If you are interested in any of the approaches we use in school and would like to find out more, please follow the below links to sites that can give you more information/resources.
Makaton is the sign and symbol system we use in school. You can buy resources from the Makaton Charity but they are also very good at providing freebies!
If you are using Makaton at home, and would like to revise the signs to make sure they are accurate, this USB stick is a really good resource and has all of the Core Vocabulary signs as video clips.
Alternatively, head to https://wetalkmakaton.org/ to the Sign of the Week to learn new vocabulary. All the old videos are available on Youtube too for free :-)
Intensive Interaction (Dave Hewett) - this approach is used throughout school with great success. Dave has lots of information on YouTube where you can see examples of Intensive Interaction in practice and learn the principles behind it. Another name to search for would be Phoebe Caldwell for more examples and information.
Sensory stories (Joanna Grace) http://www.thesensoryprojects.co.uk/
Jo is fantastic and has a great presence on social media if you want more information. Some examples of the sensory stories we have done in school are in the downloads below, but you can easily write or adapt your own. Just try to make sure there is an experience for each of the 7 senses - vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste, movement and balance.
GriffinOT has a brilliant YouTube channel to explain about sensory processing - some of the terms people use and what they mean - and how to use some of the equipment. She is also currently running a fine motor skills daily activity for children and young people to have a go at.
And why not have a go at Dough Disco - a fun way to meet sensory needs with playdough and also develop hand skills. There's a How to Guide in the downloads.
Twinkl are offering many free resources to support home learning if you want some more paper-based resources. We use Twinkl at school and there are plenty of resources suitable for our students. Check out the sensory learning resources as well as more traditional 'school' type resources.
For those students learning to read and practising phonics, Teach Your Monster To Read is a lovely game-based way of practising sounds, letters and word reading skills. The computer version is free but if you want it as an app on your device, it does have a small cost.
If you want to hear how to say the sounds in phonics, head over to Focus on Phonics where you can click on a letter to hear the sound (you'll need Flash Player).
And if you want to have a go at teaching phonics, Phonics International has a really useful programme and unit 1 is free to download :-)
PhonicsPlay are offering a free subscription during March - enter the username: 'march20' and the password: 'home' to play phonics games https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/
You might also like http://www.phonicsplaycomics.co.uk/comics.html which have simple comics using phonics skills that you can read online or download and print out.
And Carter's Yard Phonics are offering free access to their augmented reality phonics resource until summer 2020. You can download and print the images, then watch them come to life on your phone or tablet. Instructions are on the site :-)
You could also check out Tampa Reads where you can get free phonic worksheets to help your young person hear the different sounds in the words (this is called 'segmenting') and put them back together again ('blending').
If your student likes reading, check out this virtual library
https://childtasticbooks.wordpress.com/ where a school librarian from Oxford is posting book-related activities every day.
Oxford Owl also have a lovely selection of free ebooks which are designed for reading on a tablet or computer screen. You need to register but there is no cost.
And lovemybooks have lots of activities linked with books. You could look up a favourite book and extend learning by doing an activity, or investigate something completely new based on a liked theme :-)
Crickweb have a range of free educational games to play. Check out the Early Years section first, then look into the higher years if needed. You will need to download Flash Player to play the games.
For early writers, have a look at Clicker 8 - it is designed to support independent writing and you can use a word grid and/or add pictures to help. While schools are closed, access is free - you just need to register. There is a computer and a tablet version so you can choose which is right for you.
You could also have a look at this alphabet writing game where you can see how to make the letters correctly for handwriting as well as hearing their name and sounds.
Hungry Little Minds has some lovely ideas for interacting with your student - ignore the ages, just go for whatever feels fun and right for your child.
Or head over to Boromi to sign up for daily play ideas you can do at home.
The Imagination Tree is a good website for lots of fun play and learning activities with minimal resources.
And the Royal Institution has lots of lovely science experiments to do with children and young people.
If you like animals, why not have a look at one or more of the numerous live webcam feeds that many zoos and wildlife parks are offering across the world. This one's from Edinburgh Zoo and has pandas, penguins, tigers and koalas to check out.
For outdoor types, Muddy Puddle Teacher is offering a free month's subscription to the site - it's well worth trying it out and seeing if there are ideas that work for your student. There's also a YouTube channel if you'd rather watch the ideas. There are plenty more outdoor activities to try in the downloads too!
If you like arts and crafts, Red Ted Art is a great website with loads of ideas from really easy art and craft ideas to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) experiments and makes.
And if you enjoy music, you might like Shabang! We run themed sessions in school but our young people of all ages seem to love the bright and quirky songs which can have sensory activities easily added to them. They are a charity, so the music isn't free but you can get all 4 CDs at their website very reasonably. Our Shabang sessions are included in the downloads if you decide to have a go :-)
Go Noodle is a great website/YouTube channel with lots of dance, music, yoga and mindfulness resources for young people of all ages. There will be something there for everyone whatever their age or interests and it's a great way to help our young people keep moving and active.
Other good yoga resources can be found through "Happy Tent Tales" on CBeebies
and "Cosmic Kids Yoga" on YouTube. There is also a PowerPoint of the programme that was devised for our students by one of our parents who is a yoga teacher - it's in the downloads at the end :-)
Keeping active is really important for all of us. Here's a link to an indoor workout by the Paralympic Association which is suitable for everyone.
Alternatively, for the more physically active, Joe Wicks is running 30 min PE workouts suitable to do in your living room every morning at 9am. They are streamed live, but also posted on YouTube so you can catch up at a different time if you want to. (There's also 5 minute and 8 minute workouts if, like me, you're not a PE specialist!)
PECS (Pyramid Education) - there are a series of videos to show the different stages of PECS if you want to know more about where your student is at and where they're aiming for next :-)
TacPac - we use TacPac in school, but you have to buy the resources from their website - it is a year's subscription for each set (we mostly use set 1)
Story Massage - information on the massage strokes and some story massage nursery rhymes are included in the downloads below, but again, you can easily make up your own for particular routines, e.g. bedtime. We usually do story massage on the student's back, but you could also use the upper arm or another area of the body that they feel comfortable with - not everyone is comfortable enough to be touched from behind.
And a few of the liked "choose time" YouTube Channels that have been tried and tested over the years! These are all available on YouTube and seem to have qualities that appeal to our students :-)