SEN or SEND teaching resources are designed for children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities who may need extra help understanding certain concepts and making sense of the world around them.
In England, over 220,000 children have complex needs that require extra support or learning in a slightly different way that works for them. Teachers have a responsibility to make sure children with SEN always feel included. Teachers should also sensitively educate other children in the class on how to help a fellow pupil with SEN learn with them.
How can teachers help children with SEN in school?
Not only children with SEN, but every child responds well to multisensory learning. Visual, auditory and tactile early years teaching resources can help students with SEN understand lessons, and feel included in the class. Simple objects like Art and Craft feathers, or a Liquid Spiral Timer are calming and fascinating to a child with complex needs and can help to engage them in learning about materials, patterns and 3D objects.
Springboard Supplies Feathers Bumper Class Pack
There are also certain behaviours that children with SEN respond well to in lessons. Keeping a routine and developing a calm, safe and organised environment in each lesson helps them to focus on the topics at hand. Here is our list of tips on how to help students with SEN learn more easily and happily in school:
- Create a safe and calm environment in the classroom, or ensure there is a calm safe place that a child can visit, but that is not used as a punishment
- Maintain regular communication with all adults involved in the child’s care and education, and make sure they are briefed on how to communicate with the child
- Set out clear routines and prepare with the child for change
- Communication goals and expectations, reward good work. Help the child to associate the reward with the work
- Find options and alternative rather than saying ‘no’. Think outside the box
- Make eye contact and hold the child’s attention, be clear in instructions and questions, be patient and allow them time to process a response
- Use visual prompts where necessary, reinforce verbal instructions with visual support
- Help to facilitate friendships with others in the class, peer mentoring and buddy systems are useful for this. Have children consider role models including adults and other children
- Develop a curriculum that is practical and multisensory, inclusive of all learning types. Have all children engage with this
- Keep the child busy but focused, always having something to do but not overwhelmed with too many tasks at once
- Don’t allow the child to rely on support in the first instance, encourage them to be independent and ask for help if they feel they really need it, ignoring behaviour that simply seeks attention where possible
- Address the child by name as they may not feel that ‘class’ or ‘everyone’ applies to them
- Help all children to recognise and celebrate differences
- Be consistent with rules and punishments, reiterate them regularly to the class
- Be positive, open, and non-judgemental, help the child to know they can approach you for any reason
SEN Teaching Resources
One of the oldest and most extensively used special needs teaching resources websites is SEN Teacher. On this site, teachers can find free material to download and use in the classroom or send home as homework to be completed alone or with a supervisor.
Printable resources cover core subjects like maths and literacy, as well as communication and social skills aids like printable posters showing different emotional expressions and customisable picture exchange cards with fonts and images that can be swapped out thanks to a library of 15,000 Creative Commons symbols.
Encourage children to apply what they have learned from printable worksheets and activities through games. Our Comprehension Board Games kit is a six-in-one game kit that provides clear instructions on comprehension strategies encouraging older children to engage in activities that reinforce concepts like cause and effect; context; and fact or opinion.
SEN Teacher also offers interactive downloads for an MS Kinect controller or iPad like ‘Somantics’, which uses touch and gesture to capture the interest of students with Autistic Spectrum Conditions through responsive camera input.
Springboard Supplies Comprehension Board Games
This website is committed to providing care and support to those with disabilities in Cornwall, but also houses a directory of websites and links to UK-wide online resources for teachers to assist children with SEN in the classroom.
The directory is split by academic subject to assist teachers in searching for resources to support a particular topic or lesson plan. The page also includes links to assist in supporting dyslexia, hearing impairment, sensory impairment, motor skills impairment, and mental and social health.
Whole School SEND is a YouTube channel that was created as part of Whole School SEND’s commitment to the UK Department for Education's SEND Schools' Workforce Contract. The aim of the contract is to “bring together schools, organisations and individuals who are committed to ensuring that every child and young person with SEND can maximise their potential.”
The channel is home to a library of videos aimed at teachers of students with special educational needs and disabilities. It includes examples of lessons, strategies to support students with different needs, and webinars to help teachers expand their understanding of SEN and apply their skills in the classroom. Whole School SEND covers students from early years all the way up to adulthood, so it is a great place to find teaching resources for adults with learning disabilities as well as children.
For children who live with special educational needs, tasks can seem impossible and frustrating beyond belief sometimes. A good SEN teacher is patient, listens, and offers lateral ways of thinking and understanding. Everyone has good and bad days. Teachers have the power to turn bad days into good days.