEN The SEN and disabilities Code of Practice (CoP) points out that post16 education and training is diverse and includes: school sixth forms (mainstream and special); sixth form colleges; general further education (FE) colleges; 16 to 19 academies; special post-16 institutions; or vocational learning and training providers in the private/voluntary sector. They provide a range of learning programmes and vocational qualifications at all levels. For this article, I am focusing on colleges (I dealt with schools in the last issue of SEN Magazine).

What are a college’s duties regarding SEN provision? Colleges have a duty to have regard to the CoP and to: • cooperate with the local authority (LA) on arrangements for young people with SEN; this is a reciprocal duty • admit a young person if the institution is named in an education health and care (EHC) plan – unless it is unsuitable for their age, ability, aptitude

or SEN, or if to place the young person there would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources or the efficient education of others • use their best endeavours to secure the SEN provision that the young person needs – whether or not they have EHC plans; this does not apply to students on higher education (HE) courses, such as at university.

What are their duties to identify SEN? Colleges should be involved in transition planning and schools and colleges should work together to smooth that transition. Colleges should give all applicants a chance to declare a learning need/disability/medical condition that may affect their learning. If a student makes a declaration, the college should discuss with them how they would provide support. Any screenings and assessments should be differentiated and proportionate to the likely SEN. If needs only emerge after a programme has begun, teaching staff

It should not be assumed that students working on higher-level courses do not need SEN provision should work with specialist support to identify SEN. The CoP also points out that it should not be assumed that a student has SEN just because they have lower attainment levels than peers. It should also not be assumed that students working on higher-level courses do not need SEN provision.

What SEN support is available in college? The CoP states that the college must use its “best endeavours” to put appropriate support in place, after discussion with young people, and support should be aimed at promoting independence and enabling the young person to make progress towards employment and/or higher education. Support should be evidence-based. The CoP also states that colleges should take a “cyclical” approach to assessing need, planning and providing support, then reviewing and evaluating that support, so that it can be adjusted if necessary.

How do colleges assess what support is needed?

Students on higher-level courses may still need SEN provision.


The CoP advises that where a student is identified as having SEN and needing SEN support, colleges should bring together relevant information from a number of people, including the school, the student, those working with the WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


student and any screening assessment the college has carried out. This should then be discussed with the student (who should be supported by a parent or advocate, if necessary). This may identify the need for a more specialist assessment from the college or others.

Funding is complex, so differing rules may sometimes apply and I advise caution and research

How do colleges plan and provide support? Plans for support should be developed with the student and meet their aspirations. They should be based on reliable evidence, provided by people with relevant skills and knowledge and progress should be reviewed. SEN support can include: • assistive technology • personal care (or access to it) • specialist tuition • notetakers • interpreters • one-to-one or small group learning support • habilitation/independent living training • accessible information (such as symbol based materials) • access to therapies (such as speech and language therapy).

What funding is available? All colleges are provided with resources (based on a national funding formula for core provision) to support students with additional needs, as well as additional funding for students with SEN. This funding is not ring-fenced. Colleges are not expected to meet the full costs of more expensive support, but are expected to provide support that costs up to a nationally prescribed threshold. The responsible LA should provide additional top-up funding, if the cost of provision required exceeds the nationally prescribed threshold, or if it maintains an EHC plan. Colleges are funded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for all 16 to 18-year-olds and for those aged 19 to 25 who have EHC plans. Colleges are funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for all students aged 19 and over who do not have an EHC plan. Funding is complex, WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

so differing rules may sometimes apply and I advise caution and research in these situations.

What are the duties regarding record keeping and reviewing support? Colleges should keep a student’s record of support updated to inform discussions about SEN support’s effectiveness, their progress towards specified outcomes and any planned next steps. Colleges should ensure data is recorded accurately and in a timely manner, to provide the student (and, if necessary, their LA) with regular information about progress. The effectiveness of support and its impact should be reviewed regularly, which may lead to changes – whether or not there is an EHC plan (which must be formally reviewed annually). Colleges should also keep under review the “reasonable adjustments” they make under the Equality Act 2010.

Is there any other expertise within and beyond the college? Colleges should ensure they act inclusively with students with SEN or a disability and have appropriate expertise within their workforce. Colleges should also ensure they have access to specialist skills and expertise, for example through partnerships with other agencies and/or by employing people directly. They should have a named person with oversight of SEN provision to ensure coordination – like a SENCO in schools – or where curriculum and support staff can go if they need help or advice. Colleges should also ensure they have access to external

specialist services and expertise, for example, educational psychologists, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), specialist teachers, therapists and support services. Where, despite taking relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the needs of the student, they are still not making expected progress, the college or young person can request an EHC needs assessment.

Is there careers guidance for young people? The CoP states that colleges are required to secure access to independent careers guidance for all students up to and including age 18 and for 19 to 25-yearolds with EHC plans.

Do colleges have any disability discrimination duties? Colleges have duties under the Equality Act 2010 to not discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled young people and they must make reasonable adjustments to prevent them being placed at a substantial disadvantage. This duty is also anticipatory: it requires thought in advance as to what disabled young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent disadvantage. Colleges also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations.

Further information

Douglas Silas is the Principal of Douglas Silas Solicitors and runs the website: www. He is also the author of A Guide To The SEND Code of Practice [updated for 2016/17], which is available for all eBook readers: www.AGuideToTheSENDCode The advice provided here is of a general nature and Douglas Silas Solicitors cannot be held responsible for any loss caused by reliance placed upon it.





Music in mind Simon Procter reveals how music therapy can provide a vital form of expression for troubled pupils


t’s 9.30am and most classrooms are settling down to quiet work. Out of one room though, a steady stream of sound can be heard: determined drumming matched by intense piano playing and the exchange of vocal sounds that wouldn’t generally be called singing. There is a sense of concentration, interaction and expression all happening at once. Later in the day, this room will witness some very different sounds. At one stage, very quiet, intimate singing will be heard, while at the end of the day, a boisterous group will summon all of their social skills to play together, listen to each other and support one another. What’s remarkable about all of this though, is not so much the sounds themselves as the fact that the students producing them are those who might ordinarily be considered the least able to do so. This is music therapy and the school’s music therapist is not just jamming with the students, even though it may sound like that sometimes; she is very deliberately using music as a means of offering students experiences they might otherwise find hard to access – experiences which will ultimately help them to benefit more from the school’s educational offering. The determined drumming comes from Lauren, a young girl with elective mutism. Socially isolated, in music therapy she can experiment with being loud and expressing herself. The therapist joins in, supporting Lauren’s loudness, encouraging her to keep going and helping her to experience this not just as making noise but as meaningful communication with a sense of purpose, shape and direction. Lauren may not realise it but the therapist is accompanying her with SENISSUE87

In music therapy, Lauren can experiment with being loud and expressing herself harmonic structure, which lends a clear sense of direction to the activity. When she returns to her classroom, the teacher notices Lauren being more alert and more involved. Sometimes, after music therapy she will even risk saying something – a big deal to everyone who knows her. The quiet intimate singing comes from Peter. Often labelled “disruptive”, he’s known for shouting and swearing and generally causing mayhem. He has a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as learning difficulties, and his behaviour is challenging. In music therapy, though, he has found someone

who really listens to him and responds not so much to his words as to his way of being. This has enabled him to be much more vulnerable. Sometimes he seems to regress to a much earlier developmental stage, wanting to sing nursery rhymes and improvising madeup songs with the therapist who joins him encouragingly, much as a parent might do with a toddler. The sessions seem to strengthen his sense of self and teachers note that he is often calmer after sessions, with a steady improvement also noticeable over the time he has been attending music therapy. The group at the end of the day brings together children from various year groups. They all have difficulty with waiting their turn or listening to others. Many have a diagnosis of autism and they find it hard to do things on others’ terms. This time the music therapist is using structured songs and specially arranged musical activities to help the

Musical interaction shows pupils that they are being listened to.




observer) surprisingly noisy, dissonant or relentless. This is how the therapist builds a musical working partnership with each person and learns about their strengths and abilities, not just their deficits or diagnoses. It is by building on these characteristics and well as students’ enthusiasms and tastes that the music therapist will begin to plan ways of working which are meaningful and useful to each person.

What’s the difference between music therapy and music teaching?

Music therapy offers students a vital form of communication.

students to maintain their focus and wait their turns. Watching the students, a teaching assistant comments on how attentive they are: “You’d never believe it if you didn’t see it for yourself”.

What is music therapy? Music therapy is an opportunity for people to make and improvise music with a music therapist. This might sound an odd thing to prioritise, and for schools to invest precious budget into, but the very fact that music is such a different way of interacting than using words makes it particularly useful for many children with SEN. The examples above demonstrate how certain aspects of music – such as its capacity to allow an individual to really experience someone listening to them and quite literally accompanying them – can provide experiences which are very different from the everyday experiences of students, and which can help them to interact differently with the world around them. Much of this comes down to what it is that we as human beings go through when we are making music with other people. In music making, we have a very different experience of time, of waiting and of anticipating. Whether or not we are aware of it, our consciousness and our sense of what WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

is possible is shaped by aspects of the music itself – by structure, phrasing, harmony, rhythm and melody. A music therapist therefore needs to know what this feels like and to be able to apply this musical knowledge to an understanding of the specific situations of the students they are working with. One size clearly does not fit all. The kinds of experience which will be useful to someone who finds it difficult to control emotional outbursts will be very different from those required to support and affirm a student with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Our consciousness and our sense of what is possible is shaped by aspects of the music Before any new experiences can be shared though, it is necessary to engage the student musically. This is based on really listening to how someone is presenting themselves and offering a way of being with this in a meaningfully musical way. This means that music therapy sessions can generate music which is sometimes (to an outside

Music teachers have a responsibility to deliver a curriculum and children are expected to learn specific skills or knowledge as outcomes of the teaching. Music therapists, on the other hand, are able to tailor their time with particular students to the individual needs of those students. Instead of curriculum delivery, there is an expectation that the therapy should help students to develop their capacity to benefit from the school’s offering as a whole. Thus learning to listen, to be more self-expressive, to regulate oneself, to catch up in particular areas of development or to make use of a paralysed limb will all in the long run enable a student to participate more fully in, and contribute more actively to, the life of the school. Music therapy and music teaching, working together, can develop a spectrum of musical provision within each school which ranges from formal academic tuition to intense emotional support, tailoring opportunities that best meet the needs of each individual student as well as those of whole classes, were appropriate.

Training to be a music therapist Music therapy as a profession is regulated in the UK by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), along with other professions often found in schools, including >>




occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. The HCPC sets standards for training courses and only people who have successfully completed a two-year fulltime (or part-time equivalent) masters programme approved by the HCPC can practise as a music therapist in the UK. Training courses recruit musicians and equip them with the practical skills, knowledge and understanding required for responsible and effective practice as a music therapist. Once qualified, music therapists can work across a wide range of settings, but schools remain one of the primary work settings for music therapists, not least because liaising with teachers and other school staff is so valuable to the work. It is also important for music therapists to be able to see students in their everyday school settings outside of music therapy, for example, in the classroom.

Individual and group work Music therapy can happen in individual sessions, but music therapists also work with groups of various sizes, and there are good reasons why this should be so. For example, the group described

Noisy sessions can help the therapist and child build a rapport.


Music therapists are used to managing and responding to complex interpersonal dynamics

schools report that these kinds of activities are valuable ways of providing nurturing for the professionals who themselves give so much care to the students in schools.

above gives students who find social situations challenging experiences of handling these situations successfully and with confidence. Sometimes, it is appropriate for a music therapist to work with a whole class as a group session, and this might well include opportunities for teachers and teaching assistants to see their students in a different light, often appreciating strengths that are less obvious in a teaching context. Sometimes, music therapists will judge it appropriate to work with some students towards performances, for example at school events or within assemblies.

There is growing evidence in the medical sense for the effectiveness of music therapy in relation to particular conditions, such as autism and emotional and behavioural difficulties. For a relatively small profession, music therapy has been particularly proactive in conducting and publishing research. There are fewer accounts of the impact of music therapy services on schools as a whole, though, and this is the focus of a current stream of work being undertaken by the charity Nordoff Robbins, attempting to document the ways in which music therapy makes a difference to wider school communities. While there is still work to be done to understand the effects of music therapy in schools, the benefits of this type of therapy for students and the whole school seem clear. As one headteacher says, “I thought music therapy would help a few of our students. In fact it affects every student and every member of staff in some way or other.”

Whole-school benefits While there are certainly benefits for individual students from music therapy, there are also benefits to the school as a whole. Music therapists are skilled in observing and interacting with each person’s way of being and can provide perspectives which complement those of teaching staff, in relation to such things as problem behaviours or communication issues. They are also used to managing and responding to complex interpersonal dynamics. Music therapists may be able to help particular students contribute to school events, or even help to organise such events. They may work with music teachers to ensure that all musical opportunities within the school are as inclusive as possible. Above all, they will seek to help the whole school to take musical opportunities that arise, whether this is in relation to particular students, whole classes or the staff group. Music therapists might also work with staff groups in the school, for example, setting up lunchtime staff choirs or ukulele bands; indeed, many

The evidence for music therapy

Further information

Simon Procter is Director of Music Services at Nordoff Robbins, the UK’s largest music therapy charity, with responsibility for education, research and quality assurance: Information on music therapy and how to train as a music therapist can be found on the website of the British Association for Music Therapy:


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Affordable Music-Making Kits for SENCOs and Class Teachers Designed to include, engage and enable everyone to explore and control sounds and then make amazing music together. These kits and instruments are affordable, accessible and, because they come with clearly written teaching support and easy access to our experts, any practitioner or parent can start making a big difference straightaway! Drums for Schools Director Andy Gwatkin, explains: “Our designed-for-you instruments stimulate both the senses and the imagination and generate an immediate response. They can be played straight from the box; you don’t need SEN or music training because everything is so accessible and comes with teaching support and access to our experts. These really are musical instruments for everyone.” To see the full SEN range, go to:






The road to independence Vicky Missen provides a helpful guide to buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle


any families across the UK benefit from the freedom of mobility that a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) offers. Those who have witnessed the ease of use and independence that a WAV can provide would probably never consider going back to an unconverted vehicle. However, for some, the decision to buy their first WAV, and the process of choosing it, may be challenging. With perhaps more choice today than ever before, those looking to take their first steps into the WAV marketplace may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available to them. Knowing where to begin can be difficult, so what follows is a brief guide that will put you on the road to finding the perfect car for your family’s needs.

Wheelchair position Not so long ago, the only option for the wheelchair user would have been to sit somewhere in the back of the car, often far behind the other passengers. Today’s WAVs offer a greater choice for the wheelchair user to travel more inclusively with the family. Many now offer the option to sit next to the rear passengers, whilst others give the wheelchair user an up-front passenger position. Deciding where the wheelchair user would like to travel within the vehicle will help you to narrow down the most suitable choice. If, for example, you need quick access to the wheelchair user to provide care, being able to sit directly next to them is much more convenient than an isolated position at the rear of the car. Travelling centrally SENISSUE87

Consider what type of vehicle will be suitable for the typical journeys you will carry out within the vehicle is also a much more enjoyable experience; it’s closer to the driver or other passengers and offers a better view out of the windows.

Internal dimensions It is important to decide what your requirements are for the seating space. People, and wheelchairs, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So in order to find a suitable vehicle, it’s best to measure the wheelchair user’s total seated height, width and front-to-back length, as the dimensions will help you further narrow down your selections.

Check these dimensions against each vehicle’s entry height, width and internal headroom, ensuring that there is plenty of space and headroom for the wheelchair user without being cramped. A low, flat and level floor tends to provide more comfort, enabling improved forward visibility with a lower centre of gravity for less body roll. Ensuring adequate space for the wheelchair user is especially important for younger wheelchair users, where ensuring correct posture when seated can help to promote comfort and wellbeing. Occupational therapists strive to ensure wheelchairs provide healthy posture, and this should be considered when choosing a WAV; the provision of adequate headroom and a level floor can help to maintain this posture when travelling, reducing discomfort and fatigue.

Today’s WAVs offer a wide range of specs and options.



Many vehicle convertors will bring a demonstration model to your home to try at no cost

Wheelchair users can be seated in a variety of positions in a WAV.

Also consider any additional specialist equipment you may need to carry on a regular basis and make sure you have space to transport everything you require.

family’s needs for the next few years. If you are planning, for example, on changing to a new wheelchair, make sure the vehicle will be capable of transporting it.

Purchasing options

Everyday use

There are many ways to acquire a wheelchair accessible vehicle. For many, the Motability Contract Hire scheme offers an affordable option, with an advance payment and surrender of your Mobility Allowance being all that is required to lease a new WAV. The scheme also includes many of the associated costs of car ownership, including insurance, maintenance and servicing, for a five-year contract. If you are not sure whether you qualify for a Motability vehicle, visit the Motability website (see below) for information on eligibility and the WAVs covered by the scheme. Some vehicles may not be available on Motability. You may also be looking for a longer-term investment, or be ineligible for the scheme, in which case there is a wide range of both new and pre-owned vehicles to choose from. Be sure to shop around for insurance – there are a few converted vehicle specialist providers – and look at what warranty provisions the vehicle is covered by. However you choose to fund your WAV, think long-term; consider whether the vehicle will be suitable for your

Consider what type of vehicle will be suitable for the typical journeys you will carry out. Assess whether the vehicle will be easy to drive for all potential drivers. Any wheelchair accessible vehicle also needs to be easy to load and unload in your usual parking areas, whether at home, at the shops, or perhaps at school. Check the availability of any extras you may need; you may, for example, want to include a powered winch system, so be sure to find out about the availability of fitment, and whether it is included or optional. Attention should also be paid to passenger safety; check that the restraints fit correctly and are easily operated, and ask if they have been tested for the safe transportation of your wheelchair.


Try before you buy If you follow the guidelines above, you should be able to narrow your search down to a handful of vehicles that look suitable for your needs and budget. But before you make a final decision, be sure to try at least a couple of the options to see how they compare. Many vehicle convertors will bring a

demonstration model to your home to try at no cost, and, although you may find many companies offering the same base vehicle, the quality and comfort that each conversion offers can vary. When looking at the potential vehicles, consider all of the above points. Check that the wheelchair user is comfortable and has enough space. Try loading and unloading the wheelchair a few times, and check that the process is easy to carry out. Don’t feel rushed into making a decision; there is plenty of choice and lots to consider. Many conversion companies can also offer bespoke adaptations, options and accessories that will make your WAV perfect for your requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask. No matter how unusual your requirements may be, there are experienced companies on hand that can, and have, fulfilled many unique requests for their customers. Taking the decision to buy a converted vehicle is still a big step for many. But hopefully with these tips, you can make a start on the road to independence.

Further information

Vicky Missen is Sales Operations Manager at Brotherwood, which adapts and supplies wheelchair accessible vehicles: For information on the Motability scheme and eligible vehicles, go to:





HEATONS MOTOR CO. WIGAN 01942 864222 / 07715 231694 Excellent finance packages available! Call us for details This is just a small selection of the vehicles we have to offer Junction 23, M6 or 20 miles Manchester/ Liverpool airport






2012 VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER CR50 Only covered 52,681 mls • 15 highback passenger seats • 3 pointbelts • complete flatfloor • external ratcliff fully automatic tailift (lolar tailift certificate) sld with easy access side step • airconditioning • coifed totally showroom condition inside and out in stunning silver metallic £23,995 2012 VAUXHALL VIVARO LWB HIGHROOF Only covered 40,193 mls • 8 highback passenger seats • 3 pointbelts • lots of unwin tracking • ricon internal fully automatic tailift • (lolar tailift certificate) • sld with side step • totally showroom condition inside and out £15,995 61 PLATE PEUGEOT BOXER MINIBUS (light d1 not required ) Only covered 12,056 mls • one college owner from new • 16 highback passenger seats • tracked for 1 wheelchair at rear • stunning unmarked silver metallic • looks and drives like new £13,995



65 PLATE RENAULT MASTER SWB Only covered 7,063 mls • totally new inside and out • stunning silver metallic • ricon internal fully automatic tailift (lolar tailift certificate) 7 highback passenger seats • lots of Unwin tracking • sld with cassette step • IVA CERTIFICATE £20,995 2013 CITROEN RELAY MWB Only covered 42,650 mls • 8/11 highback passenger seats with 3 pointbelts • coifed • totally showroom condition inside and out £11,995



2015 VAUXHALL MOVANO MWB Only covered 21,204 mls • 8 highback passenger seats • in moquette • with 3 pointbelts • lots of Unwin tracking • ricon internal fully automatic tailift • {lolar tailift certificate} sld with avs cassette step • totally showroom condition inside and out £21,995




In support of good posture Rebecca Jones looks at the role of specialist seating in promoting health and wellbeing


osture describes an overall body position. It is the way we hold ourselves or position our bodies, intentionally or unintentionally. It is influenced by a number of interconnected factors, including body shape and size, muscle tone, gravity, supporting surface, the task at hand, and even a person’s health. Optimum posture should encourage function, be energy efficient and not harm body systems. People who have learning needs can often present with physical and sensory challenges resulting in difficulties managing their posture independently without support. Poor posture and trunk asymmetry can impair physiological function, including cardiac efficiency and endurance. It can encourage abnormal tone, including spasticity, and interfere with normal movement. It can cause fatigue, immobility and reduced function and independence –

resulting in increased dependency and carer responsibilities. Poor posture can also increase the risk of pressure injury.

24-hour postural management Failure to protect a person’s body shape or reduce the risk of pressure injury can result in many complications, such as pain, contractures and deformities, breathing difficulties and respiratory complications, poor digestion and constipation, infection, and even death. This is true of adults and children. 24-hour postural management is the use of any technique to minimise the complications listed above. It is a multi-disciplinary approach that has the potential to assist in enhancing and maximising an individual’s quality of life. It is essential to consistently support posture and manage pressure throughout the day and night – in every setting such as home, school and work – in order to reduce the risk of

A comprehensive individual assessment is imperative in the provision of specialist seating

secondary complications. A good lying posture at night is vital to reduce the risk of postural deformities developing, which may then affect the person’s ability to achieve a good sitting position. A good posture must be achieved during mealtimes to reduce the risk of aspiration or choking. The average person in the United Kingdom spends 9.5 hours sitting every day. This does not include those who may be wheelchair users or those unable to change their position independently.

The aims of specialist seating • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Promote comfort, relaxation and safety. Prevent or reduce the occurrence of undesirable postural changes. Ensure maximum stability through a well-balanced position. Facilitate normal movement patterns or control abnormal movement patterns. Normalise tone or decrease its abnormal influence on the body. Ensure maximum body weight over largest possible surface area. Encourage pressure redistribution. Promote optimum functional ability. Encourage energy management. Enhance physiological functions such as cardiac, digestive and respiratory functions. Ensure the ability to transfer safely. Improve interaction and social inclusion. Improve quality of life.

The right specialist seating can encourage function and improve wellbeing.




Specialist seating is a fundamental part of this 24 hour approach; ultimately it should improve the person’s quality of life.

Assessment and client involvement Due to the variability among people, a universal sitting position is not practical. Therefore, a comprehensive individual assessment is imperative in the provision of specialist seating, which includes the person’s diagnosis, past medical history, social history and goals. Objective assessment should include the measuring of critical angles for sitting, such as hip and knee range of movement including hamstrings muscles length, and sitting ability and postural support needs. When working with a client with learning needs, the client and their family, friends or carers should be involved throughout the assessment process, the selection and issue of equipment and the review, to ensure management plans are acceptable and appropriate for everyday life. Always find out the best way to communicate with the person. Ask family, friends or carers for help. Key information about the person’s communication needs can also be found in their communication passport, traffic light assessment or health action plan, if they require these. Consider signs, objects of reference, photographs or communication aids when interacting with them. It is important to recognise when someone with learning needs is in pain if they are unable to make this apparent verbally. Listen to those who know the person well and ask about any changes in their behaviour or interactions. Consider their facial expressions, gestures, body language or reduced appetite.

Specialist seating Children and adults can benefit from specialist seating, including those with a neurological impairment such as cerebral palsy, little or no active movement such as spinal cord injury, altered body shape and asymmetry such WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Functions, components and accessories of specialist seating • Pressure relieving properties of the supporting surface can reduce the risk of pressure injury, along with a regular change of position.  • Tilt-in-space can be utilised as part of a pressure care programme to redistribute pressure. • Back angle recline can be effective in managing postural concerns such as hip dislocation or fracture. • Adjustable seat dimensions, including width and depth, can maintain optimum pelvic position and weight distribution. • Angle adjustable leg rests can assist with managing lower leg oedema; a negative angle can alleviate pain associated with reduced hamstrings muscles length. • Lateral supports can accommodate or even correct abnormal spinal postures. • Split seats can accommodate leg length discrepancies. • Head supports can aid communication, vision, breathing, and eating and drinking for those with limited head control. • Belts and harnesses can help maintain pelvic stability, and reduce abnormal tone and movements; it is imperative to complete a risk assessment prior to use to ensure safety and consider deprivation of liberty.

as scoliosis, movements that are difficult to control such as ataxia, impaired proprioception, or those with poor skin integrity or previous skin breakdown. Specialist seating must be introduced when a person is assessed as having postural problems or at an increased risk of pressure injury; this may mean

Regardless of the clinical benefits, the seating system may not be used if the user is not comfortable introducing equipment when they are only babies. Lack of early intervention can result in irreversible damage and complications. Introduction of seating systems at an appropriate age is also considered to facilitate psychosocial and cognitive development. In the paediatric setting, specialist seating should be adjustable to accommodate growing children, whilst facilitating learning, development and play. It should encourage stability and dynamic sitting balance to allow upper limb function. Improved head control is essential for orientation, socialisation and the development of cognitive and communication skills. Most importantly, it should be comfortable and subsequently, it should increase compliance and consistent use. There is a correlation between compliance and comfort; regardless of the clinical benefits, though, the seating system may not be used if the user is not comfortable. With appropriate assessment and set-up, specialist seating can encourage function by stabilising the pelvis to allow freedom of movement, improved head and trunk position for interaction and safe eating and drinking. It will also manage comfort and energy levels, and ultimately improve quality of life.

Further information Rebecca Jones is Clinical Specialist at specialist seating provider Careflex:





L Bir ond Di mi on str ng , M ibu ha an te m ch d a Au es t tis te m ra Sh nd ow s

In print 36,000 readers per issue*

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unique users a month

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* SEN Magazines are typically circulated to four or more readers.


May/June issue features include: SLCN • learning disability • technology in the classroom • numeracy • Foster Care Fortnight • sport • cycling autism • dyslexia • play • recruitment CPD and events and more… To book your space, contact Denise: Tel: 01200 409808 Email: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK



Tourette’s unwrapped Suzanne Dobson explores the relationships between Tourette’s and common SEN conditions


ith a prevalence of one in 100 school age children having Tourette’s syndrome (TS), it is really surprising that most teachers I speak to tell me they have never taught a child with TS. Teachers with 20 or more years of experience must have taught thousands of children, so what is happening? TS is a genetic, inherited neurological condition caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. There are none of the typical diagnostic tests and the diagnosis is given after observing the young person and taking a complete family history and understanding of the tics which the child is displaying.

Diagnosing Tourette’s For a person to be diagnosed with TS, he or she must: • have two or more motor tics (for example, blinking or shrugging the shoulders) and at least one vocal tic (for example, humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase), although they might not always happen at the same time • have had tics for at least a year. The tics can occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day, or off and on. There should be a tic free period of no more than three months within the year • have tics that begin before he or she is 18 years of age • have symptoms that are not due to taking medicine or other drugs or due to having another medical condition (for example, seizures, Huntington’s disease, or postviral encephalitis). There is also no medication specifically for TS and those that exist often SENISSUE87

It is likely that there are a lot of pupils with undiagnosed Tourette’s in our schools.

It is strange that a condition can be defined by a symptom which so few people have have unpleasant side effects and especially with young children the balance between controlling the tics and causing other problems must be finely weighed. The most useful treatments are the talking therapies similar to cognitive behavioural therapy. The young person is taught to identify a tic beginning to form and then train themselves to do something else or suppress the tics for an increasing length of time. Only ten per cent or so of those with TS have Coprolalia, the much publicised swearing tic; it is strange that a condition can be defined by a symptom which so few people have. The other symptom is non-obscene,

socially inappropriate words or gestures (NOSI). This is often the biggest area of conflict in the classroom and can include comments about people’s physical features or behaviours. The second biggest potential area of conflict is echolalia – the repeating of words and phrases which are often their own but may also be other people’s. This can be a particular source of aggravation to those in authority, such as policemen and teachers.

A spectrum condition It is only recently that people are beginning to think of TS as spectrum disorder and this may be at the bottom of the discrepancy between prevalence and classroom manifestation. I suspect that a large proportion of children with TS will have tics so mild as to be of no significance to them or others. We all know children (and adults) who have a range of what we think of as mannerisms and the suspicion is that officially these could WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


be diagnosed as Tourette syndrome. Therefore, it is only children with more pronounced TS, usually with a selection of comorbidities, that will be visible in the classroom and therefore need more support. The problem with this lack of recognition is not about the tics themselves but is about the other invisible issues which Tourettes brings. I usually describe TS as being like an iceberg; there is only a small amount to be seen above the surface (the visible tics) but the huge lump of “ice” below the water will sink ships and scupper education. In this analogy, the internal tics tell the child not to try, as they won’t succeed, and the feelings of anger or anxiety bubble unbidden to the surface. For some, this anxiety will manifest itself as an overwhelming feeling of rage. In order to begin to support a child with TS you need to get to know them – to know when to challenge them, when to just understand them and when to push them just a little to overcome the barrier that is TS and start to achieve their potential. TS is first diagnosed in childhood between five to seven years of age and often worsens between the age of 11 and 12, which is a very difficult time often just when children are

85 to 88 per cent have at least one comorbidity, the common ones being ADHD, autism, OCD and anxiety moving to high school and, of course, when they are most affected by the emotional and physical changes which surround puberty. For 50 per cent of young people with TS, their tics will abate as they move towards their late teens and early adulthood. This means, though, that they may have struggled throughout their whole education, left school with fewer qualifications than they should have, and are then faced with having to try to catch up later in life. Teachers will always play a pivotal role in shaping a child’s future and by recognising the needs of a child with TS, they can have an even more profound impact.

Overlapping conditions Only 12 to 15 per cent of people who have TS have “pure” TS – that is, just the tics (although obviously there will also be anxieties associated with the

The understanding of teachers and fellow pupils makes a big difference to students with TS.



tics). The remaining 85 to 88 per cent have at least one comorbidity, the common ones being ADHD, autism, OCD and anxiety. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is the most commonly cooccurring condition with Tourette syndrome. ADHD is defined as a group of behavioural symptoms that includes inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, which interferes with functioning or development. Often, children with TS have an increased level of impulsivity driven by the nature of TS. It is also often hard to distinguish between some of the traits of TS and autism. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is an anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent obsessional thoughts and/ or compulsions that cause serious distress. In common with the feeling often associated with OCD, many people with TS describe a measure of satisfaction on having completed their tic. In addition, they sometimes say that if they don’t complete their tic satisfactorily the first time, they need to perform the tic over and over again until it “feels right”. As with OCD, the perceived consequence of not completing a tic or task is that someone close will suffer a misfortune, adding to the burden of “doing it right” the first time. Anxiety is an emotion which gives the person an unpleasant feeling of tension and apprehension. Anxiety is a typical and common emotion experienced by children and adults. It often arises in response to a perceived threat or is triggered by a specific stressful event. When anxiety is persistent and interferes with normal routines, and doesn't go away with reassurance and comfort, it is classified as an anxiety disorder. Unsurprisingly, TS is a great source of anxiety and often causes the child to be anxious about other things, often making them unwilling to try new work >>




because they know they are not going to do it well, even though there is no evidence for this belief. It also means that any change is likely to increase anxiety. So, for example, changing class or teachers is likely to be a great source of anxiety that can cause an increase in the number and frequency of tics. This, in turn, may well heighten anxiety and thereby a vicious circle is created. Given that the transition to high school is likely to be a key source of anxiety, additional visits to the new school, extra support and the provision of information about the new environment can help to lessen the stress pupils feel. Anger control issues affect a significant number of people with TS and often they cannot tell you what they are angry about. These extreme reactions to events can make relationships difficult. Problems with anger control may turn into aggression towards parents or teachers. It is a good idea to seek additional advice from your local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) or an education psychologist if you are trying to help pupils with TS to manage any anger issues. Depression: many people feel sad or depressed if they are experiencing something upsetting or stressful. Usually, these feelings are short lived, but if the feeling of sadness continues, and it starts to interfere with daily

Tics can be triggered by talking about them, or by someone copying a tic or similar action life, this could be a sign of clinical depression. Some studies have shown an increased rate of depression in adults with TS; however, it is not clear whether the depression is as a result of the tic disorder or a response to the difficulties experienced by those living with the condition.

Helping pupils with Tourette’s Tourette’s syndrome, with all its complexities, can be very difficult to live with both for the person with the condition and for those seeking to support them. Tics can also be auto-suggestible. They can be triggered by talking about them, or by someone copying a tic or similar action, but they usually calm down quite quickly. In the classroom, it is usually a lot easier for the person with TS if their classmates understand what TS is and how it affects them. It can be a good idea for the young person to talk to the class, with the support of their teacher or parents, about their experience of the condition. This makes it easier to manage other

children’s reactions and make life a little more relaxed for the pupil with TS. If everybody involved understands what can cause tics, this can help to prevent other children from consciously triggering tics, for example, when they are bored or when the lesson might be a little slow. While I have tried to discuss some of the issues commonly faced by those with TS, one of the most difficult things for teaching staff is that everyone’s TS is different. Indeed, the differences can be very pronounced, from the child with a few simple tics (such as sniffing, blinking, shrugging and perhaps a simple word), to a child with the most complex tics (including jumping, spinning, making complex noises or sounds and even uttering complete sentences). Similarly, a child may have TS on its own, while another pupil may have a complex diagnosis involving TS and a number of other conditions. The best approach to helping the child to manage their TS will always be to take an individualised approach. Most clinicians are willing to talk to a school if you have a particular problem. Involving parents is also crucial here. By working together, schools and families can find the right approach and offer the most appropriate support for the child concerned to help them overcome the issues they are facing. It’s important to remember, though, that if one per cent of school children have the condition, there are probably a number of children in your school who you are not aware have TS. Their tics might not be visible but perhaps the comorbidities are and if nothing else seems to quite fit the bill, it might be worth considering TS.

Further information

Suzanne Dobson is Chief Executive of Tourretes Action, a UK support and research charity for people with Tourette’s syndrome and their families: It can take a great deal of effort to suppress tics.



EDUCATION SHOW Advertisement feature

The Education Show 2017: keeping creativity alive in the classroom This March, 300 companies from across the UK will be gathering at the NEC, Birmingham to share their diverse educational resources and to celebrate the power of keeping creativity alive within education. Now in its 27th year, The Education Show will welcome over 120 brand new companies to its esteemed education event, as well as a range of industry professionals and high-profile speakers such as national treasure and ballerina, Darcey Bussell. The content of this year’s show will address pivotal issues including the teacher recruitment and retention crises, how to bring the curriculum to life for all students, student wellbeing and special educational needs (SEN), assessment and the abolishment of levels, budgets and financing, equality and inclusion in education, behaviour management, e-safety, and methods of collaboration – as well as, of course, creativity in education. The latest educational solutions will be on display for visitors to explore, so attendees will be sure to leave with the inspiration and ideas needed to make their schools even more enriching, and to ensure all students are catered for. Here are just a few you can expect to see at this year’s show.

the classroom, and longer and more adventurous classes are being used in school halls. Designed by an experienced yoga teacher and primary school teacher, Class Yoga can be used as part of PE or SEAL/ PSHE. Dogs Trust Education Team (stand M24) aims to educate young people – the dog owners of tomorrow – by delivering fun, free, engaging and interactive classroom workshops. Workshop themes include dog safety and responsible dog ownership, as well as many curriculum based topics, such as maths, English, science and history. Workshops are delivered throughout the UK in primary and secondary schools and within the community by a dedicated team of teacher trained Education Officers. All workshops can be tailored to meet your individual needs. If you would like to book a workshop at your school or local community then please pop by stand M24.

The Devonshire Educational Trust (stand J91) provides a varied education programme at Chatsworth in Derbyshire. The house, garden, farmyard and woods provide a wonderful resource for students of all ages. It offers sessions bursting with history and art from all periods, illustrating life across the generations. Its farmyard offers hands-on learning experiences whilst its outdoor education sessions explore the garden and parkland. The Devonshire Education Trust caters for all groups, large and small, offering both staffed activities and self-guided options. In 2017 it will have a Gucci sponsored fashion exhibition. Class Yoga (stand N16) is an online teaching resource, designed by a team of experts to enable teachers to provide yoga and mindfulness for their pupils – teaching them how to be calm, relax and self-manage their behaviour. Choose from a range of relaxing, focusing and energising classes to suit your time, space and objective. Short standing and seated classes are perfect for use in

TeeJay (stand M17) provides a core mathematics resource via bright and colourful pupil-centred textbooks covering every strand of a particular year (Reception to Year 6). These are supported by a corresponding homework pack which mirrors the class work, an assessment pack including an end of year diagnostic assessment, and a free-to-download course planner. These core textbooks were developed for the National Curriculum, but were based on similar resources that are now in almost every school in Scotland at both primary and secondary level. Pupils, teachers and parents love the resources and are confident that they cover, in depth, the whole curriculum. The Education Show takes place at the NEC Birmingham on Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 March 2017. To get your free ticket, register now at: Follow: @EducationShow on Twitter for the latest news!






ADHD and autism Diagnosis must recognise the many similarities, as well as the differences, in how ASD and ADHD present, write Mark Chapman and Jayne O’Brien


ttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) are connected in a number of ways. Indeed, they can have some of the exact same overlapping symptoms. Importantly, these overlapping symptoms can cause the young person to be incorrectly diagnosed with one condition rather than the other. Most parents find it worrying not knowing the source of their child's challenges; however, there isn't always a definitive answer and diagnosis is not as straight forward as many people expect. In some cases, it is important to abandon the diagnosis debate and focus on an action plan to address and support the difficulties the young person is going through. With this in mind, it would be more productive to think about what interventions would

Having one condition can increase the chance of having symptoms of the other condition be most helpful, although systemically it is not always possible to do this. It’s crucial, though, that the assessing clinician is mindful of the overlapping symptoms of the two conditions. When facing a diagnostically challenging situation it would be best to suggest a behavioural intervention, as this could be informative and support an accurate diagnosis. In most instances, it is vital to be aware that having one condition can, in fact, increase the chance of having symptoms of the other condition.

Looking at this from a developmental perspective, and to highlight a good example, a young person with a defined language disorder will most probably go on to develop a reading disorder. The latest research allows for a child to be diagnosed with both conditions according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - fifth edition).

Overlapping symptoms Young people with autism who have trouble paying attention to tasks in class could also be struggling with language difficulties. Someone with language difficulties may come across as if they are not paying attention to directions. However, the source of the problem could be that they don’t truly understand the directions in the first place. Young people with ADHD can have lots of problems that impact on their social skills, for example avoiding direct

Young people with ADHD can have lots of problems that impact on their social skills

Similarities in some presentations can cause ADHD and autism to be misdiagnosed.


eye contact or unintentionally getting into other people’s space without being able to gauge the appropriateness of this behaviour. The source of this behaviour is the impulsivity. It is crucial to consider all aspects of a young person’s developmental functioning in behaviour, mood, academic skills, social skills and play skills. The goal is to get a complete picture to ensure both conditions (ASD and ADHD) as assessed carefully. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Typical presentation of symptoms of ADHD and ASD

ADHD Communication

In some cases: • fast or slurred speech • slow speed of processing spoken language.

Autism Abnormal development of: • receptive and expressive language • attachments to parents or family • reciprocal (to and fro) social interaction • functional or symbolic play • pitch, tone, volume and rhythm of speech • non-verbal communication – avoiding eye contact, lacking use of facial expression and gestures to initiate and regulate social interaction.

Social difficulties

• • • •

short spells of play/activities often leaves activities unfinished over-frequent changes between activities unwarranted lack of persistence at adultled tasks • highly distractible during work • lacks perseverance with activities.

• pre-occupied with parts of objects or specific details of play objects rather than the bigger context of play • pre-occupied with restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in content or focus. • difficulty transitioning between activities • difficulty regulating behaviour appropriate to immediate the environment • highly distractible during work and by specific noises • difficulties developing friendships (that involve joint sharing of interests, activities and emotions) • lacks reciprocity (to and fro) in social interactions appropriate to the context.


• constant or extreme restlessness (seems unable to sit still) • excessive fidgeting and wriggling • excessive activity when stillness is expected (such as at mealtimes or during travel) • frequently leaves seat when expected to sit • frequently struggles to play quietly.

• can have an over-active or under-active presentation.

Impulsivity/ compulsions

• difficulty waiting (turn taking or in group situations) • regularly interrupts (for example, butts into conversations or activities) • shouts out at inappropriate times.

• difficulty waiting (turn taking or in group situations) • talking over social partner in conversation to redirect the conversation to preoccupations or special interests • compulsive observance of routines or rituals • distress over the smallest change • hand or finger flapping, tapping or twisting.

Distinct conditions Above is a list of some of the symptoms that will often be evidenced for the two conditions. It shows some of the differences and similarities in typical presentations of autism and ADHD. The idea that needs to be highlighted to parents is that ADHD and autism are two separate and distinct conditions that happen to be found together WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

much more frequently than would be expected by chance alone. They are both life-long conditions and it is important that diagnosis is accurate and useful. Everyone involved should be aware that diagnosis is a very serious matter which can have huge consequences for the child or young person’s future.

Further information

Dr Mark Chapman is a Clinical Psychologist and Jayne O’Brien is an Assistant Psychologist at Springfield University Hospital, Tooting CAMHS Neurodevelopmental Team:





Meeting sensory needs Gareth Jones and Sheena Hardwick discuss the importance of sensory equipment in promoting educational development


t a time when education budgets and support for students with SEN in mainstream schools become more stretched, staff and governors will be forced to look at incorporating specialist equipment within their day-to-day learning and buildings to cater for students with a range of abilities. Around 700,000 people in the UK are thought to have autism, more than one per cent of the population; an estimated one in 400 babies is born with cerebral palsy and a report suggested there are more than 350,000 children in England alone with some form of learning disability¹. Taking these figures into account, the number of children in need of specialist educational support and equipment, and the impact these children can have on other students in mainstream schools if not properly supported, can seem overwhelming. According to the National Autistic Society, 63 per cent of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them, whether this is due to teaching, students or facilities. Yet every school, whether mainstream or special education, can help to support their students through the use of specialist sensory products and equipment.

Practical skills For the hundreds of thousands of children in the UK who have SEN, sensory products are an engaging way of stimulating the development of different skills and abilities, as well as promoting relaxation and de-escalating potentially SENISSUE87

Sensory equipment can promote calm and prepare users for learning.

disruptive situations to improve their state of mind. Many specialist learning centres across the country already use sensory products or rooms to aid with educational and sensory development, helping students progress and develop their movement, vision, balance and understanding of touch. As funding for students with SEN becomes increasingly restrictive, we are now seeing more and more

Sensory products are an engaging way of stimulating development in a range of skills mainstream schools investing in sensory equipment and technology to provide specialist learning rooms and experiences for their students within their existing buildings, making best use of the facilities available to them. Even just a few items of sensory

equipment can deliver a wide range of benefits for users, and equipment can be mobile to make the most of limited space.

Focusing attention Sensory rooms and equipment can provide great cause and effect learning and facilitate the development of motor skills. For those with learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory equipment can help with relaxation and focus. It can also be invaluable in promoting feelings of calm, as users can be in control of their own sensory experience. This helps individuals who may otherwise struggle to concentrate to focus on tasks. The right equipment can provide these children and young people with stimulating tactile experiences and help them communicate, develop a feeling of security and explore their feelings. In addition to its roles in stimulating development and helping users to relax, specialist sensory equipment is WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


often used as an aid to education and also as a treat. Occupational therapists often support staff in the setting to use sensory rooms for regulation – to get the user into a “just right” state for a particular function. This may mean preparing them for learning, going shopping, being able to sit next to someone or being able to eat a meal. Sensory products are valuable in creating these calming environments, enabling users to relax and focus on tasks which they may otherwise be distracted away from in their usual dayto-day life.

Meeting sensory needs There is a range of sensory equipment available to stimulate each of the senses. For example, for users who find their vision over or under arousing, colour panels, bubble walls, infinity tunnels, mirrors and mirror balls are especially effective in encouraging focus. Therapists and health professionals also work with a range of products to help users develop their understanding of touch and feeling, with products to encourage tactile interest, including interactive auditory and visual panels, fibre optics, sensory backpacks, jet streams, bubble tubes and tactile discs. For those users who want to develop their movement, balance beams, bolster scooters, visual and auditory panels and mirror balls are really effective products in helping users manage movement limitations. Whilst many rooms traditionally include products such as bubble

Developments in technology mean sensory rooms can now deliver new educational and therapeutic opportunities tubes, fibre optics and projectors, developments in technology mean sensory rooms can now deliver new educational and therapeutic opportunities. As the equipment develops, therapists recommend ongoing training to ensure equipment is used correctly and that staff are using it to its full potential. Educational themes are now often used to enhance users’ learning, while technology is used to create immersive environments, controlling everything from touch and movement, to colour, smell and light. These themes can be crafted to develop the users’ transferable life skills, replicating scenarios such as “we’re going on a bear hunt”, an underwater world or a space theme to deliver scenarios that users can relate to.

Ready to learn Cedars Primary School in Cranford, Hounslow recently had a sensory room installed; the special school, which has 61 pupils aged four to 11, will use the room to create positive learning environments for children with a range of social, emotional and mental health

needs. The room includes a bubble tube, soft play area, infinity tunnel, sound equaliser and musical touch wall which will be used to benefit children with a range of therapeutic conditions. Emily Bush, a teacher at the school, says: “Having our own sensory room will make a big difference. The equipment and sensory environment helps to keep the children calm and enables them to focus, ready for learning. We have a large number of children with autism, both verbal and non-verbal, and the room gives them a really important tactile experience by experiencing things like the vibrations through the bubble tubes. “I am really over the moon with the sensory room and the kids love it as well. They’ve called it the Rainbow Room because of the coloured lights and because we were learning about colours when it was installed.” With the imperative to accommodate a wider range of pupils spanning different needs and requirements, an increasing number of schools are turning to sensory equipment and sensory rooms as an innovative way of promoting educational, developmental and emotional benefits for children with special needs.

Footnote 1. documents/EIPMethodology.pdf

Further information

Gareth Jones is the founder of Experia, a company which designs, manufactures and installs sensory equipment and environments for schools, hospitals and community centres: Sheena Hardwick is an occupational therapist and Director of Sherwood Therapy Services. She is an expert on sensory integration therapy: Pupils can experience multi-sensory stimulation in sensory rooms.










Meeting sensory needs Patrick Tonks looks at how to support children with sensory processing disorders


he group of sensory disorders known collectively as sensory processing disorders (SPD) are varied in their symptoms, and the symptoms that each individual child with a sensory disorder displays can differ in kind and intensity even among children with the same form of SPD. This is why a blanket approach to SPD is never going to work.

Types of SPD SPD is commonly broken down into three main sensory integration disorders. However, there is a key distinction to make at the outset: the difference between hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. Hypersensitivity is where someone is more sensitive to sensory input than average, and hyposensitivity is where someone is less sensitive. For children, hypersensitivity typically results in distress being caused by things that other children don’t notice, and hyposensitivity involves the child seeking more stimulation, and showing other symptoms, such as an unusually high pain threshold. Sensory discrimination disorder (SDD) SDD commonly involves children being unable to identify specific pieces of information coming from sensory stimuli. Essentially, their brains are processing information in an unclear, unstructured way, which means they struggle to interpret sensory stimuli in the same way as other children. For example, they might not know what they’re holding without looking at it, or they may struggle to work out where a particular sound is coming from. SDD makes classroom learning very difficult, SENISSUE87

as the child will struggle to process the classroom’s sensory stimuli, let alone listen to what the teacher is saying and take full part in all of the activities. Sensory modulation disorder (SMD) Children with SMD struggle to know the correct response to sensory stimuli. The distinction between hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity is very important with SMD, and the symptoms that affected children display will normally fall fairly neatly into one of those categories. A child who is hypersensitive may be distressed by noises that other children can’t hear, or may find their clothing itchy or uncomfortable. In contrast, a hyposensitive child with SMD may actively seek out sensory stimulation, invading other children’s personal space, hugging people and hitting things. Sensory-based motor disorder (SBMD) Linked to dyspraxia, SBMD relates to a range of difficulties, including difficulty with organisation, motor-skills, and balance. One particular symptom that

Occupational therapists are currently leading the way in the treatment of SPD some children with SBMD show is problems with their core strength and posture, which means that in a school setting they may struggle to sit on a chair for an extended period of time, and could start sliding off or fidgeting.

A distinct, but debated, disorder SPD is understood to be distinct from other disorders such as autism, OCD and ADHD, though it often appears in conjunction with some of these conditions and its symptoms do have some overlap. A helpful example is that children with autism will be very likely to display signs of SPD, but a child with SPD may have no other disorders at all. It is important to be aware that medical mental health professionals

SPD can involve either over or under sensitivity to sensory stimuli.



do not yet consider SPD to be a diagnosable condition. Psychiatrists are not yet convinced that identifying SPD’s symptoms in such a way is the most helpful way to approach the disorder, and they point to a lack of evidence that suggests that current treatments are producing widespread, measurable results. Though there is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence to suggest that identifying and treating SPD is beneficial to the affected child’s development, the evidence has not been gathered on a scale suitable for any conclusions to be drawn.

The impact of occupational therapy Occupational therapists are currently leading the way in the treatment of SPD. A combination of sensory gyms and exercises for the child to do both in therapy sessions and at home and school expose children to regulated sensory exposure that helps them to become used to stimulation and learn to respond to it in the right way. There is still debate over whether or not this therapy is actually making physical changes in children’s brains, in other words “rewiring” them, but individual case study evidence does suggest that occupational therapy is making a significant improvement in the lives of many children with SPD. The use of sensory gyms allows children to explore and engage with sensory stimulation in a completely safe environment. They’re able to run around, crash into things and hit things in such a way that they get used to the stimulation. One interesting point is that although there is the distinction between hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity in terms of a diagnosis, there is less of a distinction when it comes to the treatment. The sensory gym approach is still helpful, although some of the other exercises may differ depending on the needs of the child.

A holistic approach Though there isn’t much that can be said in a general sense about SPD, there is one thing that will always be true: the quality of the treatment will WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

increase with the amount of information that the therapist has as to the precise nature of the disorder of the individual child. Both parents and school staff have a big role to play in feeding back how the child responds to different situations and anything of note about their behaviour. This information will help the therapist to tailor their treatment to providing the specific help that the child needs. There also needs to be a consistency in the treatment of the child that goes beyond the couple of hours of therapy that they will have booked each week. Parents need to be committed to carrying on the exercises with their child in the home, and schools need to do what they can to ensure a uniform approach. Simple changes that schools could make, if appropriate, include providing fidget toys or similar low-level stimuli, and making sure that transitions between activities are not too abrupt, as quick change is something that many children with SPD struggle with. Providing something for the child to fidget with is a really simple way of making sure that they have continual, regulated sensory input and, if the fidget toy is squeezable, it can also be an effective stress release. The key is for schools to be sensitive to the needs of the child, and to be in dialogue with the therapist and the parents to make sure that they are up to date with the child’s treatment and the best way to engage them in school activities.

Children with SPD in mainstream schools Depending on the nature of the individual child’s SPD, it will not always be appropriate for them to be in a mainstream school, though this would essentially always mean that the SPD is in conjunction with another disorder that stops them from learning effectively in that environment. Where possible, however, it is important to make every effort to include the child in a mainstream school, as this allows them to engage with a range of role models, grow more comfortable with everyday social interactions,

Where possible, it is important to make every effort to include the child in a mainstream school and be challenged by a high level of expectation. If a child with SPD is going to succeed in a mainstream school, teachers and staff have to be aware of their needs. There needs to be a conscious effort to facilitate their learning style. In the case study evidence, occupational therapy has been shown to improve the symptoms of SPD to the extent that the child’s behaviour is no different from that of their peers, but during the process of the therapy, the school does need to work with everyone else involved to create an environment that is safe, welcoming and productive for the child. It is encouraging to know that there are people working hard in occupational therapy and other areas to better understand SPD and how to help children who are affected by it. The evidence that we have so far suggests that real, noticeable improvements can be made with a sustained effort on behalf of the child’s therapist, parents and school. If we continue to have a positive mindset towards treating SPD, we can be in a great place to give children who suffer with it the help that they need to ensure that it doesn’t hold them back.

Further information

Patrick Tonks is Creative Director at Great Bean Bags, who specialise in handmade sensory bean bags designed to provide sensory stimulation for children with SPD:









Sherwood Therapy Services aims to provide practical solutions to maximise skills, independence, confidence and personal satisfaction to enable a child/young person to reach their potential. We have particular expertise in autism, sensory integration difficulties and cerebral palsy. All of our therapists have many years of experience working in schools/colleges with children and young people with a wide range of learning needs. Two of our occupational therapists are sensory integration (SI) practitioners. We also have an assistive technology specialist in our team who has a proven track record working in schools/colleges to support communication through technology. We can provide: » Assessments » Reports (including for educational tribunals) » Hands on treatment. » Training Find out more by visiting: or calling Judith on: 07784 163085 or email:

Finding the UK’s most inspiring school gardeners The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is searching for the next generation of star horticulturists. Celebrating gardening in schools by uncovering inspirational gardeners across three categories, the RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2017 aims to showcase green-fingered pupils, passionate school gardening teams and the often unheralded teachers and parent volunteers who encourage them. Shortlisted gardeners will be given video cameras to produce a short video highlighting their love of gardening, which will be assessed by an expert panel of judges including horticulturist and television presenter Frances Tophill. The winners will receive prizes that include £500 of gardening vouchers for their school, a Gabriel Ash greenhouse or coldframe, tickets to an RHS Flower Show and the chance to work alongside a crack team of RHS experts and have a wellknown TV gardener visit their school.

to their school environment. Last year the title was won by a 15-strong group of pupils from Stafford Manor High School in Stafford (above), who took on a project to build ten raised beds.

In 2016, the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year prize was won by six-year-old Fred Wilcox who attends Trafalgar Infant School in Twickenham. Fred impressed the judges with his enthusiasm and talent for gardening, including his knowledge of bugs and mini-beasts and demonstrations of planting and taking cuttings.

RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year celebrates dedicated teachers and school volunteers who show a passion for encouraging pupils to garden, as well as linking gardening to the curriculum. Sharon McMaster, a parent volunteer from Ballycarrickmaddy Primary School in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, was the 2016 winner.

The RHS School Gardening Team of the Year award recognises an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference

Nominations can be submitted until 5pm on Friday 28 April 2017:





Personal growth Something’s blooming in our school gardens and it looks a lot like education, writes Becky Pinniger


here are different styles of learning and teaching which suit some children better than others. A classroom, however thoughtfully designed, is not the best learning environment for all children. The room may be “busy” with posters, decorations and mobiles, and noisy with staff talking, children chattering and chairs scraping. The emphasis is often on results, league table positions and fulfilling the requirements of the National Curriculum. It is asking a lot of children with hypersensitivity, sensory impairments or anxiety simply to cope with being in this kind of environment, let alone learning in it. The classroom may be a hostile environment for children with poor concentration and problems in processing information. Such an environment may also hinder children with difficulties in understanding social cues and behaviour from interacting and communicating with others. Many professionals teaching and supporting these children are increasingly realising that there needs to be alternate

Gardening enables children to connect with learning.


All aspects of the curriculum, and more besides, can be taught outside provision for those who are not able to access education within a standard school setting. Many schools are now beginning to look outside the classroom and are considering the benefits, for everyone, of outdoor activities such as cultivating a school garden.

Planting ideas All aspects of the curriculum, and more besides, can be taught outside. Anyone, of any age, can benefit from being outdoors; for children with SEN, the natural environment provides a space in which learning can be delivered in a meaningful and purposeful way. To follow are a few practical ideas for how gardening can be used

to encourage children’s learning and enhance different areas of the curriculum. Literacy: let children grow their initials in cress in a seed tray, making a written and photographic record as they go along. They could also keep the diary of a plant or written instructions for a particular gardening task. Stories can be created, for example around a mammoth pumpkin, and research on plants and how to grow them can be logged and discussed. Numeracy: pupils can investigate and measure things like how much a crop weighs, how big a soil bed will be and the volume of soil needed to fill it? How much wood will they need to build a raised bed and how many seeds should be sown? Science: biology, physics and chemistry are the basis of so many aspects of gardening. From investigating germination, seed dispersal and growing conditions, to soil pH, the water cycle and measuring rainfall, gardening can be one continuous science lesson. Humanities: where does our food come from? When were potatoes first introduced, by whom and what was the effect on our diet? Children can explore such questions, and the close links between history and geography in gardening. Creative arts: plants can be used as inspiration for all art forms, be it observational drawing, clay modelling, collage work, using fabric and dyes to make hangings, or ephemeral art created from twigs, leaves, flowers, wood or stone as demonstrated by artist Andy Goldsworthy. Wood, gourds and grasses can create areas of sound and >>




gentle chimes in the garden. Musical instruments can also be used to create bird song and other garden sounds. Food technology: cooking follows on naturally from growing fruit and vegetables, and can be used to help pupils understand nutrition and healthy eating. Design technology: designing and making plant containers, ramps for wheelbarrows and pots that will rot are just some of the problem solving activities arising from genuine need in the garden. PE: exercise and gardening go hand in hand, and activities like sowing seeds and potting on plants can be great for developing fine motor skills. PHSE: there are ample opportunities to chat in a non-threatening way about issues and problems which may arise when working alongside a child. Social skills can be encouraged using gardening, sharing produce and mentoring others. Nurturing plants gives children the opportunity to care for something other than themselves,

Nurturing plants gives children the opportunity to care for something other than themselves and to be aware that in order to thrive, plants, like people, need looking after.

Personal growth Learning is about so much more than the curriculum. It is about developing the confidence and self-esteem of children and young people so they can demonstrate their strengths and abilities. Initially, it is important to provide tasks which are within their capabilities. Enable them to challenge their energy, not by disrupting the class, but by forking over a bed or digging up potatoes. Reduce anxiety and stress by going calmly for a walk around the garden, touching, smelling and tasting plants. Stand and watch birds coming to the feeder and encourage quiet concentration. Pupils can show others what they can do by mentoring a new member to the garden group. Sharing or selling produce they have grown can also improve their self-worth and enhance communication and social skills.

to look up at the sky through a tree, you can provide them with a mirror or lay them on a rug on the grass. Use plants distinctive for their sensory value in the garden, such as scented herbs and shrubs, soft or spiked leaved plants to stimulate touch, grasses for texture and sound, and fruit and vegetables for taste. Use varied surfaces on paths and beds for touch stimulation, choose colours carefully in planting and hard landscaping, and provide a clear pathway around the garden so that those able to move independently can do so without feeling lost. A well designed garden enables all children and young people to connect with nature, the seasons and their senses. There are so many good reasons to take children, and particularly those with SEN, out of the classroom and into outdoor environments such as gardens. The benefits for children’s learning and development are manifold and the positive effects on wellbeing and selfesteem can make a huge difference for children who tend to struggle in more formal situations. What’s more, you do not need to be a gardener to get children into a garden and to help them learn and grow.

Sensory stimulation

Pupils can develop their confidence in the garden.


There are clearly some children for whom many of the activities mentioned above will be beyond their physical or cognitive ability, but being in the garden can also help these children in many ways. Those with profound needs are often provided with a sensory room to give them a relaxing or stimulating environment to be in. A garden can be created and used as a sensory area too, with the added bonus that this “room” is one that changes gently with the seasons. Taking children outside to sit under a tree at different times of the year can foster a good sense of the different seasons and weather. If they are unable

Further information

Becky Pinniger is a freelance trainer at Thrive, a charity using gardening to help change the lives of people with SEN and disabilities. She is the author of How to Garden and Grow: Gardening as Therapy for Children with SEND:



Bursary Supported Residential Outdoor Learning Are you looking for ways to help fund your school’s learning objectives? A residential stay with the Lake District Calvert Trust can make a huge difference to your pupils’ confidence and provide a catalyst for continued physical exercise. Our discretionary bursary funding can help support your residential stay with us, so why not give us a call on 017687 72255 and find out more? lake-district/bursary-funding-2 Reg Charity No. 270923


















Support, motivate and inspire young people to make a difference We are looking for individuals who are passionate about working with young people with additional needs to take on one of our paid inclusion roles. The Challenge is the UK's leading charity for building a more integrated society. Our mission is to design and deliver programmes that bring different people together to develop their confidence and skills in understanding and connecting with others. We are the largest provider of the National Citizen Service (NCS), an initiative that brings together 15 to 17 year olds from different backgrounds for an intensive three to four week summer programme. We are committed to ensuring every young person is able to fully participate in the NCS programme, which aims to build their confidence, and to inspire and challenge them to make a difference in their local community.

The Challenge ensure that the programme is accessible to all young people, regardless of any additional support needs, including those with: • a history of offending • a background in the care system • identified challenging behaviour • a range of additional support needs (including physical, learning support, and/or mental health needs). Our specialist Learning and Behaviour Mentor and Mental Health Adviser roles work alongside staff teams to add valuable experience and support knowledge to those running our seasonal programme. Our Support Worker and Personal Coach roles provide one-to-one care to young people with identified support needs. Applications for our Mental Health Adviser roles will open at the end of February. Applications for our Support Worker, Personal Coach and Learning Behaviour Mentors are now open. If you have experience supporting young people and want to inspire a young person’s NCS journey this summer, then apply now! Find out more and apply at:





Breaking point Budget cuts are causing families to miss out on essential short breaks, writes Richard Kramer


or most of us, taking a holiday or short break is an essential part of our year, it gives us the chance to get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life and recharge our batteries. But have you ever stopped to think what it’s like for people who are unable to take a regular break, or indeed a break at all? Cuts to local authority budgets have meant that many councils have had to significantly reduce expenditure on short breaks, resulting in fewer families with disabled children being able to access the short breaks services they are entitled to. The benefits of short breaks for disabled people are well documented. They provide opportunities to experience different social situations, learn new skills, grow in confidence and become more independent. It is also recognised that the supported breaks provide a vital opportunity of respite for parents and carers – a time when the individual can concentrate on their

own health and wellbeing, and spend time with other members of the family. Independent research, conducted by the University of Chester for Sense, shows that both the children and their families, benefit from short breaks, with 83 per cent of carers feeling better able to cope following a break, and 100 per cent stating the short break holiday was the most significant respite they get from caring.

Downgrading services Unfortunately, parents often report that they have struggled to find short break providers who were able to cater for children and young people with complex needs and they therefore find it difficult to access suitable respite support. Cuts to local authority budgets may create a further downward pressure on the rate that local authorities are willing to pay for vital short break services. This may mean that providers who currently cater for children and young people

Short breaks are legally required to be provided as a service for families with disabled children with complex needs, may no longer be able to provide the same quality of service; for example, they may be forced to become less personalised and offer a smaller support ratio, or may find that it is economically unviable to continue to deliver these contracts altogether. If the cuts to local authority budgets mean that services for children with complex needs become more generic, this will have a negative impact on the safety and suitability of services and the quality of the outcomes achieved. Families may decide not to access the short break support they desperately need if they feel they cannot entrust the care of their child to the short breaks service provider. In my experience, families with children and young people who have complex medical and communication needs can be reluctant to allow their children to attend a short break unless they have absolute confidence that the provider will be able to meet these needs – and to keep their child happy, healthy and safe.

Using personal budgets Short breaks are legally required to be provided as a service for families with disabled children under a number of laws. Families who have a personal budget can go some way to meeting the challenges by directly approaching Short breaks can provide a change of scenery for all concerned.






Andaleeb’s story 2016 saw the completion an 18-month programme of supported holidays for children and young people with disabilities in Birmingham. The series of short breaks, developed by Sense in partnership with Birmingham City Council, took place in a variety of locations and were timed to coincide with school holidays. During the course of the programme each young person became more independent, developed new friendships and enjoyed trying a range of new activities. These successes were measured against outcomes agreed with the young people and their families, giving them specific goals for their personal development.

providers to ask for short breaks provision which is designed around the specific needs of their child. Families also have the option of pooling their budgets with other likeminded families in order to design and purchase a short break provision of their own which better meets their needs. This approach could really benefit children and young people with more complex or individual needs as families are not constrained according to the types of short breaks their local authority has decided to offer. Ultimately however, local authorities need to recognise that providing quality short breaks for children and young people with complex needs

19 year old Andaleeb is a happy, confident and inquisitive young woman; she lives in Birmingham with her family and attends a specialist arts college. Andaleeb has a severe visual impairment and profound hearing loss, she communicates through gesture, facial expressions, vocalisations and hands-on tactile communication. She uses a wheelchair, but loves to get out of her chair to move and dance. Last year, Andaleeb went on three shorts breaks to Gloucestershire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. On each holiday, she tried new activities such as woodland walks and campfire sing-a-longs, musical sessions and a film workshop where she made her own animation. She particularly loved messy play and couldn't stop giggling when playing the water games.

For families, the most important thing is the sustainability and reliability of these services

is an essential preventative service to improve wellbeing for disabled children and families and not a crisis management model of care. For families, the most important thing is the sustainability and reliability of these services; they should not be subjected to a postcode lottery of provision. Later this year, Sense will be conducting research into short breaks, finding out more about how they benefit families and looking at what can be done to break down the barriers some families face in accessing high-quality short breaks services. This research will be used to make a series of recommendations to the Government, so the charity can work with them and others to improve short breaks provision for disabled children and their families.

Further information

Richard Kramer is Deputy CEO of Sense, a national charity supporting people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs to live more independent lives. The charity provides a range of short breaks for children, young people and adults:

In feedback Andaleeb gave with the help of her family, she said: “The short breaks made me feel independent because I spent time away from home… My feelings and moods were recognised and responded to, allowing me to do things which I like. I strummed a guitar, raced a boy in the rain and made a movie.” Andaleeb enjoys her short break.














Celebrating excellence in SLCN provision Judging has been completed for the Shine a Light Awards 2016/17, which recognise best practice in supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). The winners and highly commended finalists will be presented with their Awards at a ceremony in London on 23 March. The event will be hosted by the singer Gareth Gates, who is a qualified speech coach and has spoken publicly about his experiences of stuttering. The panel of 28 judges included former Shine a Light (SAL) Awards winners, leaders from UK communication charities and education settings, practitioners and other experts in SLCN. Judges also included SEN Magazine Editor Peter Sutcliffe and the international comedian, writer and speaker Francesca Martinez, who has cerebral palsy. Now in their fifth year, the Awards are run by Pearson in association with The Communication Trust, a coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations involved in supporting children and young people with SLCN. Judges noted that the number and quality of applications has again risen this year, with some inspiring examples of best practice being put forward. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

One of the SAL judging groups (left to right): Malcolm Reeve (Executive Director SEND and Inclusion, Academies Enterprise Trust), Francesca Martinez (comedian/writer), Joy Rutter (Local Champion), Peter Sutcliffe (SEN Magazine Editor), Jill Duffy (SVP, Pearson UK Schools), Emma Hickley (Head of Operations, The Communication Trust), Bob Reitemeier CBE (CEO, I CAN). Photo: Richard Tatham, Mission Studio.

Pearson’s UK headquarters on The Strand will host the March Awards ceremony. For more information, go to: Educationnews/shine-a-light.aspx SENISSUE87




Book reviews by Mary Mountstephen

Early Communication Skills: 3rd Edition C. Lynch and J. Kidd

Rethinking Children and Inclusive Education: Opportunities and Complexities

Speechmark £37.99 ISBN: 978-1-90930-161-0

S. Pearson

This text is an update of a popular and widely used resource that was first published over 15 years ago. The new edition is accompanied by a number of printable online resources designed to support the needs of therapists and other professionals working in this field. The book is divided into ten sections and also includes an appendix with further resources, website information and information about a training programme for parents and support staff. The sections cover information on areas such as, pre-verbal skills, language and play, early listening, auditory and visual memory and putting words together. This is a very useful book that provides many photocopiable resources to develop language skills through exploratory activities, physical play and everyday experiences. There are many ideas that schools could use at a low cost and that could contribute to intervention programmes. The book is aimed at professionals working with young children and many of the activities were originally developed by a speech and language therapist and a teacher of the deaf working together. The intention of the authors is that the 100 plus activities are based around play and can be incorporated into everyday routines. Each activity in the book is preceded by an explanation of its rationale, and includes a method for recording outcomes and progress. Although this resource book is aimed at early years professionals, the activities can provide inspiration for those working with a wider age range.

Sue Person is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Leeds, where she coordinates postgraduate courses in SEN. In this book, she draws on research and practice from different fields and countries to bring together issues regarding policies and practices internationally in relation to inclusion from the perspective of children. The book is divided into three sections, with the first part providing a short overview of the background to inclusive education, children’s participation and inclusive research. In the second, comprehensive section, the author provides an overview of current research and poses a number of questions as a framework. These include: who defines “inclusive education”? Is progress being made towards more inclusive education? Are children’s views about inclusion valued? This part of the book concludes with a brief summary, as well as an extensive guide to further reading and research sources. The third section of the book follows a similar pattern, raising questions and providing activities for the reader that are clearly aimed at postgraduate students and others working towards further qualification in the field of SEN. The text is well structured and provides clear guidance and advice for readers who are developing their own research questions, as well as raising important questions about the nature and significance of children’s perceptions and memories of their schooling and the school culture.


Bloomsbury Academic £21.99 ISBN: 978-1-4725-6836-6



Rona Tutt’s Guide to SEND and Inclusion R. Tutt Sage Publishing £23.99 ISBN: 978-1-4739-5480-9

Rona Tutt is a past President of the National Association of Head Teachers and has many years of experience as a consultant, author and researcher in the field of SEN. She sits on several influential reference boards and is a highly respected expert in this field. The book is aimed at a broad audience and opens with a useful reference guide to the many abbreviations and acronyms that are associated with special educational needs. She sets the tone of each chapter with a short quotation such as: “Difficulties should identify strategies not barriers”. Each of the seven chapters follows a similar format, opening with an overview and closing with a summary and guide to further reading. Key information is presented in highlighted boxes and there are case studies, questions for reflection and activities to encourage a reflective approach in the reader. This is a concise text, comprising 131 pages, but it is impressive in the breadth of information that is included, ranging from a description of some conditions such as foetal alcohol syndrome to pen portraits of the ways in which some schools manage special educational needs. Tutt focuses clearly on ways in which schools and settings can create a climate where all children can thrive. The many examples of good practice are amongst the main strengths of this excellent publication, which will be of value to a wide audience.


Reducing Educational Disadvantage: A Strategic Approach in the Early Years P. Tassoni Featherstone Publishing (A Bloomsbury Imprint) £19.99 ISBN: 978-1-4729-3299-0 Penny Tassoni is a leading expert on early years education. Here, she makes a case for the role of the setting in “closing the gap” and creating environments where rich experiences are underpinned by a wideranging curriculum. The book is divided into ten chapters, covering areas such as communication and language, creating an environment for early literacy, constructing an education programme and widening knowledge, skills and horizons. This is a colourful and visually appealing text that is full of colour photographs, as well as reflection points aimed at drawing the reader into a dialogue about significant issues. There is a very useful Norm Chart relating to the development of comprehension that pin-points areas of concern and provides advice and support in determining whether or not a person has particular difficulties. This would be of value to many working with young children with possible issues with learning. While the book is aimed at a general audience, there are many aspects that would be of value to practitioners working in more specialist fields, and the author has provided a range of activities to support a rich and diverse learning environment. Tassoni closes by making a case for longer-term strategic planning, particularly in terms of the importance of providing children with opportunities to develop their language skills across the curriculum.





Moving on Beverley Samways and Lynn Donovan look at how to support young people with complex needs to transition to adult services


igh quality transition is critical for the success of placements for children, young people and their families. As the complexity of a young person’s needs increases, they require significantly more support to transition successfully. However, it is easy to neglect the young people’s own processing and understanding of this critical transition, which often represents them leaving what they have come to understand as “home” and leaving behind friends, familiarity and security.

Key points for a successful transition: • start early; start the process of identifying possible services one to two years prior to the transition • practise; use small transitions, such as moving class, to establish a young person’s relationship with change • ask your local authority to consider a full assessment by your desired provider as soon as possible; this will save time and prevent panic as the deadline for transition looms • transitions should be planned by people who best know the young person; ensure that key people who have established relationships with the young person, such as teaching assistants, social care supporters and key workers, are central to the planning and implementing processes; involving families is critical as young people need to know their family understands they have moved to an adult service; future staff should also be involved to ensure consistency SENISSUE87

Transitions should be planned by people who best know the young person • think about how much notice to give a young person • help the young person to tell their own story of transition; people make sense of big changes by talking through the process with those around them; if a young person is communication impaired or non-verbal, creative ways to enable this process, such as a photobook, will provide meaning • share examples of successful transitions afterwards; this could involve young people helping friends move and visiting them in their new setting • be prepared for complications; young people need to feel safe and secure during times of change

• when you have identified the appropriate placement, share as much information as you can with them about the young person; it can be very useful to create a book to pass on, summarising all the good things a young person has learnt; the book ensures each young person’s story moves with them • mark transitions; parties are a great way to do this. Make sure it happens as near to the leaving day of the young person as possible, preferably the day before; goodbyes need to come directly before the leaving, otherwise they start to lose their meaning.

Transitioning in Whilst every transition will be unique, here are a few ideas that should help make things a little easier in the young person’s new home: • make sure that a formal and thorough assessment has taken place and you are satisfied that the placement will meet the

Young people can be encouraged to use creative ways to mark their transition.



needs of the young person; ask the provider questions about specifics, such as how much therapy will be given weekly, what level of specialist support will they guarantee as a minimum, and things like who provides clothing and pocket money if it’s residential • be completely open about the young person; the right placement will not be put off by negative behaviours but a placement may be unsuccessful if things are not clear from the outset. Bear in mind that any issues will take a little time to settle • if time and distance allows, try to have numerous visits to a new placement, both with and without the young person; the new direct support workers should aim to start building a relationship with the young person during these visits • introduce familiarity where you can; for young people with sensory impairment, think about sending the bedding from the previous night ahead to the new placement, so that the young person’s room will smell like them. Also, ensure tablet computers, switches and communication aids are passed on quickly so the young person can communicate as they are used to doing and avoid becoming frustrated.

Asher’s story Asher presents with vision impairment, a learning disability and autism. He is also non-verbal. Due to autism impairing social imagination, everyone involved in his transition to adult services knew Asher would have huge problems anticipating what would happen and his key workers needed to find out how long he could hold a future event in his mind. A few years before moving to adult services, Asher moved to a different WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

The formal preparations for this transition started many months before he finally made the move

Prior visits to the new setting can help the young person to adapt.

bungalow within the same service. This provided an opportunity to learn how Asher coped with a significant transition and therefore how he might subsequently approach his transition to adult services. Asher had already coped well with a one-week warning that he was going to visit his mother at home. He was given two weeks’ notice that he was moving to a new bungalow to see if he coped with thinking about the future over a longer period. Initially, he managed well, with a lot of support from his key workers, but towards the end of the fortnight he became eager to move. This reaction informed the time-frame that would need to be implemented to prepare him for transitioning to adult services. The formal preparations for this transition started many months before he finally made the move. Asher’s mother was helped to identify a service she thought was appropriate for Asher. Key workers also worked with adult social services to get funding for the placement, and with the new provider so that they understood Asher’s needs and experiences. Asher had his first interaction with his new service four weeks before he was due to move out. A staff member from his new placement visited and talked Asher through the story of his new house and the people living and working there using a photo album. Over the next few weeks, more staff from the placement visited Asher so

they could get to know each other. An overnight stay at the placement was also arranged for Asher, with a member of staff from his current placement attending for additional support. While he was there, he met the staff and the people living there, and took lots of photos. He used the photos to tell others about the new house, which was a very natural way for him to communicate about his transition. It is rare for a transition to a new service to go without any kind of a hitch and Asher’s case was no different. After his first preparatory visit to his new house, the news came that funding for the placement had been withdrawn. It was clear Asher was invested in the transition and had already begun to engage with the idea of his new home. Providers of his existing and his new placement worked hard with adult social services to ensure the funding was successfully secured and ready for his move day. It was important that everyone concerned managed to contain their feelings during this period of financial uncertainty so as not to upset Asher. In the end, Asher’s transition was successful and he continues to do well in his new placement.

Further information

Beverley Samways is Team Leader and Lynn Donovan Transitions Officer at RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning:





Ruskin Mill Trust’s Practical Skills Therapeutic Education method enables young people aged 7 - 25 to overcome barriers to learning, become skilled and return to their communities with greater independence. “I’ve changed big time since I started here. I feel grown-up and not nearly as anxious these days. I get on with more people, my relationships with other students have improved. I’ve learned to sort things out for myself.” Jonathan, Ruskin Mill College

“It is brilliant here because I can come out of my shell. I was treated like a kid at my previous placement but here I am treated as a person and as a grown-up. I love working with my hands and having a challenge. I feel I am a lot calmer.” Ben, Coleg Plas Dwbl

Visit our website: or call Admissions on 01453 837502 Working with people with autism for 30 years Ruskin Mill Trust is an educational charity which draws its inspiration from the insights of Rudolph Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris. Charity No: 1137167

















Spelling out failure The Government’s writing test “disadvantages” pupils with dyslexia, writes Stephanie Anderson


he charity Dyslexia Action defines dyslexia as a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the ability to learn to read and spell. It often runs in families and stems from a difficulty in processing the sounds in words. Dyslexia can also affect short-term memory. It is not the same for everyone. It can be mild or severe, and it can vary depending on other strengths, or difficulties, and on the kind of support and encouragement provided at school, home or work. People with dyslexia often have strengths in reasoning or the creative fields. It is not related to general intelligence and not the result of visual difficulties. Many people learn strategies to manage the effects of dyslexia, but it does not go away and its effects may be felt in new situations or in times of stress. People with dyslexia often, but do not always, have co-occurring difficulties such as dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder or dyscalculia.

Dyslexia in schools We have come a long way since the days when people living with dyslexia were often wrongly labelled as “slow”, “thick” or “lazy”, with school reports warning parents not to expect much from their child. Today, schools have a duty to provide SEN Support where a child or young person’s learning difficulty, including dyslexia, causes them to learn at a slower pace than their peers. Dyslexia can go unnoticed because people with dyslexia work so hard to compensate, but this extra level of effort is hard to sustain and performance may unexpectedly drop. Dyslexia can affect spoken as well as written language SENISSUE87

Difficulties with reading can be misinterpreted as lack of intelligence.

and, for many, can lead to difficulties retrieving names or facts, especially when put under time pressure. Children can display signs of dyslexia from an early age – as young as three or four years old – but it is usually not formally identified until the age of six or seven. Along with slowness in learning to read, write and spell, other signs

Dyslexia can go unnoticed because people with dyslexia work so hard to compensate of dyslexia may include: continuing to make visual errors in reading, for example saying “was” for “saw” or “bad” for “dad”; problems carrying out three instructions in sequence; spelling a word in several different ways; struggling with mental arithmetic or learning times tables; and seeming bright in some ways but unexpectedly struggling in others.

There is much that can be done to minimise the difficulties for those with dyslexia once it has been identified and, with the right support, strategies to overcome the difficulties associated with dyslexia can be learnt and the condition need not be a barrier to achievement.

Ben’s story Ben’s dyslexia was identified when he was seven years old. Growing up in a Welsh and English speaking family, Ben was speaking two languages by the age of six but although he was bright, he was unable to read or write. This affected his confidence and he became shy and withdrawn. As a consequence of this, Ben was severely bullied and was even left unconscious in the playground after being badly kicked. Once his dyslexia was identified and he received specialist teaching, however, Ben began to grow in confidence and believe in his own abilities. “Dyslexia can be a horrible thing – a problem until you get the right help”, says Ben. Once he started getting the support he needed, Ben WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


never looked back. At the age of 16 Ben managed to secure 13 GCSEs, including an A in English literature, and he is now playing rugby for Wales.

Holly’s story Holly used to find essay writing really hard. “There was nothing more frustrating than knowing I wanted to write, methodically constructing a logical plan, ticking all the relevant check points and then the final essay being unrepresentative of what I intended”, she says. “I know there are a lot of students who find university a real struggle and may just quit if they don’t believe in themselves. It’s really important to never give up and to know that support is available for their dyslexia.” Identification made all the difference for Holly, whose dyslexia was identified when she was 17 and was consequently able to get a reader, scribe and extra time, which enabled her to finish with four A levels after three years. She was then able to secure a place at university and, because of her dyslexia identification, was able to acquire Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) support, including a university mentor, two months extra time for her dissertation and a laptop with assistive technology software.

Identifying dyslexia Identifying dyslexia often means a life-changing experience for those concerned. Identifications helps children to understand why they are struggling more than their peers and can boost their confidence and selfesteem. If dyslexia is not identified early enough, it can hinder a person’s learning and have negative, long-term social consequences, not only for the individual but also for society. Having their dyslexia identified means that children and young people can get the support they need, and reasonable adjustments can be provided in exam settings. Identification also enables people to receive disability support through the WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Government’s Access to Work Scheme, including funding and mentoring.

Writing tests fall short Many teachers, parents, SEN professionals and experts are currently very worried that children with dyslexia are being unfairly disadvantaged by the Key Stage 2 English assessment currently taken by pupils at the end of primary school. Concerns exist that the assessment in Year 6 does not take into account the different factors that affect attainment for those with dyslexia, as children with the condition can be good or above average writers but their difficulties with spelling mean their overall mark may fall below the expected level. Dyslexia comes from a difficulty in dealing with the sounds of words, which make it especially hard to learn to read words using phonics (sounding out the letters in a word), and to spell. The issue affecting those with spelling difficulties has been highlighted by educationalists throughout the country who have been giving evidence to the Education Select Committee as part of an ongoing inquiry examining the impact the new primary assessment reforms are having on teaching, learning and wellbeing of children with SEN. Indeed, more than 370 written submissions have been sent to the Committee. Juliet Nickels, a teacher attending the inquiry, said that SEN pupils with spelling difficulties knew they were likely to fail before sitting the test, which was “very demotivating". She spoke of a child who had a “… very high standard of English but couldn’t spell and basically gave up on the understanding that they would not meet the spelling criterion and it was very difficult to motivate them”. She added: “That’s where you will have the highest levels of stress and impact on wellbeing as they will know that they are not going to do as well as their peers.” A Committee member raised the issue of the significant challenge secondary schools face inheriting children with SEN from primary schools


Pupils with spelling difficulties knew they were likely to fail before sitting the test with a reading age of seven or eight, but Michael Tidd, Deputy Head of Edgewood Primary School, highlighted that the new tests had made the matter worse because those children who are really struggling are now on the radar as “never going to make it”. Mr Tidd pointed out that the assessment process now undervalues those children and that more thought should be given to teaching and learning. Evidence from John Coe (National Association for Primary Education), Russell Hobby (NAHT) and Binks NeateEvans (Headteachers’ Roundtable) raised a number of key points about the new National Curriculum tests, including: • the assessments do not take into account the different factors that affect attainment • you can be outstanding in your writing composition and creativity but if spelling or handwriting are not “as expected”, you are forever barred from being an effective writer • children with additional needs do make progress but that doesn’t necessarily follow the same trajectories as other pupils • the system is not fit for purpose for children with SEN • we need to identify the primary need for each child so we can make learning most successful for them • if we can get it right for children with SEN, we can get it right for lots of other children.





Spelling over-emphasised Children sitting the new Key Stage 2 SAT tests in 2016 were the first to be assessed under the new, more challenging National Curriculum, which was introduced in 2014. Results are no longer reported as levels, but instead each pupil receives a scaled score and teacher assessment based on the standards in the new framework introduced last year. In May this year, children will again sit two papers – a paper for grammar, punctuation and vocabulary (Paper 1) and a spelling paper (Paper 2) containing 20 words. Paper 2 carries a potential 29 per cent of the mark for English while guidance states that correct spelling is also required for the award of the mark (available) for the majority of questions in Paper 1. As the SATS are assessing a different curriculum and are more challenging, the Government states it would be “… incorrect and misleading to make direct comparisons showing changes over time. For example, it is wrong to say that ‘the percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics fell from 80% in 2015 to 53% in 2016’.”

Pupils with dyslexia have “suffered” Last year the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties heard

The current system rewards technical accuracy at the expense of creativity and flair

from stakeholders that the changes were causing extreme concern among educationalists. A dyslexia organisation reportedly received an “unprecedented” amount of calls from teachers and headteachers asking how to teach the 100 “irregular” spellings in Year 5/6 to pupils with dyslexia. Parent and headteacher Justin Kelly of Tadworth Primary School is among those who have written to the Minister of State for School Standards, the Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, complaining that pupils with dyslexia are being disadvantaged. Mr Kelly said: “Children with dyslexia have suffered from the test situation because they have had the results from their spellings lumped together with their punctuation and grammar so for some children they are fine with punctuation and grammar but as soon as you combine their score with their spelling it pulls their score down beneath the ‘expected standard’.” Moreover, as James Bowen of NAHT Edge has pointed out to the Select Committee, “The current system rewards technical accuracy at the

expense of creativity and flair. Brilliant writing can be judged to be ‘below the expected standard of an 11 year old’ because of spelling alone. This risks a dyslexic child, with a real flair for creative writing, being given a lower ‘standard’ overall than a peer who spells accurately but whose writing is relatively dull and unadventurous.” There is a very real concern that children with dyslexia will become discouraged from being creative and adventurous in their writing, including their choice of vocabulary, in case they spell incorrectly. “The new KS2 writing test undermines children with dyslexia who are quite competent at writing but whose spelling is below the standard”, says Dr John Rack of Dyslexia Action. “This is a concern for children with literacy difficulties because even the greatest child writers may never be deemed to have reached the ‘expected level’ if they have spelling difficulties, and there is a risk that their motivation and self-esteem will suffer.” Despite the discontent with the new assessment and reporting arrangements, to minimise the workload and stress for teachers that can be induced by change some educationalists are hoping the new “interim framework” will remain until it can be replaced by an assessment process which is effective for all children. Meanwhile, the NAHT recently recommended to the APPG that spelling should be assessed separately to avoid having to tell a child they are “not at the expected level” as a writer because they can’t spell. The APPG will now write to Mr Gibb voicing its concerns and recommendations.

Further information Stephanie Anderson is Policy Research Officer at the charity Dyslexia Action: Schools may be encouraged to reward spelling over creativity.












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World Autism Awareness Day 2 April 2017

Autism Awareness Week 27 March to 2 April 2017

World Autism Awareness Month April 2017

This March and April, events will be taking place around the globe to mark World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Week and Month. On the following pages, three leading UK autism charities tell us what they will be doing to promote understanding of autism and the issues facing people on the autistic spectrum and their families. They will also be looking at the priorities going forward to improve research into autism and support for those affected by it.


Improving understanding of autism in schools

p.78: Â

Know your normal


Finding answers about autism

By Mark Lever, National Autistic Society

By Elizabeth Archer, Ambitious about Autism

By Jon Spiers, CEO at Autistica


Improving understanding of autism in schools By Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society


lmost everyone has heard of autism now. But a much smaller number of people understand what it actually means to be autistic, the difficulties people on the autism spectrum can face, and their strengths too. Research for our three-year Too Much Information campaign, launched in World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) last year, found that this lack of understanding is having a huge impact on autistic people. Over 70 per cent of autistic people and families said they feel socially isolated and half of them sometimes or often don’t leave their homes because they are worried about judgmental responses from the public.  This is why WAAW is so important. It's an opportunity to help the public see the autism, rather than the “tantrum” or “difficult person”. A basic understanding could transform the lives of autistic people and their families, allowing them to go to shops or the cinema, and work in the way other people take for granted.  The first year of our Too Much Information campaign focused on helping the public understand

how autistic people can become overwhelmed when out in public – for instance, by bright lights, crowds and unexpected changes around them – and “meltdown” or “shutdown”. This year, we’re turning our focus to how the public can help an autistic person who is feeling overwhelmed – the importance of giving space, time and understanding. We want our message to filter through to every sector of society, starting at school, which is why we’re encouraging school staff to get involved in World Autism Awareness Week at School.  

How we can all help More than one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, which means there are around 140,000 school-aged children in the UK. Around 70 per cent of children on the autism spectrum are in mainstream school, so most children will have an autistic classmate during their time at school. Yet, as in the rest of society, understanding of autism within schools isn't good enough. This has a big impact on students, with our 2012 survey suggesting that a shocking

A schools’ initiative aims to promote autism awareness in our classrooms.


63 per cent of children on the autism spectrum have faced bullying in school. Figures from the Department for Education suggest that autistic students are three times more likely to be excluded than children without SEN. These difficulties can have a devastating effect on a student's selfesteem and development, in some cases creating problems that last into adulthood. We had the very good news last year that, following concerted campaigning efforts, all new teachers will have autism training from 2018. This will make a big difference, but it needs to be accompanied by wider efforts to increase understanding.  Better understanding of autism across schools will help improve the experience and prospects of pupils on the autism spectrum currently in school. It could also mean the next generation will grow up accepting autistic people, which will help break down barriers to support, employment and relationships.  This year we want to reach even more people. We know teachers are busy so we've created a range of resources to help, including level-specific lesson plans and ideas for assemblies, and fun activities like encouraging students to turn up to class in their onesies or dress up as their own special interest on Onesie Wednesday.  Autism is complex and autistic people and their families don’t expect or want people to be experts. But a basic understanding at every level of society could be transformative. Information about the National Autistic Society’s Too Much Information campaign and World Autism Awareness Week at School can be found at: SENISSUE87




Know your normal By Elizabeth Archer, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Ambitious about Autism


group of young people with autism are reclaiming the word normal for World Autism Awareness Month. The myVoice volunteers, supported by national charity Ambitious about Autism, want to remind people that everyone’s normal is different and that those quirks and idiosyncrasies that everyone has are what makes them who they are. And the same applies for people with autism. These young people are sharing stories of the things they do “normally” that other people might find strange. They want people to know these behaviours aren’t anything to worry about; in fact they are things that tend to happen when they are happy and well. Here are some examples: “I like wearing patterns of colours of clothes. So coloured shirt, black trousers, then coloured socks, for instance.” “I'm also fairly obsessed with Christmas and so often if I go home for university holidays and for birthdays, my mum will have Christmas crackers, we’ll have a mini Christmas dinner, watch Christmas films and play Christmas music – even if it is June.” “I used to take empty packets of crisps and line them up from smallest to biggest then I would eat them in that order but before I ate each one I would say things like ‘you’re just too small’ or ‘you’re not quite there yet’.” Jack Welch, a myVoice volunteer, says: “The stories are humorous and hopefully people will laugh along with us and realise they do some things that other people might not find normal too. We hope people will share their unique behaviour with us using the hashtag #knowyournormal. “For example, I sometimes get quite nostalgic about years when I was a SENISSUE87

child, so watching old TV idents or news bulletins feels reassuring for some reason. I think because they're events that have already happened, it takes out the unpredictable nature of the present.”

Appreciating difference There is a more serious reason for the young people to want to reclaim the word normal as myVoice volunteer Fern Adams explains: “One of the problems with people always looking at people with autism differently is they forget we have shared experiences. So we can get stressed out or unwell too. People spend so much time looking at what makes us different to everyone else, they might miss the signs we’re becoming unwell. And because we get told so often that our unique behaviours are a problem, we might not recognise in ourselves when something is going wrong. “It’s already hard enough for people with autism to seek help for their wellbeing, we often struggle to be taken seriously, and if we are telling

people we don’t feel great then dealing with their emotions about that can be difficult too.” And that’s why it’s crucial that we, and the people in our lives, know what our normal looks like. Knowing how we normally behave when we are well, accepting that and communicating it as our normal is really important.  We want young people with autism to have the tools to define and voice their own experiences, allowing them to recognise when and where to get support, be taken seriously and as a result gain independence, autonomy and better health.  We’ve created a tool to help with this. Everyone can use it – whether they are autistic or not to help them explain their normal. We hope it’ll dispel the idea that we should all be the same, showcase the wide variety of ways we behave when we’re healthy, and make it easier to get help when we’re not. For more information, visit:

People with autism will be sharing their experiences of what they do “normally”.



Finding answers about autism By Jon Spiers, CEO at Autistica


or many families affected by autism, the future is uncertain. The lack of understanding about autism means that many parents worry about what will happen to their child when they are no longer around. The autism research charity Autistica believes that research can provide hope for a more certain future. We carry out research throughout the lifespan – from speeding up diagnosis right through to adulthood and old age. It is important that education, healthcare and support services are more evidence-based, so limited resources are used effectively. We want understanding gained from research to give people with autism the best possible chance in life. Autism research is one of the most poorly funded areas of research, despite autism affecting one per cent of the population. Costs associated with autism equal around £32 billion per year in the UK, mostly due to care costs, yet just £4 million is spent on research to ensure this care is as good as it can be. It is clear that more needs to be done to understand the needs of the autistic population. Recent scientific advances in our understanding of the brain mean that there is potential for huge leaps in

Trials are underway to attempt to detect autism earlier in life.


our understanding of autism over the coming years. Last year, Autistica led a partnership of autism charities to ask thousands of families and professionals for their priorities for autism research. Here are some of the projects we have launched so far to answer some of these questions. A better start in life: supporting families and children early is proven to improve outcomes. Innovative trials at Bangor and Plymouth universities are testing early family therapies, which have the potential to lead to a nationwide NHS early intervention service. A new study at the University of Bedford is looking at reducing the impact of stigma on families. We are also launching a project to address communication and language issues in autism. A happier life: mental health is the autism community’s top priority and a series of mental health projects at King’s College London, Cambridge and Warwick are underway to develop better autism-specific diagnostic tools and treatments. A longer, healthier life: there is an urgent need to understand more about autism in adulthood, the poor health that so many experience and unacceptably high early mortality rates. The world’s first Global Summits on epilepsy in autism and suicide in autism are now being organised to catalyse new national and international research. The Centre for Autism and Ageing at Newcastle University is developing a new adult diagnostic tool and testing ways to enhance the quality of life of autistic adults. But there are so many questions and more research is needed to answer them.

Families are urgently needed for autism research.

This World Autism Awareness Month, Autistica are asking the public to raise awareness of the need for more research. You can help our Finding Answers about Autism campaign by following Autistica on Twitter or Facebook and joining in the conversation. One of the major things holding back autism research is the lack of people participating in studies. Volunteering for research as a family or an individual may mean as little as answering a survey, or can be as transformational as taking part in an early intervention study. You can register at: We have also launched a fun way to support autism research this year with the MegaMinds Quiz. You can download a free kit with everything you need to host your own fundraising event at home, at school or in your local pub. For further information and links to the initiatives discussed above, visit: SENISSUE87


THE AUTISM SHOW Advertisement feature

The Autism Show 2017 – online ticket office is now open The Autism Show, the national event for autism (including Asperger syndrome), has opened its online ticket office early to enable visitors to pre-book their tickets for June and July this year. The show runs in London, Birmingham and Manchester, attracting over 10,000 parents, carers, professionals and individuals with autism. Demand for tickets has been rising every year and visitors can now secure their tickets early and start planning their visit. Working closely with partners The National Autistic Society, Research Autism and Mike Ayres Design, The Autism Show offers an unsurpassed level of specialist advice, information, products and services.

As well as choosing from over 90 hours of theatre and clinic sessions, visitors can enjoy a number of interactive special features at the show: The Autism Uncut Cinema will enable visitors to watch all the winning entries from the NAS's Autism Uncut Film and Media Awards - aspiring filmmakers, film students and professional filmmakers portraying the real and uncensored world of autism.

At the event, you can hear the UK's leading autism professionals discussing the latest news and research in The Autism Matters Theatre in partnership with Research Autism. This year’s speakers include: Professor. Francesca Happé, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Kings College, London; Lesley Cox, National Lead for SEND at OFSTED; and Jonathan Green, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Manchester.

LEGO® Therapy has become increasingly popular over recent years and has been shown to benefit autistic children and adults by improving language development, social interaction and fine motor skills. This year there will be LEGO® Therapy Workshops where you can learn more about the theory behind the therapy and then take part in a session.

The insights from professionals will be complemented by personal experiences of autism from: entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley; writer Kathy Lette and her son the actor Julian Lette, who is on the spectrum; and Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.

The EHCP Help Centre provides parents, carers and professionals with information on the new Education, Health and Care Plan process and how to navigate it successfully - whether going through the process for the first time, transferring from a Statement or approaching the 16+ and 18+ transitions.

Also, Cheryl Gillan MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, will be talking about parliamentary initiatives on autism.

The JumpingClay Workshops, present visitors with a sensory hands-on learning tool which can be used in the classroom, extended school environment and home. Try it out for yourself and take home your own individual masterpiece!

The Hub Theatre 1 is where visitors can listen to the experiences of adults on the autism spectrum and, new for this year, their family members too. Topics covered include transitions in education, finding meaningful employment, sex and relationships, how autism presents in girls, autism into old age and navigating the welfare system. The Hub Theatre 2 provides a huge variety of practical tips and strategies to help care for, support and teach autistic children and adults. Hear professionals cover subjects ranging from choosing the right interventions to diet, and autism in the mainstream classroom to the transition into adult services. At The Autism Show, parents and carers wishing to speak to specialist professionals can book a one-to-one clinic, covering subjects such as, managing challenging behaviour, legal advice on SEN, welfare rights, employment, speech and language, and occupational therapy.


The Sensory Room, created by Mike Ayres and OM Interactive, is an ever-popular star feature in which visitors can discover the latest in innovative sensory design and technology. Autism Meets is an area within the show where autistic visitors can find and develop friendships with other autistic people. Speakers from The Hub Theatre 1 can also be found here if you have any questions following their presentations. Visitors can also explore the exhibition to find the UK’s leading suppliers of learning tools, visual aids, sensory equipment, furniture, advice and support services, residential care, specialist schools and much more.

Book your tickets now and save 20 per cent at: ExCeL London: 16 to 17 June 2017 NEC Birmingham: 23 to 24 June 2017 EventCity Manchester: 30 June to 1 July 2017



AUTISM Advertisement feature

Eleanor’s story – progression, happiness and achievement Eleanor is a 16-year-old girl with autism, learning disabilities and very complex needs. This includes behaviours that can challenge her, other young people, her support staff and the environment. She spent time living in Italy before moving over to the UK as a young child and lived in various parts of the UK with her adoptive family. Although, at times, it was very difficult and challenging for everyone, she remained in the family home until she was 14 years old, going on 15. Her home life completely broke down at this point with her parents no longer being able to safely manage her challenging behaviour. She was placed in a local respite care home full time. Initially, in the care home, staff found things very difficult to deal with. Eleanor displayed a very high level of aggressive behaviour towards her care staff and her environment, causing extreme levels of damage. Although, support staff at the home did make some progress with Eleanor, she was not receiving any positive kind of education and wasn’t attending school. Staff were using multiple physical interventions daily to support her when in crisis. She also only had a very limited amount of activities. As the care home knew they could not meet her full needs, another placement was sought and she arrived at Fullerton House in April 2016. Building relationships Once living at Fullerton, it quickly became apparent Eleanor could not tolerate numerous things in her living environment so a host of modifications were made until her home was right for her to feel comfortable living in. The behaviour that may challenge being displayed by Eleanor was approached by building positive relationships with her so she would begin to feel safe and contented. This was initially an extremely challenging period; support staff were being hit, having their hair pulled and things thrown at them on a daily basis with Eleanor having upwards of 20 incidents a week. After around three months, things had begun to stabilise a little and the number of incidents she was having decreased. Working closely with the support staff that knew her well and the wider MDT, positive changes around her staffing were implemented and have proven to be extremely successful. Eleanor is far more settled, much happier, doing much more and incidents are down significantly. She can go for weeks without having an incident now and even when she does have one, they are nowhere near the severity they were.

in lessons. Once we had assessed her needs, we adapted her curriculum to enable Eleanor to experience success. Initial learning sessions focussed on supporting her to attend school and complete a series of confidence building tasks. Over time this has been developed into her spending more time in class to enjoy a greater range of sensory opportunities such as swimming, baking and trampolining. She has continued to work hard each day and is progressing in her confidence, applying a range of maths skills which we are confident will enable her to leave school with nationally recognised entry level qualifications. A new life Life has completely changed for Eleanor. She engages in a wide range of activities now, including shopping for groceries and clothing, enjoying trips to the seaside, attending parties and celebration and interacting with her peers. Considering she only arrived at Fullerton just over six months ago, she has made remarkable progress. Her parents are over the moon with Eleanor’s achievements, as is everyone at Fullerton. Fullerton House School is a specialist residential school, offering education and care for 52 weeks per year, for people aged eight to19. The people we support have complex needs including behaviour that may challenge and a learning disability, often in association with autism. For more information about us, visit our website at:

Eleanor had experienced a lengthy absence from formal education when she first joined Fullerton which led to her being highly resistant to attending school and participating with others WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK





Five-Day TEACCH Courses

Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Team 15 – 19 May 2017 06 – 10 November 2017

(with specific focus on children and young people with typical cognitive functioning or moderate learning difficulties)

05 – 09 March 2018 14 – 18 May 2018 Motivating and inspirational course combining knowledge and theory with direct experience working with students with autism. Led by trainers from Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina and TEACCH Certified, Advanced Consultants and Practitioners from the Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Team. Suitable for SEN professionals, teachers and practitioners Cost: £1250 Per Person Where: Child Development Centre, Kempston, Bedfordshire. To book your place or more information, please contact: Carole Eales on 01908 555615 or email:









Think strategically! The education sector can learn a lot from business about staffing its schools, writes Baljinder Kuller


ecent news that the number of graduates training to be teachers has fallen for the fourth year running, with a 2,000 shortfall in the number of people starting initial teacher training courses in 2016, is the latest in a long line of indicators that the current teacher recruitment crisis only looks set to worsen. However, leaders can help to take back control of their staffing strategies by mirroring big business in terms of talent management. While the Government wrestles with strategies to broaden routes into teaching and encourages professionals who have left the profession to return, school leaders can help safeguard against external factors through strategic workforce planning (SWP). Broadly speaking, SWP strategy starts with an assessment of internal capability and serves as a mechanism to identify critical roles and future demand. Plans can then be put in place to ensure that existing talent is deployed in the most effective way within an organisation and that skills are pipelined for the coming months and years. With SEN provisions often requiring more specialist experience, pooling this expert talent and sharing it over a number of special needs provisions can ensure time is shared efficiently. Creating a workforce plan requires little more than effectively utilising existing HR and pupil data. For example, by mapping when senior teachers are likely to retire, plans can be put in place to pass on their skills before they disappear with them. Future Leaders Trust, Teaching Leaders and TeachFirst, recently found that England could be facing a shortage of almost 20,000 senior teachers by 2022 if SENISSUE87

action is not taken to pipeline talent. By retaining skills in-house, leaders stand the best chance of bridging this leadership gap.

Building relationships While forecasting and leadership planning are a crucial part of SWP, immediate staffing needs cannot be ignored. Today, agencies place the majority of teachers in post and while the services that recruitment consultancies offer are hugely valuable, leaders should consider re-evaluating their suppliers or renegotiating rates to ensure that they are getting the best candidates as well as the best value. Retention of existing talent is also vital. Aside from formal processes, heads who want to avoid losing great teachers should take time to communicate. Many teachers cite their reason for moving on as having reached their “shelf life” in their current role; open communication allows leaders to pre-empt if a teacher would prefer to work with another year group or to take on more hours. Heads should also encourage staff to take part in regular CPD to keep them inspired and engaged. Pipelining talent for the future can also help safeguard against the predicted future shortfall in senior talent. Leaders should communicate the spirit of their school to potential recruits by

By retaining skills inhouse, leaders stand the best chance of bridging this leadership gap sharing sporting achievements and exam results online and through local media. Promoting school values and successes also has the benefit of engaging with other stakeholders and increases the chances of potential staff members contacting you directly. It’s no secret that teaching is largely a lifestyle vocation and many professionals have long-term aspirations to work with specific schools or in certain location. Place a careers page on your website which doesn’t direct visitors directly to an agency. Even if you have no immediate vacancies, invite those interested in working with you to pass on their details and keep in touch by sharing newsletters. When a position does come up, you’ll have a bank of candidates ready and waiting. Of course, the education sector does not generally benefit from the heathy HR budgets and access to talent that many private sector organisations enjoy, but that doesn’t mean leaders can’t take lessons from business to build efficient and productive teams with the right mix of skills and experience.

Further information

Schools need to plan for future staffing needs.

Baljinder Kuller is Managing Director of recruitment consultants The Supply Register:



Veredus Interim Management-paying special attention to your needs Veredus has an outstanding reputation in recruiting interim senior leaders to the SEN sector. The types of roles that our interim managers undertake include: • Covering vacant senior roles while permanent recruitment is undertaken • Managing change programmes and projects including new models of governance • Providing coaching and mentoring to improve the performance of existing teams, particularly in settings that are in Ofsted category We are also keen to expand our network of interim managers due to an increased demand for certain skills, particularly in the areas of behaviour and autism. If you would like to join our market-leading network of interim managers, or to hear more about how our interim managers can help improve, stabilise or transform your school, college or provision then please contact Paul Horgan (South) or Laura Bingham (North) quoting SEN03: e: t: 020 7932 4233 m: 07833 481 211


e: t: 03300 249 786 m: 07725 617 695




CPD, events and training Keep up to date with the latest developments in special educational needs, with SEN Magazine's essential guide to the best courses, workshops, conferences and exhibitions

We take every care when compiling the information on the following pages. However, details may change, and we recommend that you contact the event organisers before you make arrangements to attend. SENISSUE87


CPD, TRAINING AND EVENTS Rebound Therapy training courses “” – the official UK body and international consultancy for Rebound Therapy. Responsible for the development and delivery of the genuine accredited and approved staff training courses. With founder Eddy Anderson MCSP Cert Ed.

01342 870543

SEND Teaching School The SEND Teaching School is a hub of information, training and/or support to help families, schools, community organisations and businesses to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN and disabilities.

01372 814 714


Autism Education Trust Post-16 Training

Bespoke Inset training days

South East

A national, face-to-face threetier training programme for all professionals working in post-16 settings for young people above 16 years.

020 8330 3009 ext. 237

Inset training catered to your school’s specific needs and delivered by highly experienced trainers.

020 8330 3009 ext. 237

Speech and Language Sciences MSc University College London

We take every care when compiling the information on these pages. However, details may change, and we recommend that you contact the event organisers for up-todate information before you make arrangements to attend.

A clinical training programme as well as a challenging academic degree, the core subject is speech and language pathology and therapy. Students consider approaches to the investigation and management of clients with communication and swallowing problems.


Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties MEd/ Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate University of Birmingham

This part-time, campus-based, blended learning programme has been developed for a range of professionals/practitioners who work with children and adults with learning difficulties in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/PMLD) such as teachers and lecturers, nurses, therapists, psychologists and support staff.

MA in Education (Early Years) Centre for Research in Early Childhood

Accredited by Birmingham City University and recognised for their practice based approach, the modules are intended for practitioner researchers looking for a framework and academic recognition of their current research and work. Popular modules include: Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood, Early Years Music, Leadership and Management and others

Autism and Learning – PG Certificate/Diploma/MEd

Postgraduate Diploma in Dyslexia and Literacy

The programme aims to give practitioners an in depth understanding of the condition and the working of the autistic mind. It will equip participants with a range of practical approaches and interventions that will enable children and young people on the spectrum to access learning, participate actively, experience success, gain independence, and fulfil their potential.

This course is for those who have already completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Dyslexia/SpLD or equivalent at Level 7. The Postgraduate Diploma has a focus on assessment and leads to 120 credits with Middlesex University. The Diploma provides eligibility for an Assessment Practising Certificate (SASC accredited) as well as AMBDA (BDA) with Module C2.

University of Aberdeen




CPD, TRAINING AND EVENTS Network Autism: free online discussion group on SEN reforms Take part in the new policy group dedicated to SEN reforms, read the latest research and collaborate with others.

MA Leading Inclusive Education Middlesex University

The MA Leading Inclusive Education provides career development for teachers working in inclusive education, allowing them to explore the best ways of leading and managing children and teachers in an inclusive situation. The course provides an insight into the skills needed to deal with various conditions affecting children's learning, and allows teachers to gain a deeper knowledge of how good, effective leadership can impact children's learning and development.

Study Specific Learning Difficulties with Middlesex University Study MA Inclusive Education online and part-time at Middlesex University. Learn best practice teaching children with Specific Learning Difficulties - see the impact on your own work and advance your teaching career.

Various dates

Woodland Trainer OneDay Course and Advanced Woodland Trainer Various locations

Offers teachers and teaching assistants the opportunity to gain theoretical and practical understanding in woodland camp craft to take back to their own specific working environment to benefit their students.

Various dates

Visual Interventions and Social Stories A visual and auditory social and behavioural strategy for teaching and support staff working with learners with autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD and related conditions. See website for more details:


Various dates

Helping learners Who Are Able/Gifted/Talented A day-course of strategies for teaching and support staff to engage, teach and include those who may be able/gifted/talented. See website for more details:

Various dates

Dyslexia Course This course focuses on the understanding that despite the fact that learners with dyslexia may find the acquisition of literacy skills challenging, they can still achieve their potential with the implementation of appropriate interventions. See website for more details:

Various dates

Bespoke Inset Training Days Inset training catered to your organisation’s specific needs. Highly successful, personalised SEN training to a range of environments. See website for more details:

Various dates

ADHD Course Designed for educators and/ or support staff to successfully include learners with ADHD/ ADD and related conditions and provide effective strategies for inclusion of learners with ADHD. See website for more details:

March 2017 Various March

Autism and sport: one day theory and practical combined 11 March: Edinburgh 22 March: Wrexham

This course combines an introduction to autism with a practical focus on how you can help autistic children and adults take part in sport and physical activities. events-by-date

Various March

Understanding and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with eating challenges 16 March: Bristol 30 March: London

Written and presented by professionals from Birmingham Food Refusal Services, this one-day course will look at understanding the difficulties and potential practical and evidence based strategies events-by-date

6 to 8 March


This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the learning styles of individuals with ASD. £450 professional/parent.

020 8330 3009 ext. 237

7 and 8 March

Professional conference Harrogate

Hear the latest information from experts in the field and learn from case studies illustrating best practice. With four different seminar streams to choose from, delegates can select the seminars which are most relevant to their work.

10 March

PECS in Your Curriculum Glasgow

A practical workshop which will help you maximise teaching time for learners with autism and complex communication difficulties. Develop effective learning environments, which emphasise functional communication and learn how to use reinforcers effectively in the classroom.

01273 609 555

13 and 14 March

PECS Level 2 Training Workshop Brighton

Learn practical ideas for advanced lessons in expanding language and communication within functional activities, plus tools for identifying communication opportunities across the day. Successfully problem solve PECS implementation and take it to the next level.

01273 609 555

14 March

Morphology for Teachers: An Introduction London

A day designed to introduce teachers and other professional working with SpLD learners at all ages and stages to the morphological structure of English words. It aims to give the background knowledge and understanding of how English words work beyond phonics. Members £155/non-members £185.

14 March

Understanding autism and introduction to the SPELL framework London

This one-day introductory course builds your knowledge of autism and how to support autistic children and adults. SPELL is a framework that enables you to develop better practice and use evidence-based strategies to support autistic children and adults. events-by-date

15 March

Learning to wee and poo in the right place - Continence problems in children on the autism spectrum Birmingham

Written and presented by the authors of Toilet Training and the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Professionals, this one-day course is aimed at those working with children on the autism spectrum who are experiencing difficulties with any aspect of toileting across a variety of settings.

11 March

Out of Control Children: Why, What to Do and How to Be Conference 10.00 - 17.00 Cost: £174. The Centre for Child Mental Health

020 7354 2913



21 March

Kidz to Adultz Middle Ricoh Arena, Coventry

This is one of the largest, free UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young adults with disabilities and special needs, their families and the professionals who work with them. Over 120 exhibitors are expected, offering advice and information on funding, mobility, seating, beds, communication, access, education, toys, transport, style, sensory, sports and leisure and more. Running alongside the event are free seminars for parents and professionals. Topics should include: moving and handling, sleep issues, continence, direct payments, parental experiences, transition, legal advice and more.

Identification and Support of Students with Mathematical Learning Difficulties, Dyscalculia and Dyslexic Students Who Have Difficulties with Maths London

The course will present: An overview of definitions of dyscalculia and a detailed explanation of a test protocol and the individual tests involved and some basic strategies and ideas arising from assessments which is effective in supporting a student with maths difficulties. Members £155/non-members £185.

22 March

SoSAFE! Social and Sexual Safety/Safeguarding

16 to 18 March

The Education Show NEC, Birmingham

With a specialist SEN seminar programme alongside hours of free CPD covering all aspects of education, the Education Show offers the fastest route to cost effective professional development. The peer-led programme highlights effective pedagogies and the latest research.


The SoSAFE! Programme is a visual teaching tool which enables learners to develop their abilities in managing, and communicating about, their relationships. The program covers all degrees of interaction, from a student’s expectations of strangers, to the intricacies of an intimate relationship.

Rainbow Court Training Centre, based in Gillingham Kent, has been providing high quality affordable educational training for 9 years with courses covering Behaviour Management, Mental Health and Emotional issues, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Bereavement, Divorce, Selective Mutism, Sensory Processing Disorders and much more. In addition to a full programme of events in Gillingham, we are now looking for external venues across the South East to host our training events. If you or your place of work would be interested in hearing more about this collaborative venture, please contact, Liz Lee, Centre Manager, Rainbow Court Training Centre who would be delighted to come and talk to you about this in more detail. Email: Office: 01634 385680 or Mobile: 07503 658286.

01273 609555

21 March

Understanding stress and anxiety in autism and their impact on behaviour London

This one-day course looks at how you can help autistic children and adults to reduce stress and anxiety, how to understand their behaviour, and how to support them during difficult times. events-by-date

22 and 23 March

Socialeyes Facilitator Training Birmingham

Socialeyes is an innovative approach to learning social skills and developing social understanding for people on the autism spectrum. events-by-date

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2017 Patoss Annual Conference and AGM

5 April

Standard Tests: AAB & KTEA™-3



Keynote Speech: Growth Mindset and SEND: Dr Amelia Roberts (Age Range: Primary, Secondary and FE).

An opportunity for specialist teachers and assessors to explore two up-to-date standardised measures of attainment and evaluate their role in the diagnostic assessment and access arrangements process.

Members £155/non-members £185.

27 and 28 March

PECS Level 1 Training Workshop London

PECS is an approach that teaches functional communication skills using pictures. This workshop will give you all the practical details you need to start implementing PECS immediately, including: demonstrations, videos and opportunities to practice.

01273 609 555

Members £155/non-members £185.

8 April

Enabling Children to Speak About Feelings Through Emotional Literacy Games and Exercises Training 10.00 - 17.00 Cost: £150 The Centre for Child Mental Health

020 7354 2913

28 to 30 March

Naidex, NEC Birmingham

Setting no limit on potential, Naidex is Europe’s most far reaching trade, professional and consumer show dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with disabilities. An unmissable free to attend threeday event.

29 and 30 March

PECS Level 1 Training Workshop Manchester

PECS is an approach that teaches functional communication skills using pictures. This workshop will give you all the practical details you need to start implementing PECS immediately, including: demonstrations, videos and opportunities to practice.

01273 609 555

April 2017 1 April

Life Story Work With Troubled Children And Teenagers Conference with world-leading expert Richard Rose. 10.00 - 16.30 Cost: £174. The Centre for Child Mental Health

020 7354 2913


22 April

Treating Trauma - Key Interventions For Emotional And Physiological Regulation (Children, Teenagers And Adults) Conference 10.00 - 17.00 Cost: £174 The Centre for Child Mental Health

020 7354 2913

26 April

Confidence in your Tests, Statistics and Interpretation London

An opportunity for assessors/ specialist teachers to gain confidence in the more subtle and complex areas of diagnostic assessment, refresh their knowledge of statistical concepts in psychometric testing and enhance their skills in the analysis of data and interpretation of standard score profiles. Members £155/non-members £185.

27 and 28 April

Rebound Therapy for SEN, Open College Network Level 2 Birmingham

Accredited course for all staff, parents, professionals interested in using a trampoline for Rebound Therapy.

26 to 28 April

GESS Mexico – We Love Education

World Trade Center, Mexico City, Pepsi Center

The 3rd edition of GESS Mexico from GESS portfolio of world class education exhibitions and conferences. GESS is free of charge to attend, giving you the opportunity to experience innovative exhibits and demonstrations from industry experts on the very latest education technologies and solutions.

23 May

Autism and mental health conference 2017 Reading

This conference will give you the tools and strategies you need to identify and provide targeted support for children and adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have mental health difficulties. events-by-date

June 2017

May 2017 4 May

Intensive Interaction London

Covers the communication needs of people who have not achieved use nor perhaps understanding of speech and may be “difficult to reach” in various ways.

Various June LEGO®-based therapy 5 June: Bristol 6 June: Manchester 8 June: York 9 June: Birmingham

One-day course focusing on the practical application of LEGO®based therapy in schools and community settings. The course is ideally suited to those wishing to set up LEGO®-based therapy groups.

6 May

NAPLIC Conference and AGM Aston University, Birmingham

The impact of language on behaviour, mental health and wellbeing in children and young people. Keynotes: Pamela Snow and Judy Clegg. Practitioner presentations. Exhibition. Early bird booking rates. Members from £95. Non-members welcome.

01273 381009

15 May

Child Trauma: Connectedness, Emotional Regulation and the Polyvagal Theory Masterclass With Dr Stephen Porges. 10.00 - 16.00 Cost: £174 The Centre for Child Mental Health

020 7354 2913

18 May

An Introduction to Sherborne Developmental Movement – Certificate Level 1 Derby

The Sherborne Developmental approach to physical education and relationship play for children with SEN.

5 to 9 June 2017


An inspirational intensive course combining active learning sessions with direct supervised experience working with children with autism. £1195 professional/parent.

020 8330 3009 ext. 237

8 June

Kidz to Adultz South Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading

This is one of the largest, free UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young adults with disabilities and special needs, their families and the professionals who work with them. Over 120 exhibitors are expected, offering advice and information on funding, mobility, seating, beds, communication, access, education, toys, transport, style, sensory, sports and leisure and more. Running alongside the event are free seminars for parents and professionals. Topics will include issues such as: moving and handling, sleep issues, continence, direct payments, parental experiences, transition, legal advice and more.





2017 CIEC Teaching and Leadership Conference

Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children

23 to 28 July 2017, Cambridge

“Teaching, Leading and Learning: Making a Difference”

3 DAY TRAINING COURSE June 26-28 2017 £391 January TBA 2018 £395

Proposed course topics: • effective leadership and management • skills for headship and senior management • special needs and inclusion/supporting the student with literacy and concentration difficulties in the classroom • managing yourself and others • English: phonics, oracy, reading and writing • curriculum planning for assessment and improved learning • generic skills for key stages • methodology in numeracy • the foundation years • the thinking classroom • the collaborative team • staff Coaching to raise achievements • crisis management • maximising the use of ICT in the classroom • working with parents • personalised learning • e-safety for you, your students and staff • STEM education – from pre-school to sixth form.

Course led by: Prof Gary Mesibov Div. TEACCH

This induction training is most appropriate for educators, therapist, administrators, paraprofessionals & families AM/PM refreshments & light lunch

199-203 Blandford Ave Kettering Northants NN16 9AT Tel/Fax: 01536 523274 Email: Book on-line:

Talk to Your Baby Conference 2017: Early Language in a Connected World Internationally renowned early years experts Professor Elena Lieven and Professor Kathy Sylva OBE will headline the Talk to Your Baby Conference on Monday 13 March 2017 in London. The National Literacy Trust’s conference, now in its thirteenth year, will address the key influence of the environment on children’s language development, looking in particular at how we can better engage parents, practitioners and communities to address delayed language.   Bringing this topic to life will be keynote speaker Professor Elena Lieven, Director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development at the University of Manchester, who will share her vast experience of the influence of children's communicative environments on early language. Professor Kathy Sylva OBE, Honorary Research Fellow and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford, will also headline the conference, discussing the significance of parent-child interaction.   Jean Gross CBE, the former government Communication Champion for children, will be chairing the conference. “I am delighted to be chairing the National Literacy Trust’s annual Talk to Your Baby conference for a second year running”, WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

says Jean Gross. “For me it is a great chance to hear from brilliant speakers and discuss the key role communication and language plays in improving the life chances of our children with early years professionals from across the country.” Additional speakers include:  • Chris Cuthbert, Director of Development for the Big Lottery Fund’s A Better Start programme • Laura Barbour, Interim Head of Programmes at the Sutton Trust • Alison Potter, National Literacy Trust Hub Manager, Middlesbrough • Linda McQueen, senior member of the Sefton Early Years Team.   Delegates will get the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions and Q&A sessions with the conference’s speakers and professionals from across the early years sector.   Tickets are available at: SENISSUE87




KIDS EXPO 2017 Poly World Trade Centre, Gungzhou, China

2017 China Preschool Education Conference and 8th International Kid’s Education Expo.

13 June

Autism and technology Manchester

This conference will discuss the specific types of technology available and how it can help facilitate the lives of autistic individuals and the professionals who support them. conferences/technology.aspx

14 June

The Education ICT Conference

Victoria Park Plaza, London

The show will bring together 270+ senior decision makers from higher and further education, the department for Education, Ofqual, the Education Funding Agency and Ofcom. Speakers this year will include, Stephen Archer (Commercial Team Leader, Department for Education), Rob Whitehead (Lead for Technology Products and Services, Crown Commercial Service) and John Jackson (CEO, London Grid for Learning).

16 and 17 June

The Autism Show in association with The National Autistic Society ExCeL London

The national event for autism (including Asperger syndrome), attracts over 10,000 parents, carers, and professionals. Hear from the UK's leading autism professionals; discover 100s of products and services; listen to the experiences of adults on the spectrum; learn new strategies and approaches for home and the classroom and access oneto-one specialist advice. All content is CPD accredited. Book tickets now and save 20 per cent at:

22 June

Technology for Inclusion - Physical meets digital: technology-enabled real world learning

14 September

Kidz to Adultz Scotland

Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh

Focuses on how computers, mobile devices and assistive technologies can help overcome barriers to learning, and promote independence and inclusion.

This is one of the largest, FREE UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young adults (up to 25 years) with disabilities and additional needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them. Visitors can boost their CPD portfolio and gain credits by attending one or more of the free CPD and topical seminars taking place alongside the exhibition. Seminars are presentations covering a wide range of issues and interests to families and carers of children with disabilities and additional needs, and the professionals who work with them.

23 and 24 June

The Autism Show

in association with The National Autistic Society NEC Birmingham

The national event for autism (including Asperger syndrome), attracts over 10,000 parents, carers, and professionals. Hear from the UK's leading autism professionals; discover 100s of products and services; listen to the experiences of adults on the spectrum; learn new strategies and approaches for home and the classroom and access one-to-one specialist advice. All content is CPD accredited. Book tickets now and save 20 per cent at:

28 and 29 June

Health Plus Care Excel, London

Health+Care is the largest national integrated care conference, enabling health and social care professionals to forge new partnerships and productive ways of working in challenging times. With four shows in one, it is the only event to bring NHS, care providers, public health and local authorities together representing the largest annual gathering of commissioners, providers and their suppliers in one place.

30 June and 1 July

The Autism Show

in association with The National Autistic Society EventCity Manchester

The national event for autism (including Asperger syndrome), attracts over 10,000 parents, carers, and professionals. Hear from the UK's leading autism professionals; discover 100s of products and services; listen to the experiences of adults on the spectrum; learn new strategies and approaches for home and the classroom and access oneto-one specialist advice. All content is CPD accredited.

6 and 7 October

TES Special Needs Show


Book tickets now and save 20 per cent at:


September 2017

27 and 28 September

DNEX 2017 Newcastle Racecourse

DNEX will be held in partnership with Moving and Handling People North and there will be a number of new developments for 2017. The show will include digital technology, aids and adaptations for independent living and accessible leisure facilities. This free exhibition provides information, advice and equipment for disabled people, older adults, carers and health and social care professionals on a range of disabilityrelated issues. The Disabled Living Foundation’s Moving and Handling People North conference, the two-day CPDaccredited even for healthcare professionals, will be colocated with DNEX.

October 2017 4 and 5 October

Business Design Centre, London

This free-to-attend event offers a wealth of resources, ideas, advice and CPD training to provide teachers, SENCOs, support staff and parents with the tools and skills to help all pupils achieve. Whether you are responsible for one or many pupils with special educational needs, the show will offer you a great deal of support and a great many resources.

November 2017 2 November

A Creative Day with EQUALS Manchester

Music Creativity with Carrie Lennard and ‘Interactive Storytelling’ with Keith Park.

14 November

Massage in the Special School York

A hands-on and active course covering the benefits of massage, the nervous system, hormones, touch issues and much more.

16 November

EventCity, Manchester Kidz to Adultz North

180+ exhibitors offering advice and information on funding, mobility, seating, beds, communication. access, education, accessible vehicles, legal matters, style, sensory issues and sports activities. One of the largest free UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young adults up to 25 years with disabilities and additional needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them.

Independent Living Scotland SEC, Glasgow

Independent Living Scotland is open to everyone and entry is free. It offers an opportunity to discover the new products and services that are available to the Scottish market today. Over 100 exhibitors will be showcasing their most innovative and inspirational products to aid independence.

We take every care when compiling the information on these pages. However, details may change, and we recommend that you contact the event organisers for up-to-date information before you make arrangements to attend.



Introduction & Application to the



June 29-30 2017 - £260 January TBA 2018 £263 Using the SCERTS curriculum & practice principles to design programming for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Course led by: Emily Rubin MS, CCC-SLP Director

This training is appropriate for: educators, therapists, administrators, paraprofessionals & families AM/PM refreshments & light lunch

199-203 Blandford Ave Kettering Northants NN16 9AT Tel/Fax: 01536 523274 Email: Book on-line:

Red Nose Day returns Red Nose Day 2017 will take place on Friday 24 March and will culminate in a night of comedy and entertainment broadcast live on BBC TV. Organisers say it’s all about your power to make the world a better place, simply by having a laugh. Comic Relief will spend the money raised to change lives, both in the UK and across Africa. Schools are once again being encouraged to take part in Red Nose Day. Different fundraising packs, full of ideas and resources, are available for nursery settings, primary schools, secondary schools and youth groups. This year’s Red Noses feature a range of characters, including Dr Nose, Sneezecake, The Snorcerer, Snuffles, DJ Boogie, Norse Nose, Snootankhamun, Sniffer and Nose-it-all. They are available to find in surprise bags from Sainsbury’s, Oxfam and the Red Nose Day website. They cost £1 (with at least 60p going to Comic Relief). There are also a small number of silver Frankinoses, which unlock exclusive content in the Comic Adventure digital comic strip, found on the website and voiced by a host of celebrities. The “Red Nose Convoy” has already set off across East Africa, accompanied by six celebrities, to deliver essential supplies that will help Comic Relief funded projects to continue to deliver life-saving health work. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Hugh Dennis, David Baddiel, Reggie Yates, Michaela Coel, Russell Kane and Katy Brand are leading a convoy from Kenya to Uganda as they show Comic Relief’s supporters how the money they have raised is helping to transform lives. Travelling in pairs, the celebrities will be acting as outriders, guiding the convoy as it makes its way along one of the most challenging roads in Africa to ensure the supplies reach their destinations. For more information and to download a fundraising pack, visit: SENISSUE87




SEN resources directory Information, advice and support for all things SEN... ADHD

Information and support forum for those affected by ADD/ADHD:

Bullying Bullying UK

Epilepsy Action

Support and advice on bullying:

Advice and information on epilepsy:

Childline National Attention Deficit Disorder Advice and support for those suffering from bullying: Information and Support Service (ADDISS) Resources and information for ADHD:

Cerebral palsy


Support for children and young people with epilepsy plus training for professionals:


Help, advice and support for children and adults affected by cerebral palsy:

Down syndrome

Support for people with Asperger’s syndrome:

Young Epilepsy

Scope UK

Asperger Foundation UK (ASF)


Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) Information, support and training for those affected by Down syndrome:

The FASD Trust

The National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome UK Support for those affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorder:

General SEN

Autism Awareness

The Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation UK (DSRF)

British Institute for Learning Disabilities

Charity focussing on medical research into Down syndrome:

Charity for learning disabilities:


Cerebra UK

Forum for sharing experience/advice for those affected by ASD:

Charity raising funds for medical research into autism:


Supporting children, young people, families and professionals when a child has acquired a brain injury:

Help and information for those affected by ASD:

Charity focused on researching interventions in autism:

Bullying Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA)

Charity dedicated to reforming attitudes and policy towards bullying:

Child Brain Injury Trust

National Autistic Society (NAS)

Research Autism

Charity for children with brain related conditions:

British Dyslexia Association (BDA) Information and support for people affected by dyslexia:

Dyslexia Action

Department for Education (DfE) The UK Government’s education department:

Charity providing services to those affected by dyslexia:


Dyspraxia Dyspraxia Foundation UK

Learning disabilities charity:

National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN)

UK bullying prevention charity:

Dyspraxia advice and support:

Organisation for the education, training, advancement of those with SEN:

Beat Bullying




General SEN

Literacy National Literacy Trust (NLT) (App) Everything You Wanted to Know About SEN – all in one place! Download this app free to your Smartphone or Tablet for iOS (on Apple App store) or Android (on Google Play store): senfyi-app.html

Literacy charity for adults and children:


Information and support for PMLD:

Rebound Therapy

Hearing impairment

Deafness Research UK Charity promoting medical research into hearing impairment:

National Deaf Children’s Society Charity to help deaf children and young people:

National organisation for home educators:

Visual impairment National Blind Children’s Society Support and services for parents and carers of blind children:

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

Douglas Silas Solicitors

Douglas Silas Solicitors are the legal experts specialising exclusively in SEN, helping parents successfully throughout the SEN process:

Independent Parental Special Education Advice

Legal advice and support for parents:

For the latest news, articles, resources, cpd and events listings, visit:


Information and support relating to spina bifida and hydrocephalus:



SEN law

Spina bifida

The Home Education Network UK

Information and advice on Tourette’s:

Home education

Tourette's Action

The UK governing body and international Support and advice to those affected by consultancy for Rebound Therapy: visual impairment:

Action on Hearing Loss Hearing impairment charity:

Tourette’s syndrome

ACE Centre

Advice on communication aids:


Help and advice on SLCN:

Learning outside the classroom Council for Learning Outside the classroom (CLOtC)

Communication Matters

Support for people with little or no clear speech:

Awarding body for the LOtC quality badge:

The Communication Trust


Raising awareness of SLCN:




eazine for special SthuebUK'sslecadrinib g mag

to year (6 issues) educational needs £48.50 a+44 1200 409800) tions please call: (UK only. For international subscrip

Get every issue of SEN Magazine delivered direct to your home or work place. Simply fill in this form and send it to the address below. Contact details for delivery: Home q Work q Organisation ________________________________________________________________________________________ Title ___________ First name _____________________________ Surname ____________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Town _____________________________________________ County __________________________________________ Postcode _________________________________ Tel. (inc. STD)______________________________________________ Email _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Which of the following categories best describe your involvement with special educational needs? SENCO Headteacher Teacher TA/classroom assistant Student

q q q q q

Parent q Carer q Therapist q Educational psychologist q Other (please specify) _______________________

How to pay By cheque: make your cheque for £48.50 payable to SEN Magazine Ltd and post with this form to the address below. Bank or card payment: If you would like to pay by BACS or debit/credit card, please contact the office on: 01200 409800 or email:

Invoice required q Invoicing details (If different from above) Contact name ______________________________________________________________________________________ Organisation ________________________________________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Town _________________________________________ County ______________________________________________ Postcode ______________________________ Tel. (inc. STD) _______________________________________________ Order number _________________________________ Signature ____________________________________________ Accounts/contact email _______________________________________________________________________________ If you do not want to receive our monthly newsletter, tick here q Subscriptions, SEN Magazine Ltd, Chapel House, 5 Shawbridge Street, Clitheroe BB7 1LY Tel: 01200 409800 Email: SENISSUE87




SEN Magazine - SEN87 - Mar/Apr 2017  

The UK’s leading special educational needs magazine and is essential reading for parents/carers and SEN professionals. Keep up to date, read...

SEN Magazine - SEN87 - Mar/Apr 2017  

The UK’s leading special educational needs magazine and is essential reading for parents/carers and SEN professionals. Keep up to date, read...