Saturday, 18 February 2012

Social Skill development

Have you ever tried using puppets to develop social skills and empathy?

Children love your silly voices and animated face as you tell a story using the puppets, but at the same time they really engage with the characters, making it a fantastic time to help them understand the feelings of others.

There are plenty of training courses available that provide you with scripts to use in your role plays, but I find it best to spend 10 minutes making up your own. That way you can choose situations and scenarios that are relevant to the children in your care, creating further engagement and ultimately better understanding.

The stories do not need to be complicated or full of drama, it is important to ensure that the appropriate emotive language is used, accompanied by the Makaton signing if necessary, it can help to have an extra adult for this.

Here is an example that I have used:

Jack and Jill are playing with Jacks toy. Jill throws it down and breaks it. Jack reacts by becoming sad. Discuss with the children how they know Jack is sad, how can they look out for people who are feeling sad at school? Why do they think Jack is sad? What can Jill do to make Jack happy? What can they do if their friends are sad? Do they think Jill meant to break Jack's toy or was it an accident? How do they think Jill is feeling? Jill uses the children's ideas to cheer Jack up and resume playing.

Emotive language - Happy, sad, upset, sorry, worried, pleased, miserable, concerned, excited.

Keep sessions short, between 4 - 6 minutes. Long sessions risk the loss of the children's attention and an unresponsive audience. It helps to remind children of Jack and Jill's situation at play times to encourage the desired behaviour.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

New resources added

New resources added to the printable resources section.

Magnetic Literacy

Encourage your children's literacy development by filling your fridge with these high frequency words. 

High frequency words
Not only will you help to foster an enjoyment in literacy development but you will also be reinforcing there sight vocabulary, ensuring they recognise the high frequency words in different formats and context then that which is presented to them in their reading books.
Fridge magnets for literacy

My daughter loved to leave messages on the fridge and eagerly awaited a reply from the next kitchen visitor, it only takes 10 seconds to do but these activities really move their language and literacy comprehension forward, without seeming like a literacy task at all.

You can also buy magnet 'shopping list' words... Why not ask your child to help write the shopping list by asking them to find the word bananas etc..

Click here to visit The Fridge Magnet Shop.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Rewards and Sanctions

Ever wondered why we encourage children to work for stickers? Urge them to display acceptable behaviour for extra golden time? Or show caring and supportive attitudes for certificates?

 B. F Skinner developed the system of "token economy," originally designed for use in prisons and mental institutes. The inmates were required to display appropriate behaviours and complete necessary chores, in return they would receive tokens that could be traded in for luxury items, such as cigerettes or playing cards.

 This system relied heavily on Skinner's operant conditioning theory, he believed we are more likely to repeat a behaviour when there is in a place a positive reinforcement, the tokens. Fast forward to today and you will see heavy similarities to the methods practiced by Super Nanny... Positive reinforcement being plenty of praise, and punishment being the naughty step.

 The psychology of behaviour is fascinating stuff and a brilliant way to understand the behaviour, of not only your SEN children but all children.