The Sound of Music!

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neurontin side effects I am most unfortunately, tone deaf, but does this stop me from having a good sing a-long with my class every day? Never! Especially with the powers that are ‘youtube’.

There is plenty of evidence to support the fact that Music therapy is a very successful means of communication for children with SEND, and today I thought I’d share a bit of my research into it over this wet bank holiday 🙂

Music therapy helps pupils who find it difficult to communicate with the world around them. As music is non verbal, it allows learners to connect with the world around them using music. It allows the pupil to communicate in their own personal way. First of all, you are able to develop the listening skill, and the process of listening. Some pupils may like to take their time to respond to the sounds they hear, and some may respond to a quicker pace, but music is so adaptable; loud, quiet, slow and fast there is a sound for everyone. Watch your learners as they share a response with you, and over time, do they share the same response?  Can you then develop vocalisations and sound making? Intensive interaction can be developed with the use of the sounds initiated by the pupil, and developed into a turn taking activity. With a more able learner, might the song stimulate speech or signing?

Music may encourage social skills, which may link in nicely with any PSED targets you have for your pupils. Music can be a nice way to lead a whole class activity, where every pupil still benefits from it. Music is also an inclusive subject, so try mixing your sensory learners with higher functioning pupils in your school, and see how they respond to each other. Encourage social skills such as; turn taking, waiting, listening, eye contact (with other pupils, not just adults) and expression of feelings. All of these are so important to our learners, which means we can justify why our classrooms are filled with the sound of music!

I’m a big advocate for physical activity, and music is a fabulous way to get pupils moving and developing independent movements. Develop fine and gross motor skills with a variety of interactive play activities. These could be with just the exploration of the instruments, as you encourage learners to reach and grasp for the beater, or you could develop movements with interesting props that brings the piece to life. Encourage pupils to stand (with or without frames), or walk where possible to the beat and develop co-ordination. As ever, there will no doubt be a physical target that can get ticked off in this wonderful music session!

You may use music as part of your daily routine to help the pupils understand what is happening next, and within this you probably deliver most of the ideas and targets suggested above. You may introduce new songs to your curriculum topics, which then link Music too every subject on your timetable. With clever cross curricular links, you can use music to show pupil progress in Literacy, Cognition, MFL, PE, ICT (if you don’t know about it, google ‘soundbeam’) …. and it won’t stop there!

Music is just an amazing tool, and if you are lucky enough to have a musical staff member in your turn then use their strengths, and if not, you tube will never let you down! So this summer term, let’s get the tunes out, and give our pupils ample opportunities to develop their ever important skills 🙂 Enjoy! I know I will!

www.soundbeam.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

PE and The Sensory Learner

As a teacher of pupils with very severe and complex physical needs, PE can often be quite a tricky subject, mostly because we don’t have 1:1 support for the pupils.

Here are some tips and ideas to make a PMLD PE lesson on the way to outstanding….

  1. Lots of space, so every child can come out and stretch.
  2. Interesting props- Some scarves, tactile balls, light toys, A-frames/ floor gyms to encourage stimulation whilst waiting their turn, or to encourage reaching and grasping targets (link to cognition targets for cross curricular evidence).
  3. A routine- use the same music for a block of lessons, and work on similar movements, for the pupils to repeat over a few sessions. These can be built on if necessary and appropriate to their progress.
  4. Use the pupils’ physiotherapy targets as a focus for part or all of the lessons, use the time and space to collect evidence, of which you can build on each week.
  5. Encourage pupils to explore different pieces of equipment, as it could be fascinating for them. Adapt your co-active exploration of the object depending on the level of your child; are they encountering/ experiencing/ reacting/ responding/ causing an action?
  6. Engage in body awareness songs and massage.
  7. If you work in a school with a Post-16 dept., could you ask for some sensible students to support your lesson? This could develop their work experience and PSE skills, as well as giving you an extra pair of hands!

It’s not just about football and athletics on the PE curriculum, have you thought of trying…..

  1. Rebound
  2. Disability bikes/ balance bikes
  3. Sherbourne http://www.sherbornemovementuk.org/
  4. Sensory orienteering
  5. Hydrotherapy and swimming
  6. Boccia
  7. Balloon volleyball
  8. Motor programmes with familiar songs
  9. MOVE

There are national training courses for rebound, Sherbourne and balance-ability.

Google should help you with the rest!

 

Good luck and please, share your good practice in PE 🙂

Tuff spot explorers.

Tuff spots are large trays that can be placed either on the floor or on adjustable frames, and are a very simple yet effective resource for your sensory classroom.

Adjust them to a low level so pupils can explore the contents whilst on their tummies or on a bean bag. Take them higher for pupils to explore from their chairs or standing.

Then have great fun experimenting!

You could start off using them for water, sand or paint. Or you could just use them as a tray to put in topical toys such as bricks, cars or small world.

And then you could get extra creative by filling them with all sorts of topical loveliness.

Here are some ideas stolen off pinterest to get your creative juices flowing 😉

Enjoy!

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A-frame/ folding activity arch.

aframe2Independence…. Time alone…. Self help…. These are all important skills to anyone, but sometimes, when a pupil has a complex physical impairment, we intervene too often, not giving the child the opportunity to explore these skills by themselves.

Which is why I am recommending ‘A-frames’. You can attach lovely sensory items to the Velcro that link to your topic and link to targets that the pupil is working on. You may add shiny items if you want tracking, or noisy items if you want responding, or tactile items of you want reaching and grasping.

You can also change the height of them, so pupils can be challenged accordingly. There are floor frames available too, so pupils can lie down whilst exploring, stretching their bodies whilst in a relaxed position- lovely! aframe 3

I think the feature that makes these ‘A-frames’ so exciting for pupils is that they can work by themselves, in peace and quiet, with no adult intervening. Just make sure you have your eye on them, ready to celebrate achievements!

TIP- I find these useful to have available when working with two pupils, and you need to offer 1:1 support, rotate the pupils with the a-frame, so you can work intensely with the other. Enjoy!

http://www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/motor/reaching/aframe