There are a number of resources available which look at building and developing the emotional skills of primary-aged children, but few are specifically designed for children with SEN. Therefore, teachers often need to consider if and how a resource can be adapted in order for a child with SEN to gain value from it.
- Remember to emphasise a child’s areas of strength and ability when completing activities. This will help build confidence and increase the likelihood of their learning experience being successful.
- Consider how you will use techniques such as role modelling, chaining tasks and providing opportunities for repeated practice when looking to teach new behaviours.
- Look at the language used in the resource. Is it at an appropriate level for the child to understand? Can more appropriate or relevant language be used? Consider the communication supports and strategies the child currently needs and how these can be utilised to help get the most out of the resource.
- Does the environment or setting need to be modified to help facilitate the child’s learning? Consider the roles other people can play, including those outside of the school setting (such as key family members), in building upon any new skills introduced in school to help strengthen learning across settings.
- Do any physical tasks need to be modified to complete the proposed activities? Consider the child’s gross and fine motor skills and whether they currently need physical support aids to facilitate their learning.
- Consider the learning style of the child and how their skills and strengths impact upon this. Do they learn better when things are presented to them visually, orally, through tactile experience, or a combination of all senses? Try and provide new information in the style(s) which best meets their needs and consolidate the child’s learning through a range of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic cues.
- Build in frequent positive progress and feedback points within a task and regularly check on the child’s understanding of the activity.
- Remember to provide praise and encouragement which explains what the child has done well and how they have improved or developed.
- Adapt tasks by breaking them down into small, manageable chunks, keeping steps short, concise and unambiguous.
- If appropriate, try to develop co-operation and learning amongst children by sharing tasks and responsibilities within a small group of pupils who are helped to work together towards a shared goal or outcome.
An effective training method to help illustrate a desirable way to behave or respond within a given situation
Breaking down tasks into individual steps which are separately mastered and then linked together to help a child complete the task as a whole
This article is taken from How to enhance the mental health and emotional wellbeing of primary children with SEN.
Dr Melanie Forster is a dual-qualified teacher and consultant clinical psychologist. She has extensive experience working with Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and as a local authority SEN consultant. She frequently delivers training to specialist practitioners regarding a diverse range of SEN needs. How to enhance the mental health and emotional wellbeing of primary children with SEN is published by LDA and is available here.