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Advice and Tips for supporting your child with SEN/D needs at home whilst school is closed from the Hertfordshire SEN team and DSPL8

Mrs Hobbs' Home Learning Blog

Like you, when I'm not at school looking after the children of 'key workers', I am at home trying to support my children (one with additional needs) with their home learning as well as working from home.  I realise that it can be an overwhelming task sometimes looking after children with SEN/D so thought it might be helpful if I shared some of the things we have been trying in our house.  Each day I will try and share some new ideas or resources I have found that might be helpful.  So that this information can be as helpful as possible please do email me your questions or topics you would like advice about to my email address  

Friday 3rd April 2020

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Just a quick video from me today but I also read a really interesting and helpful article yesterday about how to make the weekends feel different to the weekdays so I added the link to it below this video as well.

Thursday 2nd April 2020

Today I wanted to start thinking about what we are going to do for the next two weeks when we won't have school work to fill at least some of our day.  I know I am going to hear the words I'm bored over and over again. So with that in mind I've gathered below some photos and links so we can have something up our sleeves when that happens.  

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Wednesday 1st April 2020

I’m sure you have already thought about this but time at home with you is a great time to develop your child’s life skills.  Life skills are an important part of a child’s development and this unexpected time at home over the next few weeks gives you as a parent a great opportunity for your child to spend time with family members, sharing the workload and learning valuable life skills. The following is a list of suggestions; it is useful to note that almost any activity that you engage in with your children can incorporate life skills work.


Life Skill



Lots of conversations

Reminding them to take turns

Reminding them to listen to other people’s contribution and responding directly about that

Encouraging them to ask questions

Decision Making

Create their own visual timetable that includes all of the essential elements of the day

Giving them choices of 2 or 3 different activities to do next

Involving them in food planning 

Creative Thinking

Story Telling

Art and Crafts

Maths word problems

Problem Solving

Can be done at any time when there is a task or chore that needs to be thought through. Simply talking through the process of defining a problem, analysing the cause and evaluating the solution will give the young person a system or process that they know they are able to use. 

Coping with Stress

Relaxation techniques

Exercise e.g. PE with Joe (Daily at 9:00am on You Tube)
Keep Active tips   


Supporting parents to prepare meals 

understanding what makes a healthy menu 

Creating meals from basic store cupboard ingredients

Little ones could butter their own toast or make their own sandwich for lunch


Writing shopping lists

Helping with online shopping

Costing – getting them to add up a few items on the receipt

Set up a shop at home and children can buy their own snacks


Use of calendar/schedule

Planning menu for the week


Cleaning rota

Helping with laundry

Helping lay the table or clear the table

Washing up

How to use a washing machine

Telling the time

Look at the clock together at intervals throughout the day

Add timings to the your schedule/timetable for the day


In our house we have added chores to our home visual timetable and the boys have to keep the lounge tidy before they can go on their devices in the afternoon they are also laying and clearing the table after meals.  Over the Easter holidays I’m going to try and teach my five year old to tell the time – wish me luck!  

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Tuesday 31st March 2020

Is it just me or is anyone else wishing Joe Wicks would let us get through one morning without having to do a squat? Having said that we are loving starting our day exercising altogether it really does help us get off to a good start especially since we can’t seem to do bunny hops or kangaroo jumps in our house without laughing.  If you haven’t tried one of his workouts yet I really do recommend them it is a fantastic way to start the day especially if you have children who are finding it difficult to concentrate on their learning.   My youngest is really benefiting from a chance to use up some of his excess energy and is then finding it easier to settle down to do his home learning tasks. If you’re up for the challenge the link to the workouts is on the P.E page!

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Monday 30th March 2020

I hope you have had a good weekend and are ready for another week of home learning.  

Today’s ideas are aimed at supporting children who have been working on improving their spelling skills particularly those who have been learning to spell the first 100 high frequency words.  These words are the building blocks for writing lots of the sentences children will want or need to write.  Below this post is a link to the SNIP Literacy Programme which we regularly use with children in school as it is recommended by our local Specific Learning Difficulties outreach team.  At school, we use the activities for each session over a week as we have found just a few minutes a day is more effective than one long session a week.  If you have any questions about this programme please get in contact via my email –


Also I know the class teachers are setting some spellings each week for children to practise so please see the other document below which I found which has lots of great ways for you to practise spellings.  In our house we have tried writing out the spellings as pyramids.

Friday 27th March 2020

Firstly, I hope you are all well and staying safe it seems strange to think I haven’t seen any of you this week.  Please feel free to send me an email ( and let me know how things are going.  


On to today’s little tip. We have found it is important in our house to ensure we also plan in times of quiet or stillness into our day as otherwise we are all worn out by lunchtime!  One thing we have been doing in the afternoon is making little beds out of blankets and cushions in the lounge and listening to the David Walliams story together which can be found at the link below this post. If David Walliams isn’t popular in your house then Audible (also see the link below) have made hundreds of stories available for free including Winnie-the-Pooh.  There are also lots of songs and rhymes on Audible as well if you want to have a singing time together.


Hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll be back Monday with more ideas that are hopefully helpful to you. 

Mrs Hobbs

Thursday 26th March 2020.

Just a quick note from me today as I’m off to look after ‘key worker’ children at my other school today.


One of my favourite sayings is: Fail to prepare prepare to fail.


So my tip for today is to create a to do list of school work activities for the children to tick off as they complete them.  At home, we’ve added these to our noticeboard alongside our visual timetable.  It might just be me but there is nothing quite like the feeling of ticking off everything you’ve done on a to-do list. (I have been known to write down things I’ve already done just so I can tick them off!)


In addition, I also make sure I have a look through what they are being asked to do before they do and print off any worksheets that are needed ready for them as otherwise I’ve found they switch off while I’m working out what they are being asked to do and it’s harder to get them refocused to work.  So if possible try giving something they can do first e.g. time of TT Rockstars whilst you look through the work set by the teacher. 

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Wednesday 25th March

Today I thought I would share a bit about how to you might support your child in managing their emotions.  Some of the children have been introduced to zones of regulation which very simply means that our emotions can be split into four zones (see the image below).  Ideally we want to be in the green zone but sometimes things upset us and we move to the yellow or even the red zone. 


How do I use this with my child?

Step 1 is to help your child recognise when they are in each “zone”.  You can also model out loud how you are feeling as well e.g. “After my walk I am feeling green as I am calm and happy.”  “When you don’t do as I tell you I feel yellow because I feel frustrated.”


Step 2 is to help your child create a “toolkit” of strategies to help them to move back to green. These strategies might be individual to your child and your family circumstances but some ideas might include:

  • Having a drink of water
  • Hiding under a blanket/duvet
  • Counting to 10
  • Playing with fidget toys
  • Drawing a picture
  • Ask to go for a walk or do something active e.g. 10 star jumps
  • Talk to an adult
  • Ask for a snack
  • Listen to music


Please find below a document created by our link Autism Advisory Teacher to help support you with introducing or using zones of regulation at home.  If you have any questions or comments  please feel free to email me –

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Tuesday 24th March 2019

From experience I know that in our house it really helps if we plan out our days at home so that everyone knows what is going to happen and can therefore prepare themselves.  So since Saturday we have been using a visual timetable (see pictures below) to set out the order of the day.


How did we make it? I just made some labels on the computer but you could handwrite them.   I got my children to give me ideas of things that could go on our timetable and also got them to help me to pick pictures to go with them which means they feel more involved and therefore will hopefully respond better to it.  


Worth noting - On Saturday the visual timetable was initially a bit overwhelming for my son with ASD but now we are on day 4 it is working really well.  I would recommend trying it for a few days and see if it helps.  


In the document above Managing the transition to home schooling there are other examples of visual timetables you could use but in case it is helpful to you there is a link to our labels below.  

Photos of our visual timetables from the last few days.

Photos of our visual timetables from the last few days. 1
Photos of our visual timetables from the last few days. 2
Photos of our visual timetables from the last few days. 3