Posted by Claire Harrison on the 26th March, 2020
This is not an exhaustive list of what’s out there by any means, but here are some starter resources and ideas for learning at home over the coming weeks.
Let’s begin with the hugely popular activities which Ian Bean makes available for free on his website https://www.ianbean.co.uk/senict-members-resource-portal/. Use an email address to sign up for an account and get entry into the ‘Members Resource Portal’. This gives you access to over 500 free activities which can either be played online or downloaded onto a computer. These SENICT resources are used lots in schools because they are simple to use, work reliably and are highly motivating. They use music and images which means lots of fun to be had dancing around and generally being silly! It’s a great way to create communication opportunities, e.g. 'Shall we have more Frozen or finish?' and 'Do you want Frozen or Abba? '
Another of the great things about all these resources is that they are accessible no matter what you need to operate a computer. You can play them via mouse, keyboard, switch, touchscreen or eye gaze camera. This makes them ideal as an activity to include the whole family: someone can be the ‘DJ’ and make the music start playing using their eye gaze camera/switch/keyboard/touchscreen whilst someone else is the ‘Playlist Boss’, choosing which songs to play. You could even have someone else giving out scores for dancing prowess for a bit of ‘Strictly Numeracy’ mash-up!
Ian has another website https://www.senictsoftware.com/. It’s subscription-based (£66 per year) but he has extended the trial period to one month. The activities on it are a series of applications which support teaching computer access skills: via touch, switch and eye gaze. As well as the activities there are lots of supporting resources to help with teaching ideas, assessment and progression.
Also, if you don’t already it’s well worth following Ian on Twitter/Facebook. He’s brilliant at sharing and signposting useful resources which he finds. He is @SENICT on Twitter and @SENICT.info on Facebook.
The wonderful ‘Singing Hands’ are doing live Makaton sessions Monday to Friday at 10.30am on various streaming platforms including a Makaton signed story session every Monday on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The Makaton Charity have several free PDFs from signing games to signed songs. They’ve made their ‘Your Home’ workbook free until March 30th 2020. It’s a great resource which includes games, signs and activities about the different rooms at home.
The North Lanarkshire Communication Friendly Environments team have been daily blogging and tweeting out lots of excellent resources and ideas. Their resources are made with Boardmaker Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) and the team are sharing the Boardmaker files on Boardmaker Online. If you have a Boardmaker Online subscription you can download the files from their ‘NLC Communication Friendly Environment’ group.
Joanna Grace, founder of The Sensory Projects is uploading links to educational resources on her website. She’s regularly updating the list, so make sure to bookmark the page and check back – she’s got loads of great links and information with activities suitable for all learners.
And finally, Kim Lawther has created a fantastic ‘resource portal’ called ‘ALN Home School 19’ with links to all sorts of useful resources, services, curriculum materials and information. Like Joanna she’s also updating the site regularly so make sure you keep an eye on it…and do let Kim and Joanna know if you come across any other resources which you think would be valuable to link from their pages - it’s been great to see so many folk collaborating and sharing over the last week or so.
An Introduction to AAC: Getting started with communication technology