With schools closing, many parents are homeschooling their children. This may be more challenging if your child has Special Educational Needs (SEN). But there's online support and a range of educational and fun activities to help you through this difficult time.
If your child has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), they may still be able to go to school.
Find out what support your child's school can give you
Schools should provide guidance and support in home learning tasks for your child. They should tell you what your child needs to learn to continue their education. If they have not, ask them for help or contact your local authority's education department for support.
If your child gets SEN support or has an EHCP, the school and local authority still have a duty to support your child even if they are staying home. Talk to your child’s school about what they can continue to provide at home, such as support sessions with a specialist teacher over video.
If you’re not getting support from the school, complain to your local authority. They should help make sure your child gets the provision in their EHCP or a reasonable alternative while they are at home.
Every family and every child is different. Some families can commit a lot of time to their child's learning, while others are balancing working from home and children with varying needs. Try not to compare yourself with other families.
You are not expected to provide the full curriculum to your child. All children will learn at different levels during lockdown. The most important thing is keeping your family happy and healthy.
Motivation and routine
There are a few ways you can help your child with motivation and encourage positive learning.
It can also help to create a homeschooling schedule or routine. Within your schedule, you may find it useful to give your child a choice of 2 educational activities. This helps them to feel they have a choice.
"What would you like to do? We could draw a picture of a rainbow for the window or we could do a science quiz."
Resources and activities
There are plenty of online resources, from teaching packs and activities to apps and online games. We've tried to collect together a range of activities to suit children with different abilities and needs. There are many more online and you'll know best the type of activities that suit your child.
Homeschool resources for children with SEND
There are some resources that could be particularly helpful for children with SEND:
All homeschooling parents will be worrying about how they're teaching and how their child is doing compared to other kids. Adding more stress and anxiety around schooling will not help. Remember that you are an expert on your child and any time spent at home can be a positive educational experience.
Think about things you can do with your children that you may also find relaxing and therapeutic. This could be:
Learning does not have to be structured academic lessons. When you walk outside and see the seasons changing, this can lead onto biology, nature and the weather. While baking a cake, you could talk about how heat changes ingredients from solids to liquids or you could practise maths skills with weighing and measuring.
Children also learn a lot of valuable skills through play. You can focus on things like how you are working as a team or how creative they are becoming.
Write down at the end of each day something you have achieved as a family.
look for local online groups or pages for parents of children with special educational needs
Many local authorities have parent carer forums that work with the council to make sure that local services meet the needs of disabled children and their families. Ask your local authority if there is a parent carer forum in your area.