Back to School Toolkit

Everyone with school-age children, or working in education, has concerns and questions about when and how we will return to schools-based education. For children with learning difficulties, that transition may pose additional challenges and worries. We have listened to parents, carers, children, young people and teachers. We have consulted with colleagues in the research community, in schools and in the third sector. The Back to School Toolkit we offer here has, we believe, something for everyone.

Dip in to all the resources. We think you’ll find tips, guidance and practical activities that will work for you and the children and young people that you are helping to get through the COVID-19 situation. You will find answers to questions you didn’t know you had, as well as those you have been asking yourself for some time now.

As we learn more about the arrangements for schools, we will add to the range of tools in the Toolkit. Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook to find out when new resources are added. Keep checking our website, too.

And keep in touch – what was useful, what else would you like to see? Do you need help with your own situation?

Contact us on 01313706730, directhelp@mindroom.org or fill in an enquiry form.

 

What’s in the Toolkit?

For Parents and Carers

  • About Mea simple way to set out the most important things to know about your child
  • Correspondence Log - advice to help you keep on top of key discussions and documents about your child's wellbeing and progress
  • Journala place to reflect on how you and your child have been affected by the pandemic.  What do you think is imporant to share with your child's school?  Suggested activities to help calm your worries
  • Social Scenario Reflection Tool -  the pandemic has thrown up some potential flashpoints for young people with learning difficulties. Use this tool as a way to identify effective coping strategies

For Primary School Children

  • Workbookthink about what it has been like at home, and how it might feel to go back to school. Record your hopes and concerns. Can you share these with key adults at home or at school?
  • My Wellbeing Wheel - recognise feelings and emotions, and find out what helps to manage them

For Secondary School Children

  • Workbook - think about what it has been like at home, and how it might feel to go back to school. Record your hopes and concerns. Can you share these with key adults at home or at school?
  • My Wellbeing Wheel - recognise feelings and emotions, and find out what helps to manage them

For Teachers

  • Checklistbased on the principles of SHANARRI, consider the questions that are troubling families, add your own and track your progress to finding the answers
  • Social Scenario Reflection Tool -  the pandemic has thrown up some potential flashpoints for children with learning difficulties. Use this tool as a way to identify effective coping strategies

For Everyone

Read our updates from It takes all kinds of minds, find out how children and young people with learning difficulties have been challenged by coronavirus, and ways to manage

ADHD

Autism

DCD

Dyslexia


Tourette syndrome

 


Key resources from other organisations can be found below
 

Our suggestions for using the toolkit

It’s not too early to start planning for the transition now!

Once schools have a timescale for opening, transition work needs to intensify. We are all changed by the pandemic and we have discovered new things about ourselves and each other, including how we learn best. We need to share information and listen to one another.   

Schools can:

  • Send home the workbooks now and suggest that families start to work through the activities
  • Read our Checklist and identify parental concerns that you can incorporate into the transition planning
  • Send every family our About Me chart and hear in their own words what matters most to each child
  • Incorporate the wellbeing wheels and Social Scenario Reflection Tool into the school strategies for managing pupils’ heightened emotions or difficult situations
  • Read the updated advice in It takes all kinds of minds to learn more about the ways children with learning difficulties may be affected in the pandemic
  • Remember that how you communicate is absolutely essential, perhaps the most important element of the return to school. Read our Building Effective Relationships to find out what matters most to children, young people and their families

Families can:

  • Introduce the Primary or Secondary Workbooks to your child now – see how your child describes their worries and concerns, but also their hopes and things they look forward to
  • Use the Primary or Secondary Wellbeing Wheels to give your child some strategies to manage their emotions
  • Consider what you should flag in advance to the school to ensure the best support for your child
  • Fill in the About Me chart so the school can focus on some key areas that will most help your child
  • Use the Social Scenario Reflection Tool to help find coping strategies for difficult situations
  • Read the updated advice in It takes all kinds of minds to learn more about the ways children with learning difficulties may be affected in the pandemic
  • Remember that how you communicate is absolutely essential, perhaps the most important element of the return to school. Read our Building Effective Relationships to find out what matters most to children, young people and teachers
  • Keep track of all your communication with the Correspondence Log
  • Look after your own wellbeing – use the Parent Journal to consider how you have been affected and find ways to manage your concerns and emotions

Everyone can:

  • Find out more as the situation develops by keeping in contact with us
  • Find more information in the Key Resources listing

 

Key resources

In response to the pandemic, lots of organisations have produced fantastic resources and activities. Here are our top picks. If you have a favourite, let us know and we’ll expand the list.

Salvesen Mindroom Centre’s multi-disciplinary team can offer advice, information and 1:1 support. Our website is host to a range of free resources about autism, ADHD, DCD, dyslexia and Tourette syndrome. We aim to help you whether or not your child or young person has a diagnosis

The Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre (SMRC) is in a collaborative research partnership with Salvesen Mindroom Centre. SMRC research is creating new knowledge about learning difficulties. Together, we are using that knowledge to design and evaluate ways to enable people to thrive

Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. There is a new section on their website to help you to understand how the law has changed during the coronavirus outbreak and what these changes may mean for children with additional support needs

Reach is a website dedicated to young people to help them understand their rights around education

My Rights My Say supports children in Scotland aged 12-15 with additional support needs to exercise their rights to be involved in decisions about their support in school

SCLD (Scottish Commission for Learning Disability) has good information and self-help guides, including Easy Read versions

RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) has a range of resources to support adult wellbeing, and RCPCH&Us has resources for children and young people while staying at home and more

Scottish Autism has gathered a range of resources, and created some fun activities and a Mood Diary

Contact provides general guidance and information for families of children with disabilities

Dyslexia Scotland has a range of information and resources

NPFS (National Parent Forum of Scotland) represents the views of parents and carers, and produces resources that explain many aspects of the Scottish education system in their ‘Nutshell’ series

CYCPS (Children and Young People Commissioner Scotland) ensures that the rights of children and young people are protected and promoted. Your coronavirus questions answered, and resources for children and young people

Tourette Scotland provides support to anyone living with Tourette Syndrome and their families, support and advice by email, through local support groups and Facebook groups

 

Acknowledgements and thanks

We’d like to thank all the parents, carers, children and young people and education professionals who spoke to us and emailed in response to our request for input into the Back to School Toolkit. In addition, we received a lot of generous donations that have helped us to keep going and devote time and energy to the creation of this resource.

We also received help from:

  • Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson, Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre
  • Dr Sinead Rhodes, Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre
  • Dr Catherine Crompton, Patrick Wild Centre
  • Dr Holly Joseph, University of Reading
  • Auchenharvie Academy
  • Glencryan School
  • General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Graphic Design: Maclean Creative Agency
  • Graphic Design: Jane Scott, Words and Pitchers
  • Edinburgh College Wellbeing Team
  • Margaret Rose Stewart
  • Janice Mylan, Tourette Scotland
  • Picture Communication Symbols (PCS®) by Tobii Dynavox (Boardmaker)
  • All our generous contributors and donors