Returning To School – Resources To Help Children With Additional Needs And Their Families

It seems like a lifetime ago that ‘Lockdown’ began, including the closure of school to all but a few children, in an attempt to limit the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19. In reality it was just three months ago… the equivalent of two school summer holidays. For some the time has passed uneventfully, children have been home schooled and life while quieter has continued smoothly. For some it has been hard, the change, disruption and isolation has taken its toll on both children and their families. For some, of course, this has been a devastating period as they have mourned the loss of loved family or friends. Mental, emotional and physical health has been affected in most children, and this can and has been exacerbated even more for children with additional needs.

With ‘Lockdown’ now easing, and with school gradually opening up, a fresh set of challenges have arrived. Children that have got used to the ‘new normal’ of life at home are struggling to adapt to going back to school. Whether children have been able to engage with home schooling or not, suddenly finding themselves in a classroom again is a difficult transition to cope with, especially as school isn’t like it used to be. With perhaps maximum class groups of 15, many pupils going in every other week, and complex social distancing and personal hygiene rules to follow, there is still a lot for children to cope with and it is understandable that this can, and is, causing anxiety and stress.

There is a growing amount of support out there to help children and their families, and this blog post attempts to pull some of this together into one place so that families can access what will help them. I hope that this resource will continue to grow as further resources are discovered, so do keep coming back to see what else might be helpful for you and your child.

So, here’s what helpful resources I’ve found so far that can help families, school staff, or children’s workers to support children through these difficult days…

Twinkl
Twinkl
There’s a free download on the Twinkl website that helps explain returning to school (see header image):
https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/returning-to-school-social-situation-t-s-2548814
You will also be able to link to other helpful resources.

widgit-logo
Widgit
There are also free resources about returning to school that you can access for free on the Widgit website:
https://www.widgit.com/resources/popular-topics/back-to-school-june/index.htm

makatonLogo
Makaton
There’s a free downloadable pack about going back to school on the Makaton website too:
https://www.makaton.org/shop/shopping/freeDownloadDetails/Going-Back-to-School

ReachoutASC
ReachoutASC
Our friend Lynn McCann at ReachoutASC has provided a wealth of free downloadable resources here:
https://www.reachoutasc.com/resources/transition-to-new-class

ActionForChildren_logo
Action for Children
Knowing how to talk things through with children about returning to school can be hard, here’s some easy steps to follow from Action for Children:
https://www.parents.actionforchildren.org.uk/returning-to-school

Parentkind
ParentKind
There’s lots of useful information on the ParentKind website that can help you navigate a path through these difficult times too:
https://www.parentkind.org.uk/News–Blog

Do-IT-200mm-IS-1-2-300x102
Do-IT>
A wide range of useful free downloadable resources can be found on the Do-IT> website, under their rather appropriate heading of ‘Survive, Revive and Thrive’:
https://www.doitprofiler.com/survive-revive-thrive/

lgfl-logo-new
LGfL
The London Group for Learning site has some helpful Social Stories, including different versions of a useful return to school one:
https://www.lgfl.net/covid19socialstories
As with all Social Stories, these should be adapted or used as a starting point to create a specific version for each child. More information about how to create Social Stories can be found on Lynn McCann’s site here: https://www.reachoutasc.com/resources (scroll to the bottom for links to info on social stories).

And finally…

autism little learners header
Autism little Learners
Just love this site, so full of useful stuff and there are some great Social Stories on this link:
https://www.autismlittlelearners.com/search/label/COVID-19

There must be more great resources out there, so do contact me to let me know what you have found helpful and maybe I can add it to this list.

I hope these resources help you to inform and support the children you are engaged with, either as family or as children’s/youth workers, as they return to school.

Peace,

Mark

See also:
Coronavirus – Helping Children To Stay Safe
https://theadditionalneedsblogfather.com/2020/03/11/coronavirus/

Image rights © Twinkl (header image)

 

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