chil playing outside in the rain near ofsted childminder's house

Caring for children with SEN

Caring for children with SEN can be a daunting prospect. SEN is when a child has a disability or learning difficulty that requires a special educational provision to be made for them. The term SEN covers a broad range of needs. These include physical disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment, multi-sensory impairment, Autism, speech, language and communication, emotional and social difficulties and behavioural. 

Koru Kids understands that the early years are a super important time for the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of children. We ensure our Early Educators are committed to providing SEN children with the opportunity to reach their full potential. This is done through a consistent approach to their learning and development.

We ensure all children are treated fairly and that our Early Educators are trained and supported appropriately. We also have a designated SEN Coordinator to provide a lead for SEN and Disabilities, ensuring all procedures are followed. They also work closely with our Early Educators to ensure effective systems are in place to plan, monitor, implement, review and evaluate for all SEN children attending their setting. 

Our Early Educators work in partnership with families, schools and other professional agencies. This ensures a wide variety of support and that all attending SEN children have the appropriate provision for their needs in place. The Early Educator will be the key person for the child and will be responsible for ensuring that care and learning are tailored to meet their individual needs. 

Activity ideas for children with SEN

Taking turns 

Being able to take turns is a skill that is super important for social success. We all take turns in conversations and learning to do so can be tricky for some SEN children. Such children can struggle with the concept of taking turns, which can lead to difficulties when playing with friends or peers. Simple taking turn activities, such as rolling a ball back and forth, taking turns to blow bubbles or taking turns to add blocks to a tower are great ways to practise and develop this skill.

Mirror Emotions 

For some SEN children,  it can be really tough trying to understand and recognise emotions and understanding these is key for empathy development. Mirrors are an easy way to discover what different emotions look like. Give each child a mirror and instruct them to look at themselves and ‘make a happy face’. Demonstrate this to them, explaining what the emotion looks like physically, ‘I have a big smile on my face and my eyes are crinkled’. Do this for different emotions, happy, sad, worried etc. This is also a great opportunity to practise emotional vocabulary. 

Scavenger hunt

A super simple outdoor activity that gives SEN children that really important sense of exploration. Give each child an empty egg box and a pictorial list of 6 (or 12) items to find in the garden, park or woods. Things such as acorns, feathers and flowers are great starters as they can be found really easily. For the more able child, add in a few harder-to-find items, such as a particular shaped rock or a certain coloured petal.

Helpful items when caring for children with SEN

Fidget toys

Fidget spinners, Pop-Its and stress balls. All types of fidget toys you should keep to hand when caring for SEN children. Fidget toys have been proven to reduce anxiety and improve concentration. For an ADHD child, it can be tough to sit still and engage, but with fidget toys, they can increase their attention by having an outlet for their fidgeting. Children that find self-regulating their emotions difficult can also benefit from them. With guidance, a child can learn that when they are feeling overwhelmed, they can use a fidget toy for thinking time. Time to consider how/what they feel. This can reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can prevent an escalation resulting in disruptive behaviours.

Sand timers

Sand timers are an excellent resource for a few different reasons, especially when supporting children on the Autistic Spectrum with transitions. Transitioning from one task to another can be challenging for children with Autism. Using a sand timer to give them a visual indication of how long they have left of one thing, before moving on to the next, is an easy way to support this. 

Visual timetables/aids

A visual timetable is a series of symbols or pictures that show the order of activities. Visual timetables can support children in comprehending sequences of routines and events. They also help their development of time concepts – now, later, next. Individual visual aid cards for the child to carry, with feelings or needs on, can also broaden an Autistic child’s ability to interact with their surroundings. They can offer a sense of autonomy, allowing the child to express their needs and make choices.

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