Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

 

Chesham Primary is proud to be an inclusive school.

 

How to support children’s mental health and wellbeing through Covid-19

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on family life. There is uncertainty all around us and you may find it difficult to discuss current issues with your child. The lockdown period has challenged all of us to learn about how to manage our responses and those of our children to the difficult events we face. Child Psychologist, Dr Chloe Paidoussis Mitchell, gives the following key advice:

1. Manage your anxiety first

One of the most important things you can do for your children is look after your own mental health. Notice what triggers your anxiety and take positive action to reduce it.

Self-soothing activities such as baking, gardening, painting, or anything crafty reduces stress and anxiety. Mindfulness and meditation, breathing exercises and good emotional support all help too.

Remember that feelings are contagious and children will quickly pick up anything negative (even if you think you are hiding it). So, moderating your emotions is a big comfort to children because they will feel reassured you are secure and contained.

2. Notice how your child manages stress

Every child is unique. For example, one child may regress, another may seem un-phased, whilst another may need more physical contact. Some children don’t know they are stressed and they act out stress with naughty and difficult behaviours, whilst others report headaches and stomach pains.

Everybody experiences stress in a unique fashion and giving yourself the opportunity to recognise how your child copes with stress will inform your strategy for supporting them.

 3. Reduce your child’s anxiety about Covid-19

Stay calm and regularly have “check-in” conversations with your child to protect and nourish their wellbeing. This means, having chats that allow you to gauge how they are so that you can offer them reassurance if they seem worried. Just being there for them is a big support.

 When we feel understood and emotionally held, we prevent anxiety from ballooning. This applies to children too, so it is vital that you give them permission to ask you any questions they have, whenever they want. Show them you are listening and follow their lead. Reassure them that they are not burdening you with their worries.

During these chats you can also catch misinformation from friends and you can gauge how their imagination may be running wild about the virus and this may be impacting their wellbeing.

Make time to check in with every child one-to-one and do this in an appropriate environment. If they ask you difficult questions, be truthful in an age appropriate fashion. If you don’t know the answer, explain that you don’t know and go and seek the answers together.

It is also really important you explain what you do to help yourself with difficult feelings. This  reassures children that they can cope and they can copy your behaviours and practices. To counter-balance the crisis, it is really good to share stories of compassion and care. So many health workers, young people and scientists are helping others and this is a big comfort to children as it reassures them that many compassionate people are taking positive action together to help those more  vulnerable.

4. Adjust your expectations

During this time, many children may feel confused or anxious about school closure, projects they can’t finish, plays they won’t perform, exams they won’t sit and friendships they may lose – especially if they won’t be returning to that school again.

It is really important that you accept what they feel. If they are anxious, upset, sad, worried, bored, frustrated or down, just let them. They are having normal human responses to the losses they are facing.

Normalise their emotions, accept them and empathise with them. You can really reassure children by acknowledging and giving them safe, non-judgmental space to talk.

 If you are finding that you are worried about their learning and development, adjust your expectations. You can’t replicate the school academic timetable. It is more important during this time of unprecedented crisis that you show some flexibility, you create routines that work for you, and you involve them in their daily plans.

 5. Establish good boundaries and routines

A good plan is reassuring for children. All children need structure and boundaries to thrive. Make sure you involve them in the creation of the plan and reward them for independent carrying out of the plan. You can display it in timetables and make sure you acknowledge how well they are doing with it. This will be a resilience building exercise.

As part of your routine make sure you get the balance right – so include time to connect with friends, time in solitude to self-care and rest, time with the family and time to do work.

Try to keep work in one place because this helps to maintain a work and home boundary.

Encourage them to practice self-soothing with drawing, playing, baking, sewing, knitting, crafting, colouring in, gardening and painting.

Use a feelings box where your child can write down their questions and feelings and you can discuss them as a family.

Make time for gratitude and celebrating good things about the day.

Have meals together, moderate screen time and reduce access to constant news.

 Useful resources:

Click on the link to access a free version of the story 'The Stay Home Superheroes' which you can share with your child to explain COVID-19 and the importance of staying safe https://www.sophiesstories.co.uk/stay-home-superheroes

A list of free online boredom busters! https://chatterpack.net/blogs/blog/list-of-online-resources-for-anyone-who-is-isolated-at-home?fbclid=IwAR2ZsCHPbkcm5cq8nJkMUrvm2ctOJgToeSzABTsgt8rXVA5dcAdmHv42zMY

https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/coronavirus/

https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publication/childrens-guide-to-coronavirus/

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-parents/

https://www.autism.org.uk/services/helplines/coronavirus.aspx

The Starsteam website has excellent resources such as social stories to explain COVID-19 and other aspects of the situation to children with autism or other forms of social communication difficulty   http://www.starsteam.org.uk/coronavirus-resources

https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/2020-03-26_supporting_an_autistic_person_through_covid_2.pdf

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing

 

How can I help my child cope with the changes?

We understand that this is a significant change for many families. Please give yourself time to adjust to a new routine and above all, do not place too much pressure on yourself or your child to complete schoolwork. Maintaining positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is very important. The mental health charity MIND have provided some initial information which we are happy to share.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

Who can I contact?

We realise that these are difficult times for everyone.  If you have any concerns or queries please contact Mr Roche, Mr Hudson or Mrs McElroy at chesham@bury.gov.uk

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Chesham Primary School Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information

 

At Chesham Primary School, we  believe passionately in the importance of inclusion and equality for all children and adults, and strive to ensure that these values are at the heart of our Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) practices.

We will always involve parents and children in key decisions, as well as planning and reviewing progress; we know that parents are the first educators of their child and that we need their knowledge and co-operation to plan effectively.

We know that the earlier we identify SEND and provide support, the more successful our children will be.

We are committed to providing expert support and resources for children with SEND to fulfil their individual potential.
Our starting point is to guarantee a whole -school approach to providing for the needs of children with SEND. In other words, we make sure that all staff have the knowledge and skills to support all children, including those with SEND, throughout our School.

If you have any questions regarding your child, then please get in touch with Chesham's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), Mr Roche (0161 764 4927).

 

In the attached document, you can read about our provision and how we support those children who have Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, and their families.   

Please click on the link below.

Chesham SEND Information Report (May 19)

This SEN Information report complies with section 69(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014; regulation 51 and schedule 1 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. The details of the report have been included from schedule 1 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, and section 6 of the ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0-25 years’.

Please click on the link below to read our school's Special Educational Needs Policy.

Chesham SEN policy

Please click on the link below for an explanation of the process of identification of special educational needs at Chesham.

Chesham SEN identification process

 

Bury's Local Offer

Information on services available in the local area, for people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents or carers,  can be found by accessing the following link:

http://www.theburydirectory.co.uk/kb5/bury/directory/localoffer.page

 

Where can I get more help and information?

Useful contacts:

Bury SEND Information Advice Support Service (SENDIASS) 

This is an impartial, confidential and free service which can help you through the SEND system. It has independent supporters who can visit you at home, give information by phone or support you in meetings.  You can contact the Service at:

 Tel: 01706 769 634

 http://www.barnardos.org.uk/burysendiass

  

First Point (Family Support Services)

The service is run by Bury parents for parents and can offer a range of support and advice. The service can be contacted at:

Tel: 0161 641 4585

 https://www.firstpointsupport.org.uk/

 

The SEN Team

The Team is responsible for the maintenance and review of Education, Health and Care Plans or Statements of SEN for children and young people who live in Bury. Since 2014 it has organised the transfer from Statements to Education, Health and Care Plans. The Team can be contacted at:

Tel: 0161 253 5969

E-mail: senteam@bury.gov.uk

 

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