How can I help SEND students in the classroom?
Simple and practical ‘wins’ to help students with specific learning differences
If the child’s handwriting is difficult to read, ask them to try using a writing slope. An A4 folder (which is full) can act as a writing slope, you do not need the real thing. Also, a folder is much more practical for school, as there is one in most classrooms and that takes away the requirement for the child to carry one around with them. The ridge of the folder supports the child’s wrist when they are writing plus, the child does not need to hunch over their desk.
Also, trial a range of pens and pencils and see which one is the most comfortable for them you use. You can also buy different types of pen grips very cheaply.
Using a plain piece of paper to cover up long pieces of text or the following questions, help the child to stay focused on the task in hand and it will reduce their anxiety about how much is left to do. It can also act as a reading ruler to help the student follow the text when reading and as a temporary bookmark so that they do not lose their page.
If a child has a speech impediment or mispronounces something, instead of immediately correcting them by just repeating the word, or just accepting that they have said it incorrectly, say ‘Did you just say ----?’ and accentuate the sound that they mispronounced. If you did not understand what they said to you, it is important to acknowledge that they are trying to communicate with you ‘I think you just said ….. Is that right?’ You will be modelling and teaching the correct pronunciation and, also raising their self-esteem as you are communicating with them without judgment.
If a child struggles to read aloud, read aloud with them at the same time. They will take your lead and follow at your pace. You will also be modelling intonation and expression in your voice. They will pick up on flow and use of punctuation. Tricky words will be sounded out together and it will raise their confidence and self-esteem.
Simple checks such as where the child is sitting, which chair they are using, shadows on desks etc. can have a huge effect on the ability to engage in learning. Sitting near a window can be very distracting for some, and for others being close to an exit can make them feel less vulnerable. Thinking about ergonomics with regard to table and chair height and pen and pencil type, for example, can mean the difference of a child that is comfortable and ready to learn, or a distracted and fidgety person that may struggle to focus.
How can EdPlace help?
EdPlace has many features that can create a personalised learning space for a child who has sensory or other specific educational needs. Using the accessibility toolbar, you can alter font type and size, the colour palette of the resource and reduce the amount of exposed text using the reading window feature, ensuring that all of the interactive and differentiated content is accessible to everyone.
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