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Five ideas for Free Back to School Supports

Posted by Claire Harrison on the 17th August, 2023

Category Severe & Complex Support Needs Autism Spectrum Conditions

Free Back to School supports

It’s hard to believe that the school summer break is at an end and that the new term has already begun in a number of local authorities all over Scotland. To support learners as they return to new classrooms and staff, let’s have a look at some fantastic, free supports that can help with the transition.

Widgit Back to School Teacher Toolkit

Doing exactly as it says on the tin, this resource is available to download as a PDF or an InPrint 3 file, handy if you already have InPrint 3 software in your school. The toolkit includes Widgit symbols for visual timetable, word lists, ‘All about me’ information sheets, calendar supports and much more. The InPrint 3 files and PDF can be downloaded from the Widgit website. If you’re interested in finding out more about InPrint 3 software, Widgit are offering a series of free webinars starting from Wednesday 20th September at 3.45pm.

Boardmaker PCS Resources

North Lanarkshires’ Communication Friendly Environments have a wealth of visual supports available via their blog. They make their resources using Boardmaker Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) which are used in many schoosl all over Scotland. They have gathered resources together to make it easier to find things, and their ‘Sensory Strategies and Sensitivities' visual support could be particularly helpful for learners entering unfamiliar classrooms.

The Boardmaker Idea Book

If your school has a Boardmaker subscription and you’re looking for some inspiration for the new school year, then the ‘Boardmaker Book of Ideas’ could be the very thing to help. It’s a PDF download packed with over thirty ideas for activities and includes interactive digital as well as printed paper ideas.

Twinkl Symbol Visual Timetables

If you’re looking for some digital visual supports, the free Twinkl symbol app is available for Apple and Android devices, and has options for Scottish voices so schedules and timetables can be read-aloud using a Scottish accent. They have a good selection of templates that can be edited according to the needs of your learners.

Inclusion Ambassadors Back to School Pack

And finally, the Inclusion Ambassadors a group of secondary aged learners with Additional Support Needs have created and gathered many of their useful resources into a ‘back to school’ pack. There’s lots to read and reflect on, and some useful visuals including their ‘this is what an inclusive learning environment  should look like’ poster. And we couldn’t agree more with their three recommendations on the bottom row: ‘have appropriate IT available’, ‘embrace technology for learning’ and ‘use resources available from organisations such as CALL Scotland’. We say absolutely, yes!

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