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Supporting children and young people with additional support needs

We know that this is a difficult time for everyone, but children and young people with additional support needs (ASN) may be finding it particularly challenging – especially when it comes to learning at home.

Knowing how to support them during this period can also be difficult, which is why we’ve pulled together some advice to try and help you.

Tip #1: Talk to their school or ELC setting

Even though they’re closed at the moment, your child’s school is still there to help you. Schools and Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings are working hard to get information to you but if you haven’t received anything yet, don’t be afraid to contact them. They will be best placed to tell you about the different resources and support that may be available to you. Remember also that these details may be available on the school’s or your local authority’s website.

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Tip #2: Establish a routine

Although it’s hard to recreate the routine that they will be used to at school or at their ELC setting, structure can be really helpful. You might find it helpful to make a rough plan that includes some time for learning, lots of breaks and other activities each day. However, there’s no magical system that will work for every family, so try different options to find one that works for yours.

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Tip #3: Mix it up

Try to remember that almost everything you do with your child throughout the day will be a learning experience for them. You could ask them to help measure ingredients for baking or cooking, or with gardening or other tasks around the home. This will also have the added benefit of providing you with some help around the house.

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Tip #4: Take lots of breaks

This is a difficult time, and there will be times when you or your child will find the situation a little too much. When this happens, try to take a break and do a fun activity. Taking lots of breaks filled with activities you know your kid will enjoy can help make all the difference.

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Tip #5: Talk to them

Sometimes, the best way to know what to do is just to talk to your child about their experience. If you can, try to ask them what types of activities they are enjoying, or not enjoying and work with them to make the experience more enjoyable – for both of you.

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Resources and support

The great news is that, even in this difficult time, there are lots of great resources and support out there to help make this time a little easier for you and your family. We’ve included some links to organisations who specialise in helping families who have children with additional support needs.

Free materials – books, apps and guides

If you are looking for some helpful materials to help you navigate this difficult period then we’ve added a few links below that might be able to help. These include free books and guides for you and your family.

More information

Children and young people who should continue to learn at school or childcare settings

The advice during this outbreak is that, if children and young people can learn safely at home, they should. However, in some circumstances, some children and young people may be able to access education within their local authority. The local authority will consider the stability and continuity that your child may need and the environment that will best meet these. However, remember that any arrangements made by the local authority may not be in your child’s usual place of learning or with the teachers and staff that they know well.

If you would like further information about this, check Enquire's Coronavirus page

Care provision for children and young people in residential special schools

If your child has complex additional support needs and learns and lives in a residential special school, they should continue to receive the care and support they require. Their school should be in touch with you directly about what this means for you and your family.

When are schools reopening?

Schools are set to reopen in August. However, things won’t be the same as they were before the coronavirus outbreak – schools will be making changes to ensure that everyone stays safe. You can find out more on our back to school FAQ page here.