This page is to provide additional support for parents and carers of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Creating a routine for your child
It’s normal for a lack of routine and structure to make children feel anxious and upset, especially if they have special educational needs and disabilities. If your child’s no longer going to school, creating a routine is important and there are ways you can do this together.
It’s important to include your child when thinking about how you structure the day and different activities you can do together. You might want to think about having different routines or activities in different rooms for example, depending on the space you have at home. Perhaps there’s something your child loves doing, like artwork or playing games, that can become part of their daily routine.
It can help to ask your child’s school what they normally use to create routines.
Popular examples include:
- a ‘Now and Next’ board, using two pictures to show what’s happening now and what the child will be doing next.
- a visual timetable, using pictures to plan the day. If the whole day is too much to focus on, a timetable could be made for a morning or an afternoon instead.
- a weekly timetable, to show key things to look forward to on different days.
Pictures are easier for many children to understand than written words. There are resources for making timetables on Twinkl, or you could draw your own. Some children will want to know the time when different activities will start, but other children won’t need this. It can help to ask your child what they’d prefer.
For young people who feel particularly overwhelmed and troubled by Covid-19, these resources are helpful ways to manage anxiety around the pandemic, with helpful tools on homeschooling and self-care during lockdown.
- A downloadable guide from the Children’s Commissioner for children and young people about the coronavirus, including proactive advice to support mental wellbeing.
- The Think Ninja app educates 10–18-year-olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well. It has been adapted to Covid-19 to bring self-help knowledge and skills to those who may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during the crisis.
- The Rise Above website aims to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16. The content has been adapted to Covid-19 and includes new mental health content based on insights from young people on remote schooling.
- The Every Mind Matters website aims to support everyone, including children and young people, to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions. It has been adapted to include advice and support about mental health issues that may have arisen because of the pandemic.
- The Young Minds website – provides online information on COVID-19 and mental health support to children and young people.\\
These resources are dedicated to children’s general mental health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on mindfulness with developing coping skills in young people.
- Place2Be has a host of mental health resources available. They organise Children's Mental Health Week every year.
- SafeSpot is an iPhone and Android app that promotes positive mental wellbeing in children and young people and has been designed to help children and young people with their coping skills.
- BBC’s wellbeing resources for families.
Below are you useful sites shared by the DFE to help support SEN pupils and parents at home:
Description: a visual instruction app, including flash cards and picture-choosing games, for children with autism and special needs.
Description: a collection of games and resources designed for a range of educational needs and stages. It includes provision for school closure.
Sensory App House Ltd
Description: a range of apps are available for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) or Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD). All are interactive and many do not require significant coordination abilities.
Description: an all-in-one app created to support people with communication and learning difficulties. For verbal and non-verbal learners.
Speech and Language Kids
Description: a range of education and therapy resources for speech and language problems. A podcast is also available on iTunes for verbal and non-verbal children.
Registration: not required
Network of support
As a parent or carer you may feel concerned about how the current situation will affect your child. This could include being worried about how you’ll manage your child’s care, medication or educational needs at home. You may also be worried about juggling your home and work life. Every child with SEND is different and will have different support needs in the current situation. The NSPCC is here for parents and carers and have advice to help you and your child find ways to cope together.