Education Professionals

As a teacher you no longer require to simply know your own subject, you also have to know how to support children with a range of abilities and a variety of conditions. The following activity suggestions, advice and downloadable resources may help

Click on the sections below for quick access to each area or scroll down the page to see all the content.

Helping You To Help Your Pupil

Being a child or a young person isn't always easy.  They are constantly having to learn new skills such as looking after themselves independently, learning new subjects in school, and navigating the world of social interaction; all of which can bring their own challenges.

We hope you will find something to help you and your pupil on their journey to adulthood within these pages.

Occupational Therapy Programmes for Schools

Handwriting Activities

This section includes topics such as holding a pencil, drawing, handwriting, posture and positioning to enhance handwriting, strategies to support those who are left hand dominant and alternative tools that can be used.

Pencil grip is only one part of handwriting. In nursery and school a variety of ways of pencil holds will be seen. Most children develop a pencil hold that is comfortable for them. The type of pencil grip your child uses is only a problem if it is making writing difficult to read, is not at a reasonable speed or makes their hand sore or tired.

For more detailed information click here

Scissor Activities

Developing scissor skills is an important milestone in a child’s life.  By learning to use scissors they practice using a tripod grasp (using thumb, index and middle finger together) which then develops into the ideal grasp for writing.  It is important that the child uses the appropriate scissors for their dominant hand (left or right handed scissors).

Theraputty

The Theraputty Programme is an occupational therapy intervention for children who have difficulties with fine motor skills or limited hand strength.  The following are some examples of important functional tasks that the children may have difficulties with:
  • Writing legibly
  • Drawing, painting, and colouring in pictures
  • Managing scissors
  • Tying shoes
  • Zipping and unzipping
  • Buttoning and unbuttoning
  • Screwing and unscrewing
  • Playing games that require precise hand and finger control  (i.e. playing cards or board games)
  • Holding and using cutlery properly and effectively
Theraputty is a strong, non-toxic, latex free putty-like material that leaves no residue and won’t fragment, separate stain or stick to skin.  There are a range of strengths which come in different colours, each having a different degree of resistance when handled.  The putty can be stretched, pinched, kneaded, squeezed and separated.
The programme gives a list of activity suggestions which may help develop fine motor skills using the theraputty.  Ideally the programme should be carried out at least 3 times a week for at least 10 minutes.

Please note that you need to use the theraputty on a clean smooth surface, preferably a table.  When the theraputty is excessively stretched it can break down into fine strands, therefore care should be taken with these as they ‘stick’ to carpets and clothing.

For more information

In Hand Manipulation Programme

In-hand manipulation is the term used to describe the ability to move a small object around within a single hand.  It is an essential component of the development of fine motor control.  Good fine motor control enables you to carry out such tasks as holding pencils, fastening small buttons, using cutlery and being able to tie your shoelaces.

The In-Hand Manipulation Programme is a good way of helping in-hand manipulation to develop.  The programme contains exercises which should be carried out by both hands in turn, but always start with the dominant or preferred (writing) hand.  These skills develop in a particular order and the exercises suggested are listed in sequence. 

It is recommended that this programme be carried out a minimum of 3 times a week in 10 minute slots for a 3 week period.

For more information

Fine Motor Activity Kit

The following activities have been recommended as they allow individuals to practice the essential fine motor skills required to carry out day-to-day functional tasks, both at home and in school.
If you are looking for ideas and activities to help develop the fine motor skills of your pupils why don't you create a fine motor activity kit that can be used either individually or with small groups of children.
The items for this kit can be easily sourced around the class and from your home.  Keep all the items in a small plastic box and they will always be ready to hand.

Click here to download

FIZZY Programme

The FIZZY and Clever Hands programme has been developed by therapists in Kent Community NHS Trust. 

It has three stages
  • Beginners (level 1)
  • Intermediate (level 2)
  • Advanced (level 3)
The FIZZY and Clever Hands Programmes are recommended by occupational therapy as programmes for schools to use to assist in the development of motor skills for those children who find this challenging. 
It can be helpful to use this programme when you are concerned about a child's motor skills.  It can help you to establish whether or not a referral to occupational therapy is required or can be used while a child is waiting to be seen by occupational therapy.

Clever Hands Leaflets

Clever Hands works on developing fine motor skills required for participation in every day school activities.

 

 

Speech, Language and Communication

Stammering Information - The Young School Aged Child

Many young children speak dysfluently at times, especially when they are under some pressure to speak. There is no exact point at which normal dysfluency becomes stammering though there are features which enable us to decide between normal non-fluency and stammering.

 

Normal non-fluencies are usually relaxed repetitions, often of whole words either at the beginning of a phrase or when a child is thinking of how to finish a sentence.

 

There is a greater risk of stammering developing when the child often gets stuck on words, prolonging or repeating part of the words or putting excess effort into finishing them. It is also a concern when the child seems aware of and upset by their dysfluencies. However, one of the things that make it so difficult to say with certainty whether or not a child stutters is that there can be so much variation from day to day and in differing situations.

Stammering Information - The Older School Aged Child

By now the child who stammers may have been stammering for some time. Some children may stammer with obvious physical tension and some may have mild, infrequent non-fluencies such as repetitions and sound prolongations.

 

A particular concern for teachers is the child’s reactions to his stammering and the reactions of others in the classroom. How should the child be expected to participate in class? The answer to this question depends on the individual child. At one end of the scale is the child who may be quite unconcerned and happy to participate like any other child; at the other end there is the child who will avoid speaking at all costs. Most are somewhere in between. If the child is attending Speech & Language Therapy then the therapist will let you know about particular strategies. It is important for the parents and teachers involved to have a discussion with the child to find ways to encourage them to participate without putting too much pressure on them. Sometimes participation requirements become part of the child’s IEP/ASP.

GIMMEE 5! Top Tips for a Communication Inclusive School

 

Stammering Guidance within Education Services Leaflet

 

Downloadable Leaflet

Speech Language and Communication Needs: Supporting Vocabulary

Young people with speech, language and communication needs, often struggle with learning and retaining new vocabulary in secondary schools. They need regular revision and repetition of new concepts.

Supporting Students with Speech Language and Communication Needs in the Secondary School

Most classroom teaching at secondary school level, is delivered orally. Teachers talk through new material, give verbal instructions, students ask questions out loud to clarify points or find new information. In addition feedback or revision of previous learning is most often given verbally. If a young person has compromised speech, language or communication they may struggle to understand and learn appropriately within a predominantly oral learning environment.

 

The good news is that simple adaptations to the curriculum, learning environment and the language used by teachers in the classroom can make a big difference.

 

Six approaches have been shown to work effectively in reducing the impact of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). Many of these will be familiar to you however the best results will be achieved if all are used consistently across curricular areas.

Useful Websites for Information

Afasic

    www.afasic.org.uk

  • This website seeks to raise awareness and create better services and provision for children and young people with speech and language difficulties.
  • It contains helpful information on speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).
  • There is also a helpline for parents: 0300 666 9410.

 

 

Ambitious about Autism

        www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

  • This is a national charity website which provides practical information and resources. It was designed for adults with autism, parents and professionals.
  • You can read other people’s stories and there’s an online community called ‘Talk about Autism’.

 

 

Autism Toolbox

    www.autismtoolbox.co.uk

  • This is a resource for Scottish schools which includes real life case studies and gives practical examples.
  • There is a guide to interventions and support for people on the autism spectrum.

 

 

Baby Buddy

    www.nhs.uk/apps-library/baby-buddy/

  • This can be accessed through a computer or using an app
  • It guides you through your pregnancy journey and the first six months following your baby’s birth.
  • It is designed to help you look after your baby's mental and physical health, as well as your own, and give your baby the best start in life. It includes helpful advice, tips and videos including come focus on communication.

 

 

British Stammering Association

    www.stamma.org

  • This website provides information, which is downloadable, for people who stammer, parents and professionals working with people who stammer.
  • The website aims to bring people who stammer together and there’s a link to their Facebook page and a list of upcoming events.
  • There is also a helpline available: 0808 802 0002.

 

 

Communication Trust

      www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk

  • It’s a coalition of non-profit organisations aiming to support everyone working with children with speech, language and communication needs.
  • Has a separate resource sections for professionals and parents/carers.
  • Has a short speech, language and communication CPD online course.

 

 

Makaton

    www.makaton.org

  • This will provide you with an overview of Makaton and how this supports children with communication difficulties.
  • Makaton uses speech with signs and symbols to help people communicate. It can be used to develop communication, language and literacy skills.
  • You could also follow Makaton on social media for weekly sign videos.

 

 

National Autistic Society

    www.autism.org.uk

 

  • Aims to provide individuals with autism and their families with help, support, and services they can access.
  • There is an online community and resources and advice for teachers.
  • The website provides sensory advice on topics such as eating and drinking.

 

 

Play Talk Read – Parent Club

    www.parentclub.scot/articles/play-talk-read

  • The Read Talk Play campaign encourages parents to read, talk and play to their young children. It provides practical advice for parents to support their child’s learning and development.

 

 

SMiRA

    www.selectivemutism.org.uk/

  • This website provides information advice and resources on how you can support children who are selectively mute.

 

 

Talk To Your Baby

    www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk_to_your_baby

  • A campaign run by the National Literacy Trust which encourages parents and to talk more to children from birth to three.
  • Have a look at this website for a range of useful resources, including advice plus lots of songs and rhymes!

 

 

Talking Point

    www.talkingpoint.org.uk

  • This website provides information for parents/ carers and practitioners to help children develop their speech, language and communication skills.
  • It has a progress checker to act as a guide and there are factsheets available for download.

 

 

Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC)

Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. It supports them and their parent(s) to work in partnership with the services that can help them.

The Scottish Government states that the key elements of the GIRFEC approach are:

  • A description of how people working with children, young people and parents understand and consider a child or young person’s wellbeing.
  • Children, young people and families can expect services to work together to provide support and help.
  • Children and young people who need extra support which is not generally available will have a Child’s Plan.

Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

The Children and Young People's Commissioner is a person. Their job is to help you understand your rights and to make sure those rights are respected. Their goal is for children and young people in Scotland to be as safe and happy as possible.