Fun things to do at home on wet days with your children

Fed up of planting your child in front of a screen when it’s wet? Looking for something fun to do at home on wet days with your children? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started.

1 – Build a sensory den

If you’re looking for something fun to do, why not build a sensory den together?

We all have tables, chairs, books and blankets that can be turned into a den, and most children love a bit of den building! Once you have a completed shell, why not add some of the following ideas and turn it into a sensory den?

  • Disco/coloured lights or lamps
  • Water/lava lamp
  • Music – either playing songs on a device, or why not introduce some instruments to your den?
  • Soft fabrics/craft materials – you could even dangle some from the ceiling!
  • Soft toys
  • Any other sensory toys you might have – think of things that turn, click etc. (fidget spinner anybody?!)

Once you have built your den, you could make a sign to go above the door – there’s another art and craft activity you can add on! Then, if you’re allowed in, why not sit and read some books together? Or simply explore the items in the den together and make up a story about them all. Or you could sing along to some nursery rhymes/favourite songs.

2 – Teddy bear tea party

Are you dreading another monotonous lunch/tea time where you’ll spend half of your time trying to get your child to sit nicely and eat their food? Why not have a teddy bear tea party instead? By getting your child involved in making the things for the tea party, not only are you doing another activity together, but they are also more likely to want to eat what

Your teddy bear tea party could even include play food!

they’ve made, too! Win, win! Here are some ideas for simple things you can make together:

  • Finger sandwiches – you’d better find out teddy’s favourite flavour first, though!
  • Popcorn – who doesn’t love the smell of fresh popcorn? It’s healthier and more fun to pop your own, too.
  • Carrot/cucumber/fresh fruit pieces – the more attractive the presentation, the more likely children are to eat it, so why not get creative and see what shapes you can make things into?
  • Home made cakes or biscuits (or both if you’re greedy like me!) If you aren’t much of a baker, it doesn’t take much effort to melt some chocolate and mix it with rice krispies or corn flakes to make a simple but yummy pudding!
  • Jelly – use little shot glasses or bowls for teddy bear size portions – children love it.

If you host your own teddy bears tea party, we’d love to see your pictures! Tweet us @axcis or tag us on Facebook @Axciseducationrecruitment.

3 – Balloon Disco

Most children love balloons and dancing, so why not blow up a dozen balloons, turn out the lights, shut the curtains, put on a disco light (if you have one), clear some space, crank up the tunes and just have a good old boogie together? You’ll be burning plenty of calories and getting some good exercise, too. You could even add to the fun with a bubble machine if you have one, but be careful as floors can get quite slippery if you use them inside.

Another way you could add to the fun is to see who can come up with the craziest disco outfit – time to get the face paints and dress-up box out!

4 – Puppet Show

Create your own puppets and put on a show! Credit Flickr

If you have some puppets in a box, then great! If not, then you could spend some time decorating some old (but clean!) socks to create your own (check out our guide to making puppets here).  Then you need a stage – the dinner table or the back of the sofa will usually do. You can spend some time coming up with a story or just having some free-play with your puppets together. Or take it in turns to put on shows for each other. You could even video some on your phone or camera to show friends or relatives later. Many children love to see themselves on video, especially if it’s with something they have made or done.

5 – Stopwatch Challenges

This one is good if you are entertaining more than one child. It can them how to play fairly as well as how to be a good winner or loser! All you need is a stop watch or timer (sand timers are great because they are very visual – root through your board games to see if there is one in there perhaps?) Then you just need a piece of paper to be your score sheet and away you go. Some ideas for challenges you could do are listed below – but you can also create your own depending on what equipment you can find hanging around, or get the children to come up with some of their own challenges:

  • How long can you stand on one leg for?
  • How long can you bounce a balloon in the air for before it touches the ground?
  • How long can you balance a book on your head for?
  • Pull silly faces at each other and see who laughs first.
  • How many times can you throw a ball in the air and catch it before it drops to the floor?
  • Who can go the longest without moving/speaking (my mum used to love this one!)
  • Who can use a straw to blow a paper football across the floor and into a goal the fastest?
  • How many balloons can you pick up and put into a bucket in 30 seconds? (Make it harder by putting the bucket across the room and telling them they can’t use their hands!)

I’m sure you’ll have plenty of ideas of your own – why not share them in the comments section below?

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Easter Craft Ideas – great to try at home

In this blog, we share some ideas for craft activities you could try in the classroom or at home to get the children in the mood for Easter! 

Easter Bonnets

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosiescharity/13910614496/in/photolist-ncex3Y-7QMxya-bxVV4Y-bLopmD-bLDJ9g-7Qcm72-bLcdwg-e87zF8-e5HuRm-rwkrjW-e9m8zW-9DcuLp-9Eo4BW-4zTyW9-ncetNX-9Dfpcs-nxpoBd-66vt3m-bPrz5g-9DcuV4-e7tiL6-qNgNDb-6aRkUo-9DfpiG-e7hFSF-9DcuQ8-9Dfpg3-9BsHmS-ngAKFq-9DfpmE-9Dfpq3-9BpNQv-bK8G5z-bAwZL9-e9SiNS-ebDNeC-9wKZWc-e7RtF1-nxpao8-4AcuNw-2aDPw-9Ek9ha-bLEhWg-miZ1nH-bPrjKM-ipa6hz-bwWDwh-eaPSGD-7QjJN4-7QHds5
Easter Bonnets aplenty! Credit Flickr CC

It’s a classic, tried and tested idea but one we simply have to include. Easter wouldn’t be Easter without a Bonnet!

What you’ll need:

  • Thin/Flexible card
  • Tape
  • Any craft materials you have!

Instructions:

  • Cut a wide strip of card for each pupil
  • Wrap it around their head (so that it fits) and tape to secure
  • Decorate with ears, flowers and any other Easter/spring ideas you might have!

Eggy Feelings Faces

https://www.flickr.com/photos/coloneljohnbritt/25762756790/in/photolist-FfyS2U-9ysdEC-6d62X4-83BfHj-oFFiX5-bvUwvu-9CW2fi-bKrBKv-bKrzP2-9BLngg-6ef7aF-6c4Sda-6mXQvP-3g1Nt2-7VCzFY-bKrAMK-9ACjJB-4BgcvF-4EN3cX-7RanaV-6mXSUn-bwwNi1-bk58vA-bwwT3q-bwx4bJ-6etsHK-bJPi5i-9BMwju-eHePNi-6dCMV2-bKrLnx-9ysdK5-8RHPRd-bcgpHn-oW8Zhs-bKrFu8-bKryUc-FEqUP-e6HfHg-8iNqLf-bcgvN2-dWu5Mp-7QaiD6-9vKaZC-6omcdC-bwwXKh-nhom4b-e6NUQo-7RdGqd-6om9uf
Feelings eggs – a fun Easter activity for your class. Credit Flickr CC

Another simple idea and a slight adaptation from standard egg-painting activities, you could ask your class to talk about how they are feeling and make some Eggy Faces to reflect this. A great opportunity for an emotions and communication exercise – especially useful for children with autism.

What you’ll need:

  • Eggs (hard boiled probably best!)
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes

Instructions:

  • Discuss feelings and how faces reflect them with your class and explore how they are feeling today
  • Ask them to decorate an egg to show how they are feeling
  • As an add-on activity, you could ask children to identify how others are feeling based on what their eggs look like

Easter Sock Puppets

https://www.flickr.com/photos/coloneljohnbritt/25762756790/in/photolist-FfyS2U-9ysdEC-6d62X4-83BfHj-oFFiX5-bvUwvu-9CW2fi-bKrBKv-bKrzP2-9BLngg-6ef7aF-6c4Sda-6mXQvP-3g1Nt2-7VCzFY-bKrAMK-9ACjJB-4BgcvF-4EN3cX-7RanaV-6mXSUn-bwwNi1-bk58vA-bwwT3q-bwx4bJ-6etsHK-bJPi5i-9BMwju-eHePNi-6dCMV2-bKrLnx-9ysdK5-8RHPRd-bcgpHn-oW8Zhs-bKrFu8-bKryUc-FEqUP-e6HfHg-8iNqLf-bcgvN2-dWu5Mp-7QaiD6-9vKaZC-6omcdC-bwwXKh-nhom4b-e6NUQo-7RdGqd-6om9uf
Sock puppets are a fun craft idea for any time of the year, but you could theme them especially for Easter with your class! Credit Flickr CC

A craft activity you could do at any time of the year, but one you could also theme specifically for Easter. Try making chick or bunny sock puppets with your class for a fun activity in the run up to Easter.

What you’ll need:

  • Socks (ideally not too old or smelly!)
  • Items to decorate them with – googly eyes, floppy ears cut from felt etc
  • Glue/needle and thread for more able children

Instructions:

  • Decide what animal you are going to make
  • Put sock over hand
  • Get a feel for where the eyes need to be and glue them on
  • Add ears, nose, tongue etc. and any other decorations

You could use your puppets to create a little play or to sing along to an Easter song!

Easter Basket Cards

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sillyeaglebooks/5618097536/in/photolist-9ysdEC-FfyS2U-6d62X4-83BfHj-oFFiX5-9CW2fi-bvUwvu-bKrBKv-bKrzP2-9BLngg-6ef7aF-6c4Sda-6mXQvP-3g1Nt2-7VCzFY-bKrAMK-9ACjJB-4BgcvF-4EN3cX-7RanaV-6mXSUn-bwwNi1-bk58vA-bwwT3q-bwx4bJ-6etsHK-bJPi5i-9BMwju-eHePNi-6dCMV2-bKrLnx-9ysdK5-8RHPRd-bcgpHn-oW8Zhs-bKrFu8-bKryUc-FEqUP-e6HfHg-8iNqLf-bcgvN2-dWu5Mp-7QaiD6-9vKaZC-bwwXKh-nhom4b-e6NUQo-7RdGqd-6mXTRV-ncGWR3
Make these adorable Easter Basket cards with your class this Easter. Credit Flickr CC

Make these lovely Easter Basket cards with your class – who doesn’t love a bit of finger painting?!

What you’ll  need:

  • Card
  • Paints
  • Scissors and glue

Instructions:

  • On a sheet of card, paint brown “cross hatch” lines and allow to dry
  • Cut out a basket from the sheet
  • Glue to a piece of folded card
  • Finger paint lots of brightly coloured eggs into your basket
  • Allow to dry

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

A book that can help with speech delay – and endorsed by Phil Collins! (Guest Post)

In this guest post, Jules (AKA Julie Andrews), tells us about her new book, “Colin’s Missing Feathers” and how it can help children with speech sound delays. Plus an exclusive offer for Axcis readers.

Jules started writing picture books with simple speech therapy because, having spent 21 years working in speech and language therapy for the NHS and privately, she knew that for children with minor speech sound delays trying to get therapy was extremely hard. Parents, teachers and other caring adults recognise that children are using the wrong sound, but they don’t know how to help them. Jules wants to give parents some of the skills and activities they need to help their own children. Children can then go off to school and nursery as happy little individuals who can make themselves understood. The ability to use and say the correct speech sounds in words is also very important in learning to spell and read.     

Speech Therapy In Picture Books

I started writing a series of Picture Books with hidden speech therapy in them out of frustration at seeing so many preschool children unable to access a speech and language therapy. Sometimes it’s just that the teachers or the parents do not realise that a speech therapist can help their children to develop clear speech, others, it’s that there is no or minimal NHS resource available.

I contacted a couple of agents about my new concept, but as with speech and language therapy in general, the public perception of what we do is very poor; people think that speech and language therapists simply “Teach people how to speak proper.” This is the one thing we don’t do! As my books crossed the fiction/nonfiction boundary, I decided to self-publish… this has been a huge learning curve, as was finding illustrators and getting everything just right!

Speech sound substitutions are normal up to a certain age (see chart in my previous post for Axcis about speech development) but lots of children retain the substitutions and omissions, and consequently have difficulty in making people understand what they are saying. This then leads on to them having difficulty learning to read and spell at school, not to mention frustration at having to repeat themselves!

I started the series of 16 stories with the /ck/sound, this is the most common substitution in children around 2 to 3 years old…

Colin’s missing feathers – is a picture book aimed at 2 to 3-year-olds. But unlike other picture books, it has speech therapy for children who can’t say the /ck/ sound. Millions of children all over the world struggle to say this sound that is made at the back of the mouth. Instead, some children tend to substitute it with the front sound /t/ thus a toddler sitting in the trolley in the supermarket, pointing at the bottles of Coca-Cola will say “Tota tola.

As a bonus, parents, teachers and grandparents can visit my website and download a full programme of activities to address the /ck/ sound delay.

The picture books differ from the widely available books that focus on speech sound awareness. Speech sound awareness books are simply stories with lots of words that begin with the target sound the child is unable to say (if they could say the sound just by listening, wouldn’t they have already done that?).

In the stories the character has the same issue as the child and, throughout the story, the character meets problems because of his speech sounds. Colin ultimately finds a solution and reaches a happy ending. Children will immediately be able to copy the solutions and with practice, will be able to overcome their own speech sound delays.

As an exciting bonus for me was securing support from Mr Phil Collins (Yes, the Genesis singer & drummer) in the form of the following statement, which I will of course use in my endeavour to ensure that every parent, grandparent and early years provider knows the that these books are available and affordable for use with their children.

 “Jules has been working hard to help children with speech and language difficulties for many years. I was more than happy to help her out with sponsorship in the early days, so that she could attend postgraduate courses to increase her knowledge and skills. This helped her to help children and that’s what really matters to both of us.”

Phil Collins

Author info

Jules graduated in 1997 with a degree in speech and language pathology and therapeutics from the City of Birmingham University. She is a highly experienced speech therapist with particular skills in the areas of autism, early literacy development but generally loves to help anyone who is experiencing problems in communicating! Over the past 19 years she has attended training in the UK, USA and Australia in order to maximise her knowledge and skills to help children and adults with speech, language or communication issues.

Jules has written for educational publications such as SecEd, The British Journal of school nurses and Speech & language therapy in Practice. She is passionate about applying her knowledge into practical materials that really make a difference to the lives of children. She currently holds a small private caseload and consults as an Expert Witness for SEND Tribunal assessments countrywide.

Read Julie’s last article for Axcis about speech development here.

Find Julie on;  www.linkedin.com/in/julesclarke09092019

Get free advice and more info at;  www.sltonline.co.uk

Exclusive offer for Axcis readers

Axcis readers can obtain a free copy of the animation of Colin’s Missing Feathers when they purchase the e or print book from Amazon. Simply email Jules a copy of your receipt and she will transfer the animation via WeTransfer.

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Working from home wellness top tips (guest post)

Sorcha Gavin is a Senior Consultant and Wellness Co-ordinator for Axcis Education. In this blog, she shares her top tips for staying sane when working from home during this unprecedented time. Whether you’re spending time helping with distance learning or doing planning and preparation work ready for when schools go back – her tips are sure to be helpful.

Sorcha Gavin

Try to wake up at the same time everyday

The dream of being able to get up when you want can be short lived if you don’t do it with intention!  … aim to get up around the same time every day, this helps stabilise your internal clock and improve your sleep and mood overall. You’ll feel more refreshed, less tired and more able to concentrate for longer periods of time.

Don’t be in a rush, give yourself plenty of time

Plan to have around an hour or preferably longer to make sure you’re not in a rush or stressed out before you start your day . Your mind needs sufficient time to wake up before doing any work. Try a meditation or different breathing techniques to start your day proper. (Really good app which I swear by – https://insighttimer.com/ over 22,000 meditations for any area in your life..). It’s also a good idea to get washed and dressed as usual to get yourself into a work mindset for the day.

Take time to eat a proper breakfast

It’s probably the most important part of any daily routine! Working on an empty stomach is going to reduce your ability to concentrate and leave you with lower energy levels in the morning. You should really try to eat something filling and healthy to make the most out of breakfast. A balanced meal is really the best idea. You’ll find yourself with more energy, improved concentration and a better mood.

Put down the phone! (Unless essential)

It’s all too easy to pick up your phone or laptop as soon as you wake up and end up being glued to the screen for the rest of the day. A lot of us can’t avoid using a screen for work, so it’s worth having a break in the morning. Try…………. to not check your emails as soon as you get up, avoid social media/BBC News  and give your brain a more relaxed start to the day. Experts say that checking your phone first thing “frames the experience of ‘waking up in the morning’ around a menu of ‘all the things I’ve missed since yesterday. Too much screen time is bad for your eyesight and mind- blue light glasses may prove helpful…

Do something physical

Physical exercise is good for both your mind and body. Perhaps it could be some yoga or maybe just a small walk. You’ll feel more awake and both physically and mentally alert. Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic also means that you might not leave the house for extended periods of time, so getting outside and moving is important.(obviously still in line with social distancing)

Set goals for the rest of your day

When you sit down at your desk, take some time to plan out your day. You can set some goals as to what you need to do and when. It’s usually a good idea to start this before checking your emails, as these can distract you from major tasks and interrupt your schedule.

Now more than ever we find ourselves isolated and separate from people and our communities- it’s so important to stay connected, pick up the phone, speak to friends and family..

Useful apps for staying connected…

Download zoom for video chats, https://zoom.us/

House Party app which allows you to  video group chat …. https://app.houseparty.com/

Not feeling the above? Why not write a letter, join a volunteer group or learn a new skill? YouTube is a gold mine of tutorials in a vast range of activities and crafts

A wise man recently told me that “ Time is now our most Valuable asset – We need to use it wisely

Stay Safe <3

Sorcha Gavin, find me on Instagram @sorchaslanuholistics

Are you seeking SEND work or staff during this unprecedented time?

Many schools are still open and supporting SEND and Key Worker children – so if you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Axcis Candidates: We are still finding you work!

Worried? Scared? Confused? Try not to stress – At Axcis, we are here to support you through this difficult time

As leaders in SEND, lots of the schools and residential care settings we work with are open and in need of help with their staffing. We still have roles for teachers, teaching assistants, care workers and other support staff.

What can you do to help?

  • If you currently have work booked with Axcis, be flexible and support your setting in any way that you can – make yourself indispensable and you’re likely to be kept working!
  • If you do not currently have work booked, update your supply days diary so we know what days you can work as needs arise. This way you will have the best chance of being contacted for work.

You may also find our coronavirus FAQ page about the current situation helpful in answering any other questions you have.



Together we will get through this, and your support during this difficult time is hugely appreciated.



Please keep an eye on our website and social media pages which we will endeavour to keep updated as the situation develops

Are you seeking SEND work or staff during the coronavirus pandemic?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Coronavirus FAQ’s for supply staff

We have put together these FAQ’s to help you during these uncertain times

Should a supply teacher or support staff member still work if they are fit and able while schools are open?

Yes. Unless you, or a member of your household either has symptoms of the virus, or is in an “at risk” group, you should continue to work as directed by your school/Axcis consultant. Although many schools will be closed, some will still be operating to support children of key workers or those with EHCP’s – so do check to be sure if you are required or not.

Will supply staff still get paid when the school I’m working at has closed due to Coronavirus/Covid19?

If you have worked as a supply teacher or support staff, you will get paid as normal once your work has been confirmed with the school via a timesheet. Sadly, there is no contractual requirement for a school or hirer to pay supply teachers for advanced bookings. Nonetheless, some schools are agreeing to pay long-term supply staff during closures, and your Axcis consultant will be doing their very best to ensure that they secure payment for as many candidates as they possibly can. In addition to this, there is also a petition to the government to support supply staff during this difficult time. If you’d like to sign this, you can do so here:

Will I receive sick pay should I become ill with Coronavirus/Covid-19?

As with any illness, Axcis, or an umbrella company you are employed by will pay statutory sick pay to agency workers by completing form SC2, if you qualify and based on current government guidelines. However, there may be additional support offered by the government in this rapidly evolving situation, so if unsure, it’s best to refer to the latest guidance being offered and to consult with your chosen umbrella company.

What do I do if I am told I have been working at a school with a confirmed case of Coronavirus?

The virus is now fairly widespread across the UK and as such you should follow the guidance being offered by the government. This is currently to maintain social distancing, and to self-isolate if you or a family member shows symptoms. Whether others at your school or provision has shown symptoms is currently not a factor unless you become symptomatic yourself.

Where can I get accurate advice about schools and Coronavirus/Covid-19

Please keep up to date on the government website for educational settings

Is it possible to get supply work after schools close?

Yes – we will respond to the needs of our client schools as and when they stay open and require additional teaching or support staff. It is possible that teachers may be required for distance learning needs as well – we will update our jobs pages to reflect any current needs as they develop.

Are you seeking SEND staff or work?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, either now or for September, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Using symbols to reinforce learning in the home environment (guest post)

This guest post is kindly provided by Sarah Lachlann-Dean. She is a chartered teacher and communication lead at Woodlands High school in Cardiff. In this article, Sarah explores the value of using a range of communication tools, and has also provided us with a fantastic visual communication book which has been made available for families to download and use completely free of charge.

Widget Software have kindly given their permission for personal use of Sarah’s excellent resource book (provided their copyright information is not removed). The book can be downloaded here

At the moment I am a stay at home Mum with a new baby, and temporarily home schooling my older daughter due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I am so lucky to know the curriculum, where she is in relation to it and be able to get on with introducing the next steps. If I has suddenly found myself responsible for her health or something without professional support I would have been at a loss, and reliant on google, so I wanted to share something I find very useful in my own setting, a special needs classroom, working with learners with significant communication difficulties.

I use a total communication approach, which in simple terms means using everything to give learners maximum opportunity to communicate. I use clear speech, PECS, sign, photographs, real objects and symbols every day. One of the things my pupils gravitate towards most are the simple symbols, and they can be an effective tool for receptive as sell as expressive communication.

When I left my last school to go on maternity leave, I gave all the children a ‘home’ communication book, with the symbols they may need to ask for days out, identify rooms in the house, help with cooking etc. It also had symbols such as colours, numbers and vocabulary we were working on in school like big and small.

I use symbols such a lot, I subscribe to widgitonline.com, as it is so much faster and means all my work is stored remotely. The team at widgit have very kindly given me permission to share this resource for free with parents in the same situation as me, educating at home for the first time.

Download the visual communication book – click here

I hope you find it useful, and here are some ideas for how I would use it.

  1. Core vocab: A simple page which gives pupils opportunity to ask for things lime drinks, toilet etc. I know, as a parent you just know what they need, but this is all about supporting them to tell you using their ‘voice’ because if they can tell you they are well on their way to telling other people what they want and need and increasing control of the world around them.
  2. Places: Ok, so some of these places are currently no-go, but you may be living with a child who goes to the cinema every week at the same time with a personal assistant and its suddenly cancelled. They may be able to use the symbol to ask if they can go, and we can redirect them to the living room for TV film, not the same, no, but could potentially save some distress.
  3. Hobbies and Activities: Some of the most used and loved symbols in class. Often it is ‘work first then choosing’ and pupils can decide what they would like to do next. Again, your child might be able to access everything they need, but it may be worth limiting that free access to support them to learn to request. Its all about promoting independence and being able to ask for something you want or need which you can’t see is fundamental to this.
  4. Body: Important for learners to be able to tell people if they are ill or in pain, or even if they are just uncomfortable. Parts of the body is a key bank of vocabulary. They may point to a body part and you can show on the page and say the word clearly. After all there are some parts of the body we would rather not be pointing at to communicate, as my daughter demonstrated last week when she injured her middle finger.
  5. People and Animals: Great for identifying people and animals in books, stories and songs, and developing ‘I see’ sentences in pictures and out on walks.
  6. Actions: Can be used to request, or comment. This page is particularly useful for learners needing to move beyond using one word, so rather than using ‘boy’, they may be able to extend to ‘boy dancing’ or ‘duck’ to ‘duck swimming’ etc.
  7. Cooking: A useful page if your child is a budding chef, or just needs to work on independent living skills. A mixture of cooking related vocab including actions as well as equipment, to support understanding of instructions.
  8. Colours and pattern: Good for teaching patterns and sequencing in maths but also good for getting creative with some arts and crafts and talking about what you are doing. Also good for working on properties, e.g. ‘red triangle’, ‘green square’
  9. Number: This is actually number and mathematical concepts, these parts of language are so tricky for our learners, especially as they are so subjective. Is it big? In comparison to a button yes, in comparison to a bus, not really. The only way to understand how these woks in to keep using them in lots of different contexts, playing with sand, water, cooking, painting, in fact most activities!
  10. Textures: Can be used in crafts, reading sensory books or even to request sensory activities.
  11. Food- Lots of Foods: Suitable for requesting, cooking activities, and un normal circumstances shopping. If your child is an emergent writer these are also useful for copying writing to make a shopping list.
  12. Personal care: Can be kept in the book or laminated and put on the wall in the bathroom, and the kitchen, everywhere at the moment. I thought twice about including this, as I knew families would have their own ways of supporting hygiene, but now I’m glad I did.
  13. Clothes: Vocabulary building, can be used for real clothes or in books, ‘what is she wearing?’ seems strange buta good way to develop the vocabulary or extend sentences. ‘girl’ – ‘girl wellies’- ‘girl red wellies’- ‘girl red spotty wellies’ etc.
  14. Feelings- Most pupils I have taught will just say happy if you ask how they are, this vocabulary is just so difficult, especially for children and young people on the autistic spectrum who also have learning difficulties. I recommend using these to describe what is happening in books first and modelling before using it to ask questions.
  15. Stories: Most importantly just enjoy and if you need a break all these stories have retellings on YouTube so you can have a cup of tea!

Sarah Lachlann-Dean

Sarah’s Twitter handle is @SarahLachlann should you wish to get in touch to discuss anything SEND with her, or thank her for this wonderful resource.

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Axcis candidates: How to complete your online registration

Have you recently registered for work with Axcis online and have received an email asking you to complete your details? Or perhaps you’re looking to register with us and want to find out how it works. Find the answers to these queries here.

Registering with Axcis

Registering with Axcis online is a simple process that shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes. All you need to do is visit our website and fill in the required fields. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for our team to match your details to suitable job roles.

Completing your referee details

Once you have registered online, you will receive an email asking you to fill in your referee details, along with any other incomplete details from the online process. The screen shots below will help you to do this if you are unsure.

What an incomplete registration looks like

The below image shows what you will see when you log in if your registration is incomplete. The menu on the left of the screen will have some red fields. These are the ones you will need to select and complete.

What a complete registration looks like

Once all the required fields are complete, all items on the left menu will have green ticks next to them – as in the screen shot below.

Importance of including a CV

It really helps us to help you if you ensure that a CV is uploaded as part of your registration process. This will save us asking you a lot of questions, and will help to direct us in terms of what suitable placements we may be able to offer you. If you need help to put a CV together, we have a template you can use on our useful downloads page.

Having problems? Get in touch

If you have followed the steps outlined in this article and are having any problems with your registration, or if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with your local office for support.

Refer a friend to Axcis and earn up to £250

Did you know that we run a generous referral scheme here at Axcis? If you have any friends or family members seeking work, refer them to Axcis and you could earn up to £250 in shopping vouchers as a thank-you. Find out more about this scheme here.

School staff: Use your time in isolation to further your SEND knowledge – home learning ideas from Axcis and our partners

Is your school closed or set to close due to the coronavirus outbreak? Are you wondering how you’ll stay sane if required to stay at home for a number of weeks? Why not use your time to further your own professional knowledge? Axcis has lots of SEND resources and e-learning suggestions for you to try…

Axcis SEND resources

Did you know that the Axcis blog has a huge range of SEND resources for you to browse through? From guest articles from specialists in the sector, to seasonal resources, SEND information, worksheets and classroom materials and much more? To access these resources, you can either go to our blog pages and select the SEND resources category – that will bring all relevant blogs up in date order.

Autism training

Brush up on your autism knowledge while stuck at home

Although many of our CPD courses are held in person, we do also offer some online options via our partners at the National Autistic Society.. these courses are detailed below:

Autism webinars – FREE!

As part of our relationship with the National Autistic Society, we sponsored a series of webinars which are available for you to watch completely free of charge – these sessions will help to develop your knowledge and understanding of autism, and help to further your classroom practice in this area.

Ask autism modules – huge discount

Another thing we sponsor as part of our partnership with the National Autistic Society is their “Ask Autism” online modules. These modules are offered to Axcis readers at a hugely discounted rate. Find out more about them here.

Focus on SEND training

Another fantastic organisation we sponsor is nasen (the National Association for Special Educational Needs). If you are not already a member of nasen and work in the field of SEND, then we would urge you to join up! Bronze membership is FREE and will give you access to 9 hours of their online “Focus on SEND” training. Alternatively you can opt for silver or bronze membership which will give you further training options and benefits.

SEND Gateway

Axcis are very proud to be associated with nasen and their SEND Gateway

Another thing you’ll have access to if you join up with nasen is their “SEND Gateway“. This is a “one-stop-shop for all things SEND”. You’ll find articles, resources, courses and lots more – so use any free time you have to take a look and explore what they have on offer – there is bound to be something of interest that will help further your professional understanding and help with your classroom practice.

Sky Badger school awards

Sky Badger is a smaller charity who we have chosen to support throughout 2020. Did you know about this great charity or the host of wonderful lesson plans and resources they have available on their website? Now is a great time to browse what they have available and plan for some interesting sessions to run at home or when schools go back. Or perhaps you are a SEND professional who can use their time at home to help contribute to this fantastic database?

Do you have any training or resources to share?

During this difficult time, we all need to support each other. If you know of any useful online courses or resources that could benefit your peers in the SEND sector, why not tell us about them in the comments below?

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Fighting Bullies in your PJ’s (Guest Post)

Do you need lesson plans to promote understanding of SEND? Or perhaps you can contribute one to help others? That’s what this guest post from the charity Sky Badger is all about – read on to find out more.

Have you ever made up a game or lesson about disability that you know made a difference? I bet you have. Or has there been a time when there was a new closeness in your class that your ideas made happen? Even a seed of an idea can make a difference. We can help you bring it to life and give you full credit too. We need your help to teach primary school aged children all over the UK about special needs, disabilities, and allergies…and you don’t even need to change out of your PJ’s!

But let’s start at the beginning.

A few years ago, our little charity Sky Badger, was doing some research into bullying of SEN children. We discovered that Primary school pupils with special educational needs are twice as likely as other children to suffer from persistent bullying. At age 7, 12% of children with special needs and 11% of those with a statement said they were bullied ‘all of the time’ by other pupils. We don’t think that’s OK. That’s why we created the Sky Badger School Awards.

The Sky Badger School Awards is a downloadable disability awareness programme for Primary Schools and community groups in the UK and is totally free. It uses games and lesson plans to develop empathy and understanding rather than sympathy for disabled children changing the way children think about disability.

The idea is to help children understand that ‘disability is not inability’ and that differences can be celebrated not feared. We started using cutting edge behavioural change psychology in a series of fun lesson plans and games, all linked to the National Curriculum. You can find out more about behavioural change here. It really is very cool indeed and working with Rory Sutherland from Ogilvy was quite an inspiration.

Our school award’s programme not only works to reduce bullying and increase peer group cohesion, it also helps Sky Badger reach disabled children, their families, teachers and support workers. That way, even more children can find help through Sky Badger’s information services.

Why we need your help

The statistics are worrying;

 “Primary school pupils with special educational needs are twice as likely as other children to suffer from persistent bullying. At age 7, 12% of children with special needs and 11% of those with a statement said they were bullied ‘all of the time’ by other pupils, compared to just 6% of their non-disabled peers.” Institute of Education

“34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.” The National Autistic Society

Disability Rights UK (DR UK), found that most of the young people with SEND described being bullied and socially excluded at school, and said their group of school friends was small or non-existent.

“There are approximately 351,000 children aged 0-17 with a learning disability in the UK.” Mencap

Here’s a video made by the University of Warwick about SEND bullying:

In 2018/9, 19,773 Sky Badger’s lesson plans and games were downloaded for use, that’s an annual increase of 55%. With groups ranging from 10-30 children, we can conservatively extrapolate that number of lesson plans and games to have reached a minimum of 180,000 children. With your help, we aim to grow this by 35% to over 24,000 downloads reaching lots of new teachers and community group leaders in the next year.

Vikings, Moon Villages and Secret Codes

Our lesson plans and games have everything from bloodthirsty disabled Viking, to children designing accessible Moon Villages to a code-cracking Braille game.

What would you want to add? Find out what we’ve done so far here:

What do teachers say about the school awards?

A quote from a teacher using a Sky Badger lesson plans:

“The children worked in 3 groups to find out about dyslexia, ADHD and epilepsy…The children not only demonstrated understanding of each condition but also showed great sensitivity to the needs of their chosen child, often focusing on the attitudes of teachers and other children…The main point that the children took away from the lesson was we need to be sensitive to the fact that everyone can have additional needs even if we can’t see them.” Class of 20 children aged 8-9.

What we need you to do

Will you help us teach primary school children all over the UK about special needs, disabilities, and allergies? Can you design one exciting lesson plan for us? All Sky Badger volunteers and staff work remotely, so you can work in a coffee shop, a school, or on your sofa in your PJs.

Please send us your ideas to team@skybadger.co.uk  or find us on Facebook for a chat!

Your ideas need to…

  • Be fun and can include games, sports, art, DT, creative writing and competitions to develop a greater understanding of disability and disabled children.
  • You can design class work, a project, a workshop, an experiment or a performance.
  • You can even have a rough idea and we can work together to grow it.
  • Be in-line with the National Curriculum.

We really can’t wait to hear from you.

What else you can do

If you’re too busy but still want to get involved please…

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

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