All posts in “Families”

11 Fun Ways You Can Keep Your Kid Active during Pandemic

This is a guest post, by Charles Vallena of TheSleepMatters (

The pandemic can keep children restricted with the number of activities that they can do at home. Unlike the usual setting without the imposed health protocols and community rules, becoming fit and active with the coronavirus pandemic can be a struggle.


Health experts advocate for children to make physical activities part of their daily lives, promoting healthier growth and helping them maintain the appropriate weight for their age. To keep children engaged in physical activities, check out these fun ways that will help them enjoy being active.


1. Do sports at home


Experts recommend children stay active with at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Playing sports is among the most efficient ways to keep your children competitive and active at the same time. Sports at-home – roller blades, swimming (if you have a pool), and even shooting some hoops, can keep them very active during the pandemic.


Sports have a lot of interpersonal, emotional, and physical benefits for children. It develops their motor and social skills, and it also promotes self-confidence. Most of all, sports are fun to play for all ages.


2. Learn how to play the guitar

Letting kids become musically inclined will let them explore more of their interests. Learning how to play the guitar keeps their minds sharp. Music experts at Guitar Junky said even young kids can try learning a few chords and let them enjoy the instrument on their own.


kids guitar is easy to find and portable so they can continue to learn playing the instrument at home or your nearby music school. Aside from the guitar, you can also let your children learn other musical instruments, and let them choose the instrument to learn with the given time.


3. Get them into kids’ yoga


Wondering how you can keep your children interested in yoga when you are not an expert? There are a lot of online yoga classes that you can take with your children. There are yoga videos that are fun and challenging for kids and parents.


Aside from varied yoga poses, yoga also keeps them focused, developing their mental growth. Yoga videos are great for those kids who love screen time because they can enjoy watching while also learning how to be active.

4. Make a fun obstacle course


Another thing that spells out fun is having an obstacle course at home. You can always build your obstacle course that  you can design and construct based on their physical capabilities.


Ninja ropes and old tires can be used to make a DIY-obstacle course.  Nevertheless, DIY obstacle courses are fun ways to keep kids active, while also helping you recycle old or unused tools and objects. These obstacle courses also encourage creativity and resourcefulness for your kids. 

5. Play indoor games

Simple indoor games like hide and seek, board games, and even their toys, can promote physical activity among children. Indoor games are more fun especially when parents, or their siblings, interact and engage with their play.


Encourage children to spend time off their screens and let them have fun with their toys at home. There are a lot of age-appropriate games that make children more physically active. Make sure to let them play with safe and non-toxic toys for their indoor games.


6. Grow plants

If you want your kids to be responsible, giving them a pet is ideal. But, if you want to train your children on how to be responsible while still being physically active, let them grow their plants, but teaching them how to cultivate plants or grow flowers makes them more responsible, as they learn how to take care of their plants daily.


Gardening is something you can enjoy with your kids, especially in activities like trimming stems and watering the plants.  While this activity can get them dirty from time to time, it can teach them to become more responsible and allow them to be more aware of their surroundings.


7. Do a backyard camping


Nothing is more exciting than enjoying backyard camping at home. Involve your kids in setting up camp, gathering some ingredients for some outdoor s’mores, picking up wood for the campfire, and having some fun camping games. Backyard camping is something they can look forward to in these times, and you can still let them enjoy camping even at home.


8. Make DIY projects

One of the things that spark creativity in children and parents is fun DIY projects. There are a lot of easy DIY projects that they can do at home –tie-dye shirts, slimes, sock puppets, playdough, even their fort. The possibilities are endless with the DIY projects that you can make at home.


9. Have dance parties at home


Dance parties at home are fun ways to keep active. Children are more active when engaged with music. Funky and groovy songs let them throw their dance moves on the floor. There are a lot of trendy dance challenges on the internet that will encourage them to learn those moves.


10. Have a game night with the family


Charades, freeze games, twister, and treasure hunting are fun game night activities. Schedule a game night with the whole family to let your kids have something to look forward to. Game night encourages social skills, graceful winning or losing, as well as following rules for kids. Games are also great for bonding with the family.


11. Cook and bake with your kids

Cooking or baking with your young ones is very beneficial for both parents and children. Cooking and baking are low-intensity physical activities as it involves walking, upper arm workout, and even fine motor activities. Kids learn a lot from cooking or baking simple recipes. It also promotes confidence and it lets them explore their taste and other senses.


Experts recommend kids have about 60 minutes of physical activity every day for healthier mental, emotional, and physical growth. Even amid the pandemic, your kids can still be active in a lot of different fun ways.


Being physically active in the eyes of your children can set a great example for them to follow. You must engage your kids in age-appropriate activities, and they should be enjoyable so they will anticipate more activities in the coming days.


Bethan’s story

Sharing your experiences, the challenges you’ve overcome and any support we have provided, can help us in so many ways: when we talk to parents to reassure them they’re not alone and show what you can achieve with the right support.

When you tell us about your experiences including any help you have received from SNAP Cymru, we can share your stories to help even more families across Wales. This lovely feedback was sent to us this week from Bethan who was looking for an appropriate placement for her son David. We were thrilled to read it.

Maybe you used our Helpline or website for advice on a difficult situation or had more in-depth casework support from us.  We’d love to hear from you. If we have supported you, tell us how and why you got involved with us and how it helped.  You can use the feedback form on the contact page or let your local family and young peoples officer know.  

We love hearing from you.  

Bethan’s story

To whom it may concern,

 I am writing to express my upmost gratitude for the help I have received from SNAP Cymru and Donna Morgan.  Below is a summary of our journey:

I had been striving for 18 months to get my son David into the right placement, which would be able to meet his exhaustive list of needs. The relationship with David’s school had broken down. I felt the LA were supportive of the school and didn’t ‘hear’ my concerns and queries. At this point I had hit rock bottom. I then got in contact with SNAP Cymru and arranged a meeting via Teams with the LEA, school, SNAP and myself.    On the morning of the meeting, I was completing my list of points in preparation when my mobile phone started ringing.  Upon answering the phone, I heard a very unfamiliar, friendly strong valleys accent, it was Donna.   At this point I felt very anxious and apprehensive as David’s case was extraordinarily complex lengthy and in depth.

Donna amazed me with her expansive knowledge, she was highly informative, friendly, and helpful.   From that day forward my life changed for the better, for once I felt I had a chance to get David the provision his needs warrants.  What followed over the next few weeks can only be described as an informative journey, that I will not forget.

Donna worked tirelessly on my case, educating me, informing me about  statement content, panels, processes and transitions.  Donna very much became one of my rocks.  

Donna’s passion, determination and knowledge coupled with her superb people skills, complete professionalism and friendly demeanour completely shined through during every conversation, meeting, and email.

 Thanks to Donna:

  • I have a better understanding of statement process.
  • A passion has been awoken in me to pursue a job within advocacy, to one day help parents like me.
  • David has been awarded the appropriate provision.

I do struggle to find the words which fully express my gratitude to Donna Morgan and SNAP Cymru. Without your service many families would be in dire situations.   Thank you Snap Cymru and Thank you Donna Morgan.

Best wishes

Bethan Bodman

We love hearing from our families. If you’d like to help more people like Bethan and David please get in touch with us at or follow the buttons below to find out how to volunteer or fundraise for us

Related content

Something for everyone

Everyone’s reason for volunteering is unique, from meeting people to learning new skills and making a difference. Our volunteers come from all backgrounds and we have a range of roles to suit everyone.

If you’re interested in volunteering with us please complete and submit the application form, or for more information please see our volunteering page

Read more about how some of our volunteers in Mid Wales help SNAP Cymru to help our families

10 Ways You Can Help Your Kid with Special Needs Sleep Better at Night

This is a guest article by Charles Vallena (


Everyone needs a peaceful slumber for optimum health and wellness. Children sleep more than adults because it is necessary for their growth and development. 

Unfortunately, children with special needs can have problems sleeping because of physical, mental, and developmental issues. If you have such a child, here are ten ways you can help your kid with special needs sleep better at night. 



1. Create a Relaxing and Cozy Environment

Putting soothing and relaxing items in your child’s bedroom can improve his sense of security whenever you tuck him into his bed for the night. Soft lights, mellow sounds, and a comfortable mattress, pillows, and blanket can all help in calming his mind. 

According to Dr. John DeGarmo of the Foster Care Institute, using weighted blankets can encourage relaxation and improve mood by promoting the more efficient release of dopamine and serotonin, allowing kids with special needs to sleep better.


2. Play Soothing Sounds

Studies show that music can induce a mental or physical state conducive to sleep, while also blocking external or internal stimulus from disrupting the sleep. Calming music can send your child to slumberland in as little as three minutes. You can also use his favorite audiobook to help him fall asleep.

It would be best to set the soothing music on continuous play. Should your child stir and wake up in the middle of the night, he can fall back to sleep a lot faster because of the familiar calming sound.

3. Have an Early Dinner

Having dinner as close to bedtime as possible will not help your child fall asleep fast, said experts at Sleep Matters . His digestive system will still be too busy processing the food he ate at dinner time. It would be best to have dinner at least two hours before going to bed.

It will also help kids with special needs to fuel up at dinner. You can give them healthy, complex carbs and proteins to put low blood sugar in check. The body processes proteins and complex carbs a lot longer than simple sugars, preventing a dip in blood glucose that can awaken your child at night.

4. Avoid Stimulating Drinks and Food before Bedtime

Avoid giving your child stimulant foods and drinks before bedtime because these food items activate some neurotransmitters that can make falling asleep difficult and keep him awake longer. 

Dark chocolates, aged cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, spicy foods, cured meats, pizza, onion rings, French fries, sugar cereals, chocolate cakes, and energy drinks are a no-no. 

Additionally, avoid caffeine. For example, a cold brew coffee has a caffeine content of 200 mg for a 16-ounce cup.

5. Ask Your Doctor for a Melatonin Supplement

Contrary to what many people think, melatonin does not put you to sleep. However, it prepares the mind into a state of relaxed and quiet wakefulness, promoting sleep. It calms the brain, allowing it to slow its processes for regenerative and restorative rest and sleep.

You can ask your doctor to prescribe a melatonin supplement for your kid with special needs. The recommended dose is 0.3 to 0.5 mg about an hour before bedtime. If your child has ADHD or autism spectrum, he may require a larger dose of 2 to 6 mg.

6. Consider Using Natural Remedies

If you are not comfortable giving your child synthetic melatonin, you can ask your doctor about natural sleep-promoting remedies. For example, Dr. Nicole Beurkens recommends Valerian1000 essential oil to children with neurodevelopmental disorders, cognitive impairment, and ADHD.

Another natural remedy you can try is Vetiver essential oil. You can rub this essential oil on your child’s belly button right before he goes to bed. Some parents are also successful in helping their kids sleep better at night by using a diffuser for the essential oil.

7. Get a Lightbox

Children with specific learning disabilities can benefit from a lightbox to help them sleep better. Studies show that a normal circadian rhythm promotes efficient memory consolidation, an integral component of learning. 

Light therapy can help reset your child’s circadian rhythm, promoting sleep, and allowing him to fall asleep faster. The trick is to use the correct light intensity to reset the body’s normal body clock. Exposing your child to very bright light for 30 minutes in the morning can also help.

8. Make Space in Your Bedroom

Most kids with special needs wake up at night feeling anxious and scared. In many instances, they get out of their bed and head straight to their parents’ bedroom to feel safe and secure. If your child happens to be like this, you may want to modify your bedroom.

If your bedroom has ample space, adding a small bed can help provide your child a temporary safe haven for him to feel safe and comfortable. He can continue his sleep without waking you up. A futon mattress is perfect for bedrooms with limited space.

9. Consider Giving Your Child a Body Pillow

Body pillows are perfect for maintaining optimum spinal alignment and pressure point relief. However, did you know that it can also provide your child a sense of security and feelings of comfort?

Giving your child a large body pillow he can hug during sleep can help him stay asleep better. He feels more secure, mimicking the sensations of having his mom cuddle him as he goes to and stays in slumberland.

10. Put Your Kid Snuggly to Bed

Many kids consider their blankets and beddings as a form of security. It helps them feel calm and relaxed, allowing them to sleep better. Unfortunately, constant movements during sleep can remove the blanket or loosen the bedding, awakening the child.

It will help if you put your child to sleep and tuck in the blanket tightly under the mattress. Doing so will give your child a sense of safety while also feeling comfortable. You can weigh down the edges of your kid’s blanket to keep him snug.


There are more than ten ways you can help your kid with special needs sleep better at night. One thing parents must remember is to understand and appreciate their children’s unique needs. It will give them an idea of the best possible approach to secure a more peaceful and restful slumber for their young loved ones.

Immigration Advice Service : Supporting Asylum Seeking Children

SNAP Cymru aims to support children and young people who encounter barriers to their education – all children deserve to reach their full potential! Our SNAP team can offer free and independent information and advice, as well as advocacy and training. Our services are open to any child/young person experiencing barriers to their learning (and any adult supporting them), and can be accessed via our helpline (0808 801 0608), or online enquiry form (Contact – SNAP Cymru).

We are proud to be working in partnership with the Immigration Advice Service – the following article is a guest piece written by Aileen Bowe (Writer and Correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service). 

Much more is needed : Educational Opportunities for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Overview of the situation

When an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC) arrives in the UK, they enter a system that ostensibly has been designed to provide quality care and treat them in the same way as UK-born children. However, this is not always the case. Reports frequently show poorer outcomes for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

One of the ways that this is visible is in the educational journey for children with these backgrounds. As we outline in more detail in this article, while motivation can be very high for asylum-seeking children at primary and secondary level, this can then fall dramatically when it comes to moving to third level education as a result of systemic obstacles placed in the way of further progression.


What happens when UASC arrive in the UK?

Worldwide, there are 13 million child refugees. Since 2016, over 9,000 unaccompanied children have requested asylum in the UK. In the year ending March 2020, there were 2,205 grants of leave made in the UK to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (including grants of asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, UASC leave and other grants).

When a UASC arrives in the UK, they will either submit an asylum claim at their port of entry or at the national intake unit in Croydon. Local authorities are responsible for the welfare of children who are not accompanied by parents or guardians. The child may be transferred out of the care of the first council in which they are placed in if there is insufficient capacity to provide care.


Key considerations for unaccompanied child asylum seekers

It is widely accepted that unaccompanied refugee or asylum-seeking children have higher risks of developing mental health problems. As well as this, they are more likely to have experienced a number of adverse childhood events or traumatic experiences, including the death of parents or close family members, exposure to violence, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and severe deprivation of basic needs.

Significant” numbers of vulnerable young people have regularly been reported missing by authorities, and in some cases, even end up being trafficked or subject to further abuse. In 2020, following the onset of the pandemic, some forms of legislation designed to protect vulnerable children were removed. The Guardian reported that a 17-year-old unaccompanied child asylum seeker went missing from care after his in-person support was cancelled due to the legislation. Authorities stated he had not been accessing his support payments and there were serious concerns about his welfare.

This problem is not limited to the UK, as a recent report found that at least 18,000 unaccompanied child migrants have gone missing since 2018 after their arrival in European countries. The Lost in Europe project undertook research that found many European countries had child asylum systems that were not fit for purpose.


Accessing education as an unaccompanied child asylum seeker

Even the promise of an education and the hope that this brings with it is not a guarantee to unaccompanied asylum-seeking or migrant children. A Unicef report in 2018 found that no region in the UK was meeting its requirements to enrol asylum-seeking children into schools within their 20-day target.

Children with asylum seeker or refugee status under the age of 18 years have the same entitlements as British-born children, however, they may face additional obstacles, including language challenges, adapting to a new educational system, gaps in education history, social isolation, discrimination, or racism. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

Unicef report into educational opportunities for UAS children

Unicef commissioned a report into the educational journey for refugee and asylum-seeking children which was published in 2020 and aimed to identify the barriers faced by these children transitioning to further or higher education.

The report found some of the primary factors preventing young people with these immigrant backgrounds from progressing with their education included lack of support and encouragement, poor mental health or emotional wellbeing, and poverty and disadvantage.

Some of its findings make for difficult reading. Despite facing significant disadvantages, the issues involved in accessing further or higher education are often prohibitive. One person quoted in the report stated, “even if [young people] are ready and willing to go to college, literally a £1.50 bus fare is what stops them.”

Another major challenge cited by respondents found that stakeholders frequently gave inaccurate or incorrect information about accessing opportunities for further study at higher level. The report noted, “Half of key informants described how young people are often given wrong information about their eligibility to study at FE level, including from teachers, social workers and other professionals supporting them.” It was reported that there was a widespread lack of awareness of the rights of young people in accessing further education.

Another area that represents significant disadvantages for young people with asylum seeker backgrounds relates to how young people access courses. Young people cite the challenges of gathering documents required by admissions officers and institutions. For unaccompanied child asylum seekers, it is not unusual for them to be unable to gather the required documents from their home countries to prove their levels of educational attainment.


Supporting young people with asylum seeker backgrounds

The report lays out its findings on the different stakeholders and what is needed to improve the life outcomes of these children. These include interventions or policy changes from the Department for Education, the Home Office, higher and further education institutions, schools, voluntary organisations and private sector organisations. Some of the recommendations include:

  • The Home Office should provide clear guidance to educational institutes in relation to the Student Visa immigration permission and the rules around people with asylum seeker or refugee status
  • Further education institutes should exercise appropriate discretion and flexibility when dealing with students applying for courses or funding
  • Schools should establish effective pastoral and mental health systems to provide encouragement and tailored support for young people who wish to continue within education
Photo by Juan Serrano Arenas from Pexels

Organisations working to support asylum seeking young people

In Wales, there are several organisations working to provide support and care to refugee and asylum-seeking families and children. Many of these have an understanding of adverse childhood events and the impact these have on life outcomes.

Displaced People in Action (Wales) has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Wales since 2001. They provide a range of much-needed supports, with the ultimate mission of empowering these individuals to become more confident, more integrated, and self-sufficient.

Similarly, SNAP Cymru provides support to individuals who have faced discrimination in education. The work of these organisations in ensuring equal educational opportunities for all children in the UK, no matter their background, is vitally important.

Another recent and comprehensive report jointly published by the WHO, Wales Public Health, and the Cymru Well Wales Adverse Childhood Events Support Hub. The report highlights the potential for adverse childhood events (ACE) to occur throughout the migration journey. This can include pre-migration, on the migration journey, and post-migration. The report notes that, “By the time a displaced child arrives in a host country, he or she is likely to have experienced a multitude of ACEs due to their reasons for migrating and on their journeys to host countries.”

Despite the significant difficulties and often traumatic experiences of children with asylum seeker backgrounds, the report found that many children have a strong commitment to education and have ambitions to enter higher education. However, it is important to point out that not there is not always a negative relationship between war trauma and lower educational outcomes – in some instances, there can be insignificant or even positive effects on educational attainment.



It can be difficult to think about the struggles and challenges faced by asylum-seeking children, and it is impossible not to empathise with the hardships they have seen. Despite this, numerous studies[i] have shown that these groups of children are incredibly resilient, and if given opportunities, they show the capacity to embrace opportunities for growth and development.

Even for adults, there are extensive difficulties involved in getting immigration permissions to stay in the UK after arriving as an asylum seeker. The route towards citizenship is a complex path, and this is especially the case for children. Becoming a UK citizen brings with it many freedoms and can offer second chance at life for many children.

The value of education for improving life outcomes and improving mental health and wellbeing cannot be overstated. One 2005 study[ii] found that access to school and the opportunity to integrate well into a new educational system can actually mitigate the effects of trauma on young people with refugee backgrounds.

It is incumbent on all of us to continue to fight for equal educational access for all young people, and especially those who face extraordinary. disadvantages and obstacles.


Aileen Bowe is a writer and correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation of immigration solicitors that provides legal aid to forcibly displaced persons.

Parent Carer Forum Resources

Resources will be added to this page as they become available. 




Parent Centred Planning Review:

What are Person Centred Planning Reviews? 

How do they work and what are the benefits? 

English Final PCP parental leaflet March 2021



SEWC PCF Social Media Policies:



New ALN Reform Information

How will the new ALN Reform impact my child?



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

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

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 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:// 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 Children

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: 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 – 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 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

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


  • 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.

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


Explorify which is focus on science:

Brainpop 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.


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



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.


  • 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. 


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.


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.

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 or directly to 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!”