SEN Strategies and Interventions
We are a resourced nursery funded for 12 children across the school.
We believe in equal opportunities for all children and supporting the children to learn in a way that is suitable for them.
We believe in giving the children the best support and learning opportunities as we possibly can.
We have many strategies and interventions that we use with our children with additional needs and provide a differentiated individual curriculum for all of our children.
Some of the Strategies and interventions we use are:
A quiet and distraction free work station
We provide the children with a quiet and distraction free environment where they are able to focus. This is where the children have the opportunity to work with an adult on a 1:1 basis on aspects of their learning and development. The adult will follow planning that has been taken from the child’s individual education plan and complete the tasks that have been planned.
An object or visual individual schedule
To support the children’s understanding of the daily routine, the process of transition and what is happening or due to happen we set up individual schedules. The schedules are individualised to the children’s level of understanding and at first they will be supported to use the schedule until they are able to use it independently. When a child is using a schedule effectively at nursery we can arrange for a schedule to be made for home.
Shoe box tasks
ShoeboxTasks® provide the opportunity for children and adults who need a high degree of structure to experience success. Developed by Ron Larsen during his time as a therapist with the North Carolina TEACCH program, the Tasks have proven to be an educational breakthrough for those students who are beginning their educational journey while developing greater independence. The Tasks also provide an example of the kind of visual organization necessary for teachers/caregivers who are serving this population.
The TEACCH approach tries to respond to the needs of people with additional needs using the best available approaches and methods known so far, for educating and teaching autonomy. It is not a single method and can be used alongside other approaches.
Making Choices/Taking turns
Research studies have shown that providing choices has many positive benefits for children, their families and others with whom they interact. Studies have demonstrated that it promotes positive behaviour, prevents problem behaviour, increases motivation, supports the development of communication, social skills, academic improvements and independence. Allowing for choice-making gives children opportunities for socially appropriate power and control. Children who have opportunities to make choices are more likely to engage in appropriate activities and have more positive interactions with peers and adults and materials than do children who are not provided with choice-making opportunities.
Turn taking is a vital factor in building positive relationships and social skills. Young children are very egocentric and it can take a while for them to understand and share with their friends. Turn taking can be applied to many areas of development and does not only cover the sharing of toys. These skills begin to form at a very early age. Babies will babble in response to an adults voice, showing early communication skills with the baby learning to take turns in a conversation. As language begins to mature, children are able to express their feelings and emotions, with many going through the “me” and “mine” phase.
Objects of reference and Visuals
Visuals and objects of reference are great, and can be used in so many ways. They are especially useful with children who have severe learning difficulties, special needs, autism or communication delay. Visuals and objects are often easier to understand for some children than spoken words.
In their simplest form, objects can be used to give individuals an idea of what is about to happen e.g. give someone a spoon and they know its time for lunch, or a towel, before going swimming. However, this form of communication can also be used in many more complex ways and the individual can communicate, make choices, and learn language. If we can develop the use of textures, objects and symbols, we can improve organisational skills, sequencing, develop language concepts, and communication.
Visuals and pictures can work for many individuals with communication difficulties. Visual strategies can be used in many ways to enhance understanding and expression. They are particularly useful for non-verbal individuals, individuals with learning difficulties and/or those with autism. Some individuals are “visual learners” and respond better to visual input than auditory input. Visuals can be used in isolation to represent single words or actions and make choices, they can be used in stories, timetables or schedules to help with routine, and they can be used as an additional cue to the spoken word to help support understanding.
Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.
With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols. Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech.
PECS is a unique alternative/augmentative communication system developed in the USA in 1985 by Andy Bondy, PhD, and Lori Frost, MS, CCC-SLP. PECS was first implemented with pre-school students diagnosed with autism at the Delaware Autism Program. Since then, PECS has successfully been implemented worldwide with thousands of learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.
The PECS teaching protocol is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behavior, and broad spectrum applied behaviour analysis. Specific prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication are used throughout the protocol. The protocol also includes systematic error correction procedures to promote learning if an error occurs. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency.
Children that struggle with understanding symbols and pictures may be able to develop the skills of communication through exchanging an object. The object needs to be motivating and can be something used to complete a task. The object will be put into a see through tub, the lid will be closed tightly by the adult. When the child picks up the tub they will be encouraged to pass it to the adult, who will encourage them to tap it to initiate ‘open’. The adult will respond to this initiation by opening the tub and giving the child the object. Nursery will work on extending this distance between them and the child.
Language Steps targets language comprehension and expression. The programme includes language activities targeting one to four word level.
The approach is focused on key word understanding and expression and does not explicitly target vocabulary, basic concepts or grammar.
The approach has been developed to mirror Derbyshire Language Scheme targets, and therefore the aim of the approach is to develop the amount of information carrying words a child says and/or understands.
Tacpac is a sensory communication resource using music and touch. The giver intentionally communicates verbally and non-verbally through the mediums of touch and music, taking the receiver on a physical, emotional and sensory journey through 6 activities in a safe and secure relationship during which communication takes place on many different levels.
Communication books are generally developed through use and need. Sometimes unfamiliar vocabulary is deliberately included. The communication partner will then be able to model the use of this vocabulary, and the AAC speaker will learn the symbols by seeing them used in practice. Communication books usually develop to include pages of vocabulary related to: about me; people; feelings; clothes; food; drink; animals; colours; numbers; letters; hobbies and interests (whether train spotting or Star Wars); curriculum-related vocabulary. Later, more topics are added such as weather, places, activities, or adjectives – and more words/symbols are added to each topic.
The programme develops pupils’ joint attention, so we can plant ideas to communicate about something that we both have shared and understood.
Attention skills provide opportunities for communication, it works on eye contact, gesture, facial expression, proximity, body language and shared experiences.
Attention skills builds on the strengths of children who have excellent visual skills, a memory for motivating activities and lots of energy.
Bag Books are aimed at those who may not benefit from mainstream books. They can be enjoyed without being understood as they are told interactively through voice and emotion rather than words and pictures.
They are also hugely beneficial to those with visual and hearing impairments.
Attention Story Bucket
The attention story bucket follows the same guidelines as the attention bucket, the main difference is that it includes a story as a focus.
The activities are based around the book of choice.
The Identiplay intervention helps children on the autistic spectrum, and those with specific communication disorders, learn to play. Through the use of play scripts the approach promotes the development of social skills, understanding, imagination and exploration. By learning these skills the young person can enjoy reciprocal play with an adult or peer.
Sensory Play and Exploration
Sensory play is, quite simply, any activity that stimulates the senses. This includes the five main senses of touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound, as well as the two not-as-frequently-mentioned senses: vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioceptive (sense of where each body part is in relation to the rest).
We work hard on developing the tolerance of sensory exploration with our children with additional needs as they can sometimes be reluctant to touch things of different textures.