The Education Authority has a range of online resources for parents and carers of a child or children with special educational needs
CCEA has compiled a list of resources may be helpful for schools and parents/carers of learners with special educational needs.
Middletown Centre for Autism has a range or resources and information, to help parents of children with special educational needs.
As you and your child prepare for the return to school you may experience mixed emotions and concerns about how to make the transition a positive experience for your child. Special schools are, and have been providing valuable guidance to help you prepare for your child’s safe return to learning. This takes into consideration up-to-date guidance issued by both the Department for Health and the Department for Education and crucially, how this applies to your school building and the individual needs of all pupils.
The guidance issued by your individual school may include details around:
- how to prepare your child for any changes in the school environment and previous practice, for example by using social stories;
- changes in curriculum provision; and
- how to support your child’s emotional health and well-being during this period of transition.
Changes in your school may include:
- changes in transport for example staggered drop-off and pick-up times;
- changed timetables with temporary restrictions for example no assemblies;
- the possibility of some teachers and classroom assistants wearing Personal Protective Equipment;
- changed lunch and break times;
- restricted movement around the school for example one-way systems/bubble classrooms/restricted contact time with friends in different classrooms;
- increased cleaning routines around the school and within classrooms; and
- increased focus on hand-washing for pupils and staff.
Things to consider
- Read the guidance from your school carefully.
- If you need further information, discuss this with your school; for example, ask for visuals of any changes to the school.
- Build in regular time to communicate the changes with your child.
- Take time to listen to your child’s potential anxiety about the return to school. Empathise with their fears and try to reassure them and remind them of fun memories from their time at school.
- Ask for advice in relation to how you can support the school in successfully managing your child’s return, for example by letting them know about new issues that may have arisen for your child, including the challenges and successes experienced during remote learning at home.
- Look at the school website; communicate with the school via available mediums eg See Saw, Parentmail; walk past the school building with your child.
The National Deaf Children’s Society has 12 free weekly lessons for families of deaf children, with region-specific classes from week 2. Visit their YouTube channel to view the Northern Ireland lessons.
Rise NI have produced online resources for parents including information on social, emotional and behavioural development, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has published an information pack ‘Supporting Children with ASD and/or Learning Disability in coping with COVID-19 isolation’.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has an online resource containing a range of information to help the parents of children with disability, including supporting behaviour and communication such as advice on how to manage smearing, and advice on sleep, such as a bedtime routine.
The Daily Five is a series of guided videos by Sarah Ashfield to help a child/young person build resilience.
Stress control classes are available online provided by Dr Jim White.