Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Special educational needs – training and ideas

curisoity kitOf all the training I do, the courses and inset I give on supporting children and young people with special educational needs are probably the most rewarding. I am always very moved by the tales that are told and the imaginative strategies that are shared.

I’ve illustrated this piece with a curiosity kit (thank you Lowton St Mary’s School in Wigan) because these sets of books, artefacts and activities are great for developing SEN – and all – children’s reading, learning and enjoyment. I’m a fan of Bag Books too for children with profound learning difficulties. Multi-sensory approaches and opportunities to engage and interact make learning much more accessible for children with special needs. Role-play and drama can be immensely beneficial.

I love delivering training on promoting reading to SEN children. It’s not just delegates who pick up new ideas. I’ve learnt so much from inspired teachers, TAs and librarians – creative ways to engage children who struggle with reading. It’s a privilege to be able to pass on great practice. I’m giving a course on this in Wiltshire tomorrow and have several open courses coming up.

I have started getting requests for courses specifically for special schools on supporting reading, and it has been fascinating to design and deliver this new area of training. The discussions at a course last week for schools in Northern Ireland were amazing, and I am looking forward to more in Surrey next month.

In fact I can’t remember a time when so much of my training has been on SEN related themes. I really enjoy providing courses on supporting children with learning difficulties in museums, so I’m delighted to be running one on ss Great Britain next week. We’ll be discussing lots of wonderful inclusive ideas. And I’m very excited to be going to Qatar in March to give three days of training for library, museum and archive staff, one of them on working with SEN children. It is always a treat to give training for school and public library staff on special needs. Libraries offer so much for children who find learning difficult.