All posts in “Families”

800 children received activity packs from SNAP Cymru

Over the last few weeks our team have been able to put activity packs together for children with the generous support of the following who identified the need to support children in their communities.

  • The Steve Morgan Foundation emergency Covid 19 Fund which helps projects that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, or those that are socially disadvantaged in North Wales
  • The Merthyr Tydfil Emergency Covid 19 Fund
  • Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund which provides emergency funding to deliver additional and new community services to address immediate community needs in the Upper Neath and Upper Afan Valley

We sent out a short tick list for parents on what they might like us to send – we found that a lot of the families weren’t able to print activities at home, or didn’t have the available laptops etc… so all were requesting printed activities for their children. We also decided to sent out glue sticks, stickie’s, crayons, scissors and felts – al of which went down really well with the children

We sent out packs which our team of staff and volunteers put together responding to the children’s particular needs and wishes and sourcing some of the items they might like.
One of our volunteers Valdis has put together age related packs of general materials that can appeal to those groups and another volunteer is creating bespoke materials

Jessica a new volunteer to SNAP Cymru is a font of all curriculum related knowledge and very quickly sourced materials for different age groups

At the end of the project we were delighted to have sent out sent out packs to 800 children in Merthyr, Upper Afan and Neath Valleys – The Pen Y Cymoedd Communities and in North Wales

Sadly almost all parents were requesting emotional wellbeing and self-regulation advice and activities – so these were added these to every pack.

The activities packs have proved to be really successful and we’ve received great feedback from the children themselves. 

“Thank you so much for the activity pack! It’s amazing and covers everything from numeracy to literacy, colouring, puzzles, and lots more, all with some of his favourite characters. We’re very excited to get started. Fantastically put together. Thank you x

“I was sent a wonderfully put together activity pack to keep my Son busy, and to help him better understand his emotions about the situation we all find ourselves in. “

The project has now come to an end and we can no longer accept any requests for packs.

However if you’re looking for other activities for children , including those with additional learning needs and disabilities please do go and see our full list of information and activities that is updated regularly.

Coronavirus Information and resources for families

Everyone at SNAP Cymru want to support children and young people during this emergency which could see families at home for long periods. We understand that this is a very worrying time for everyone.

We will be regularly updating social media so please follow us if you do not already https://www.facebook.com/SNAPCymru/

Whilst our offices will be closed to all visitors. Don’t worry – we’ll still be here supporting you!

The SNAP Cymru Team will be working from home, your calls will be diverted and we’ll have access to e-mails and database.

We will maintain contact with families via telephone or other electronic methods as usual. We will work with individual families and professionals to hold face to face meetings and support services if it is safe to do so, in accordance with Public Health Wales.

If you do need support please contact our normal help and support line.

0808 801 0608

or to make a referral www.snapcymru.org/contact

Thank you for your continued and valuable support and if we can do anything to help you during these challenging times, just let us know and look out for our regular briefings. Keep well

We’ve tried to gather some useful information and resources for you for what will undoubtedly be a difficult time. Thank you to all the charities and organisations that have put together some of these important resources.

Talking to children and families regarding COVOID 19

With so much out there about Covid-19 (coronavirus) and confusion about the virus and its impact on families here are some of the most useful

  • Contact, previously known as Contact a Family, is a national charity that supports families with disabled children, bringing them together and helping families take action for others. C Coronavirus Welfare benefits and Money
  • The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has an information hub for families and children to explain what is going on. If you or your children have any questions then you can tweet, email or Facebook message them.
  • Learning Disability Wales – Coronavirus: resources for people with a learning disability including some good easy read guides, for people with a learning disability in Wales. As the situation progresses they are adding new information and advice on a daily basis.
  • RNIB support PlansRNIB plans to publish regular online guidance in response to the crisis, with resources and ideas about supporting your child. This will be available at www.rnib.org.uk/children by Friday 27th March and will be updated regularly.  They are also planning online drop in /sign up sessions where we can support over specific topics or provide an opportunity for questions and answers to the CYPF Education team.

Easy read guides and advice

Easy read posters

All Photosymbols’ coronavirus posters can now be downloaded here


Books, posters and colouring in to download

For children with ALN

Chatter –the best List of FREE Speech, Language, communication and SEND resources for schools and parent/carers – (free to download for individual use copyright restrictions apply)

Communication and interaction Resources to help parents, carers and families support pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs during the period of school closures.

Sensory Stuck at Home is a Facebook page where parents of autistic children share ideas of activities to do in the house.

BBC CBeebies for special needs
Resources and help for children with additional needs from the BBC, including Mr Tumble!

ITV Signed Stories
Signed Stories help improve the literacy of deaf children from infancy upwards. The website also provides useful advice and guidance for parents, carers and teachers of deaf children, and for the deaf parents of hearing children.

The Letterbox Library
Catalogue of disability-related books for disabled children and their siblings, and for use in school or other settings, that promote understanding and explain ‘difference’ for all ages from babies to eleven years old

Worksheets in Braille – BrailleWeek 

http:// https://www.swansea.gov.uk/resourcesforvulnerablelearner The Educational Psychologists and Learning Support Team in Swansea have put together a series of resources for parents/carers of primary and secondary age pupils in the following areas of need and some that are more general

Resources to support those with – Visual impairment

A list of resources to support learners with Down Syndrome and their families – Down Syndrome 

Dyslexia friendly – free, fun resources – Crossbow Education 

Dyslexia AssistBy Parents for Parents : By Children for Childrenhttps://dyslexia-assist.org.uk/for-parents/

CrickerSoft – Reading and writing software for all abilities – Free during this period

FREE downloadable inclusive resources – Inclusive teach 

Sight word practice

Advice, learning activities and recommended toys, books, and resources for children with SEND – SEN resources blog 

Free apps to support students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, have reading difficulties – Accessibite 

Phonic reading games for all children, including those who cannot read or have dyslexia. Email: trugs@readsuccessfully.com for 20% off using cv2020  – Trugs

Sensory Project – List of online, sensory learning resources

Free access to Clicker at home during this period – CrickSoftware 

Life skills challenges – A programme for young people with SEND

SEN Teacher.org – Free SEND resources

Occupational Therapy resources

TTS – A curriculum-focused independent learning resource with over 40 home learning activities all planned and all prepared!

Twinkle Home Education Resources

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re offering everyone Twinkl Ultimate free for a month, to help keep children learning at home.

Visit www.twinkl.co.uk/offer and enter the code PARENTSTWINKLHELPS to set up your free month of Twinkl Ultimate.

Chatter pack  A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources!

For older children, here are 50 free revision resources for 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels

Resources & support services for families of children with additional needs during the COVID 19 (Coronavirus) pandemic– CWM Taf health board area Rhondda; Taff Ely; Merthyr; North Cynon; South Cynon; Bridgend East; Bridgend West, and Bridgend North.

Sleep Advice for children with Autism -Sleep Advisor

Relaxation and well being

For help with coping and feeling anxious visit the NHS website’s tips on dealing with anxiety.

The Guardian newspaper has also written a piece specifically about managing anxiety around coronavirus.

And the NHS has top tips on maintaining wellbeing – vital for parent carers.

Childline has a ‘calm zone’, with videos, activities, games, and calming activities to help children who are worried about anything

https://www.parents.com/fun/activities/5-mindfulness-activities-you-can-do-as-a-family/

https://heartmindonline.org/resources/mindful-activities-for-families

https://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/news/general-parenting/eight-ways-to-bring-mindfulness-into-your-family

Cerebra – Emotional wellbeing for parents and carers of children with a learning disability

https://www.camhs-resources.co.uk/
This site was created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together lots of helpful resources from across the internet that are available to help support your mental health and well-being. 7 tips for helping children

Seven tips for helping children keep calm
simple relaxation and mindfulness activities together and help your child learn to calm down when they feel stressed or anxious.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has produced this activity pack that has fun things to do at home.

Apps 

  • Stop Breathe Think – Check in with how you’re feeling, and try short activities tuned to your emotions. 
  • Headspace – mindfulness tools for your everyday life  
  • Stay Alive App from Grassroots Suicide Prevention 
  • CalmHarm Self harm support app 

Survivors Network a master-post of online resources, from mental health self-care to ways you can feel like you’ve left the house. We hope they help. Online resources available during social distancing and self-isolation

Online learning resources

With most children out of school, there are lots of apps and websites to help to still support their learning and development.

This list has 15 suggestions for various age groups and this list is of apps that help and support children and young people with autism.


Maths
Conquermaths.
Khan Academy
Prodigy Maths
Mathseeds -Mathseeds teaches kids aged 3-9 the core maths and problem solving skills needed to be successful at school with fun, highly interactive and rewarding lessons.
IXL is here to support you during school closures. Get resources for at‑home learning no

Themathsfactor: https://www.themathsfactor.com/signin

Explorify which is focus on science: https://www.explorify.wellcome.ac.uk

Brainpop quiz: https://www.brainpop.com/quiz

Learn to code at home for free with Code Camp World. You can learn how to use JavaScript, find out about html and even create your own websites and games. 

There are more coding challenges on Barclays UK’s Youtube. Their Coding Playground Live series teaches basic coding skills using Scratch.

If you want to find more ideas with Scratch then their website has loads more ideas to get you into coding. Create a game, learn to make a character fly and animate letters. After that it’s only your imagination that can stop you.

For help with maths for 4-11 year olds National Numeracy has you covered. Their activity pack is available to donload and contains 28 activities to try out. They also have loads of links to places to test your maths skills even further.

English

Emily Weston – 16 activities that children can use to aid their home reading, or their reading in school. It has a range of skills included such as prediction, summarising and inferenc

The reading lesson. Book- By Michael Levin and Charan Langton.
Reading Eggs.
Wild Literacy
Reading eggspress
Borrow Box. – libraries of Wales borrow box
Scholastic 100 lessons books.

Phonics Play

Science

Fitness

Over 200,000 people joined Joe Wicks online for his first live PE lesson on Youtube. Happening every week day at 9.00am, it’s a great way to get you moving and ready to start your day.

You can work out with a Team GB athlete every Wednesday with their Workout Wednesday. Previous athletes have included gymnasts Max Whitelock and Aimee Fuller, climber Shauna Coxsey and freestyle skier Rowan Cheshire.

Geography

  • Oddizzi.  Oddizzi is an online, subscription-based geography resource
    The Geogrpahy Book by Caroline Arnold
    Scholastic – 100 Geography lessons
  • National Geographic Kids: Activities and quizzes for younger kids. 

History

Horrible Histories! The books, the series. Super engaging!
Scholastic 100 History lessons
60 second Histories  

BBC Newsround has helpful information for children about the coronavirus, including explainer videos. They also have a ‘happy news’ section to brighten the day

While all of our museums, theatres and cultural venues are closed to the public, there are still lots of things you can do online.

Many major museums and organisations in the UK and abroad are running virtual tours, for example the British Museum.

Learn how to draw with official World Book Day illustrator Rob Biddolph. Lessons happen every Tuesday and Thursday at 10.00am. You can follow them live on his Twitter page or watch them back on his website.

Practice your drawing skills with the Natural History Museum’s Nature Drawing Club. They will post a new topic every Friday on their Twitter page and then it’s up to you to draw or paint.

To find out more about the Natural History Museum you can use their take part and education resources. Learn about their collections, the nature around you and the science that is carried out everyday at the museum.

Miscellaneous

Online Lego workshop, Gruffalo workshop, and lots more. Plus stories read by Tony Ross, author – 7 stories, Facebook 

If you are looking to learn more about money then the Royal Mint have new activities for kids based around money and the coins we use everyday. You can even design your own coin, though we don’t think you will be able to go shopping with it.

Learn to touch-type – Free access

Learning with MineCraft – Education MineCraft

Vroom – Helping learning during shared moments, such as bath time

Toy Theatre – Fun educational resources

The Scouts have launched a new initiative called The Great Indoors. All of the activities are designed to be done in your house so there is no excuse not to try it out. Activities are aimed at 6 to 14 year olds but anyone can have a go. Once you have had a go at these you can use their activity finder to find even more things to do


Living Paintings (UK)
Free postal library supporting blind and partially sighted adults, children and young people. They make tactile versions of pictures that come to life when fingers feel them.

Virtual toursThis website allows you to visit museums from the comfort of your home.

100 things to do indoorsYou can download this book free of cost and make staying indoors fun and use the time to help yourself and others.

Keep exercising – On this page you can find movement and mindfulness videos to keep you children active.

Best virtual museums

Virtual tour of museums family tours

Swansea Library has online e-books and magazines

A long list of educational resources

For those who like structure. Various celebrities are offering for free daily to help with their children education while schools are closed (from Skint dad)

9:00amPE with Joe Wicks

10:00am Maths with Carol Vorderman

11:00amEnglish with David Walliams

12:00pm Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver)

1:00pmMusic with Myleene Klass

1:30pm Dance with Darcey Bussel

2:00pmHistory with Dan Snow (free for 30 days)

4:00pmHome Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri)

Other YouTube Sites that may be of interest:Chris Packhams – Youtube – Bird Club

Oti Mabuse is doing dancing classes’ each day at 11:30 on facebook

Maddie Moate – youtube – Let’s go Live with Maddie and Greg

More to Keep Your Children Occupied & Learning

Cardboard Spaceships: A place to share free online teaching, education and entertainment ideas for children at home 

Homeschooling UK: Emergency group set up by teachers to help families 

Will Sliney gives daily drawing challenges for children using #wewilldraw and shares tutorials 

“Boogie Monsters” (a live rock and pop band for children under 7) are doing daily live keyboard request videos each day at 4.30pm for the whole family – access them through their Facebook group

Khan Academy: Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it’s mostly common material. 

BBC Bitesize. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer. 

BBC Learning: This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer. 

Seneca: For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material. 

Blockly: Learn computer programming skills – fun and free. 

Scratch: Creative computer programming 

Ted Ed: All sorts of engaging educational videos 

The Kids Should See This: Wide range of cool educational videos 

Crash Course: You Tube videos on many subjects  

Crash Course Kids: As above for a younger audience 

Paw Print Badges: Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional. 

Tinkercad: All kinds of making. 

Prodigy Maths: Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age. 

Cbeebies Radio: Listening activities for the younger ones. 

Nature Detectives: A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location! 

British Council: Resources for English language learning 

Oxford Owl for Home: Lots of free resources for Primary age 

Big History Project: Aimed at Secondary age. Multi-disciplinary activities. 

Geography Games: Geography gaming! 

Blue Peter Badges: If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.  

The Artful Parent: Good, free art activities  

Red Ted Art: Easy arts and crafts for little ones 

The Imagination Tree: Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest. 

Toy Theater: Educational online games 

DK Find Out: Activities and quizzs A small collection of anti-oppressive, anti-racist homeschool curriculum ideas and resources. Very American focused, but a good list of non-online stuff to do with children towards the end!  

Cincinatti Zoo are holding livestreams at 7pm UK time every day that the US schools are closed:  

Live cameras at San Diego Zoo 

school when school is closed reception year 1 & year 2

Craft ideas to survive coronavirus lockdown

COVID-19 homeschool and isolation ideas

SNAP Cymru telephone helpline experiencing unprecedented demand

The SNAP Cymru telephone helpline is currently under extreme pressure – with the unprecedented demand showing no sign of easing. This is exasperated by the higher than usual number of staff off with seasonal colds and flu. This is likely to continue in the coming weeks.

People are encouraged to ‘do their bit’ to reduce pressure on the helpline by completing the ‘Get Help’ Enquiry Form and submitting it rather than phoning the helpline. One of our trained advisers will send you a reply by email (or call you back if requested). We aim to provide you with the relevant information within five working days.

The Advice section of our website also contains lots of information including template letters and advice sheets.

 

 

 

Overhaul of how the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed and met

This year and next new reforms will overhaul how the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed and met.

This December the new Additional Learning needs Bill was presented to the Welsh Assembly and pass through several stages before becoming Law next Autumn. This will begin several years of replacing SEN statements with Individual Development Plans. Changes to assessment are designed to place the child and their family at the centre of consultations with Schools and  local authorities (LAs)and make the whole process more integrated, collaborative which should facilitate early, timely and effective support

A fair and transparent system of resolving concerns

Many families have concerns that LAs as pre-destined to deny families the provision they want or feel their child needs, and cast statutory assessment as a fight of David versus Goliath proportions. Perhaps inevitably, battle-lines get drawn in some minds before they even approach the LA.  The new process will hopefully change this ‘fight’.

SNAP Cymru has always provided measured guidance for parents who are dissatisfied with school or LA’s responses and our intention has always been to help families avoid the prospect of legal action or costly, stressful disputes over what ought to be a collaborative process between families and professionals based on the best interest of the child.

The new Bill and code of practice (which will follow next Spring/summer), suggests a move away from the widespread default model.  It emphasises the significance of “high quality teaching” and high aspirations for children as part of a ‘transformation programme’ and workforce development. http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/pupilsupport/additoinal-learning-needs-reform/?lang=en

When the English reforms took place from 2014 onward, and statements were changed to Education and Health Care plans the English government announced a £30m scheme to train “independent supporters to assist parents through the SEN process and their request for an EHCP. No such money on the horizon here just innovation funding for LA’s to plan for the process.

The Welsh Government Law will describe a fair and transparent system for providing information and advice, and for resolving disagreements, although there are concerns that Local Authorities may take this opportunity to reject independent support and advice preferring to take services ‘in -house’ as happened in Pembrokeshire.  Whilst these service are informative (many appoint ex SNAP Cymru  staff)  it can never offer a reliable  independent perspective.

For the time being, local authorities and all those who work with children and young people with SEN, must ensure that they continue to comply with the duties placed upon them by the Education Act 1996. They must also continue to have regard to the SEN Code of Practice for Wales, (The SEN Code of Practice can be accessed on our website) and must continue to accept requests for Statutory assessments  and write and maintain Statements of Special Educational Needs.

You could help shape this Bill

SNAP Cymru will be supporting the Welsh Government Children, Young People and Education Committee to ‘hear’ parent’s voices to assist them with the scrutiny of the Bill.  If you are a parent of a child with SEN,  informed about the reform so far, passionate and have a real interest in sharing your perspective with the AMs on this committee – give us a call or send us an email- we may be able to offer you place to have your views heard.

You can also contact your local AM who can feed your views into the process.

If you’ve received a great service from SNAP Cymru and are concerned about the potential loss of Independent support and Parent partnership from the Bill and COP or the way in which this could be weakened- let your AMs know.

There is an exciting time ahead for SEN,  moving from one system to another and replacing statements with IDPs could be great news, but it also has the potential to cause anxiety for lots of parents.  SNAP Cymru is here to support family concerns through this process.  If you are worried or have any questions, please contact us through our helpline 0845 1203730 helpline @snapcymru.org or directly to training@snapcymru.org or 01554778288.

 

 

Working with disabled young children and their families in Anglesey

Finding out your child has a disability or medical condition can be difficult and bewildering. Parents of disabled children need support, information and advice as early as possible.  Obviously all families are different, so at SNAP Cymru we provide a range of support for families through our Parent Partnership and Dispute Resolution services and also more directly with families through our Welsh Government  Family First funded projects. One such service is our Sir Fôn Portage service which essentially provides an opportunity for children to develop through play – a service which gets a big thumbs-up from most parents

What does a Portage Home Visitor do?

Our Anglesey Portage workers Sian and Sandra offer key-working support for parents with young children from 0 to starting school age who have an emerging diagnosis of disability or severe and complex medical condition in order to promote better understanding and access to all the available services to families. They also provide regular support in the home to parents/carers of children from 18 months to 3 &1/2 who have a moderate developmental delay utilising the Portage model. Central to this approach is empowering families so they can help their child develop.

Our portage workers visits families regularly at home to offer help, advice, and guidance and give practical suggestions about what families can do to help their child. The help offered will vary according to a child’s needs, but things like, toilet-training and bedtime routines; information about what extra help is available (Family Fund, DLA etc) arranging a place for summer play scheme etc. Sian and Sandra use play to support children’s development, give family members ideas for activities they could try with their child at home, including support for parents to introduce their child to a range of sensory play and messy play experiences.

The service is not just for children with special educational needs – it can help any child who needs help with developmental issues. Our portage workers will help assess what the child can do across all areas of development and decide with the parent or carer on some long term targets broken down into small step activities

SNAP Works closely with other professionals helping the child or family and sometimes makes joint visits with other professionals involved with the child.

For example; our Portage worker was able to form a close relationship with a family during weekly visits. As a result, the parents were assisted to keep on top of appointments and sessions were delivered for the parent and little girl, as she had missed so many of her nursery sessions. Our portage worker also came up with a very effective but simple solutions to help the parents continue attending the child’s appointments; a pin board and bright coloured post-it notes. This particular child has speech and language difficulties and although our Portage worker is currently using a visual materials symbols for instructions the long term goal is still to develop the child’s ability to speak.

In addition, the child has been re-referred to speech therapy and appointments with a Community Paediatrician and Community Dental Practice have been re-arranged. By arranging a transfer to a school within the family’s catchment area, her attendance at nursery has improved.  A crucial relationship was formed through working with the Nursery’s with the SEN Early Years Co-ordinator, pre-school Education Psychologist and with Uned ABC and concerns about the little girl language development were shared.

SNAP’s relationship with Barnado’s locally allowed us to provide support during an initial meeting regarding Mindfulness sessions focusing on depression and anger issues.

In addition in order to address the Mum’s low self-esteem a volunteer with SNAP Cymru met up with the mother to research opportunities for returning to further education or finding employment.  Mum think the “service is brilliant!”