In this post, I’m listing websites, blogs, facebook pages and groups etc which I’ve found useful when it comes to helping me support our son’s learning and development. He’s autistic and nonverbal, with learning disability, and although these resources are based around what suits his needs and abilites, I believe many of them can be very useful for a broad range of Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND).
A quick word before you dive into the list of links below: The internet is overflowing with sites and posts about learning resources, now more than ever (isn’t that an expression we’re hearing too often during this pandemic, by the way?), and I’ve hesitated writing this post as I’m not sure I should be contributing to the overwhelm of information… However, it’s been in my plans to create a list of this kind for a long time, since long before Covid, and I’m thinking that it can be helpful especially for those considering homeschooling/home education as a more longterm option, beyond the current pandemic. I actually also think it’s helpful for myself to make this overview of online resources, as it’ll be a good place for me to return to now and then for renewed ideas and inspiration.
That said, I’d like to add a little word of warning: It’s easily done to end up trawling the web for hours and hours, sourcing learning activities of various kinds. But don’t forget that learning happens all the time, and that just spending time with your child, actively engaging in things together, is possibly the most important thing you can do, especially when you have a child who has difficulties with communication, social interaction, play, and general life skills. There are lots of things you can do right now without actually using any online resources: Offer them some playdough or other item of sensory interest and join in playing with it, play simple board games together, go for a walk and take notice of things you see on the way or just enjoy the fresh air and movement, take an interest in their favourite videos, imitate lines said by their favourite characters and see how they respond, do some painting, bake a cake together, build a den with blankets, chairs and cushions, put on some music and have a dance… From my perspective, things like positive connection, interaction and stress reduction are at least as important as the more ‘academic’ sides to our childrens development.
Now, onto the promised list of online resources (and I hope my caveat above hasn’t completely put you off checking these out!):
This is a work in progress, so more links will likely be added, now and then (and possibly new categories as well, if relevant). If you have any favourite resources that are not listed here, or if you yourself run a page which you think would be helpful for people to know about, please feel free to share a link in the comments below! (I do however reserve the right to remove links which I’m not comfortable with or which can be seen as offensive and/or controversial, such as any promotions of medical interventions, dubious therapies, religious or political content etc.)
I’ve tried to categorise the resources to make it easier to find what you might be looking for (though some of the categories overlap). Many websites have a wide range of activities of various kinds and for many different subjects and therapies, and you’ll find them listed below under ‘General/Miscellaneous Resources’ but they may have activities relevant to all the other listed categories too.
If you find any misplaced or broken links, or have any other feedback, please let me know!
These are the categories you’ll find listed below, and in this same order:
- AAC – Augmentative & Alternative Communication
- General/Miscellaneous SEND Learning Resources
- Literacy (Reading & Writing)
- Music Therapy & Other Music Based Activities
- Occupational Therapy, with a focus on motor skills, sensory diet & sensory integration/stimulation
- Speech Therapy
- Facebook Groups
AAC – Augmentative & Alternative Communication
For anyone whose child is nonverbal/non-speaking/pre-verbal or minimally verbal, I have linked to several helpful webpages, fb groups etc in my post on AAC: Basic Facts And Helpful Resources, so I’d strongly recommend having a look there! Please let us know if I’ve missed out any of your favourite online AAC resources.
General/Miscellaneous SEND Learning Resources
- Twinkl has a huge amount of learning resources, including a section specifically for SEND.
- The Autism Page has many helpful posts about what you can do to support your child and their development, including posts on play and interaction, TEACCH, AttentionAutism, visual supports, PECS, sensory play & more.
- Special Education and Inclusive Learning (inclusiveteach.com)
- The SEN Resources Blog – Advice, learning activities & recommended toys, books & resources for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
- Shawna Wingert shares what she’s learnt from years of homeschooling with ADHD, autism and other learning differences in the mix, at Different By Design Learning
Literacy (Reading & Writing)
- The book ‘Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write by Erickson and Koppenhaver. This website also has a lot of the information that’s in the book: Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities (literacyforallinstruction.ca)
- Jane Farrall’s website has lots of great activities. She also runs the site Comprehensive Literacy for ALL
- Posts about Literacy Activities on Kim Rankin’s blog (often including AAC use)
Music Therapy & Other Music Based Activities
- I love this video presentation, so inspiring! : Kirsty Keogh: Ideas for Engaging Autistic Children Musically — Therapy Ideas Live
- Music Therapy Activities and Ideas for Children with Autism (soarlifeproducts.com)
- Music and Autism: Music Activities and Music Therapy – The Autism Page
- 15 Music Therapy Activities and Tools (positivepsychology.com)
Occupational Therapy (with a focus on motor skills, sensory diet & sensory integration/stimulation)
- The OT Toolbox is a great website ran by an occupational therapist, sharing knowledge and activity ideas. A few days ago she published this fab post with Penguin Themed Activities for Kids!
- Integrated Learning Strategies (ilslearningcorner.com), for example this post: Home-Based Circle Time Movement and Brain Break Resources for Parents and Therapists
- Occupational Therapy Activities at Home for Kids | hol FAMILY
- 50 Fine Motor Occupational Therapy Activities at Home – Your Therapy Source – and for more free resources on the same site, look under the headings ‘Blog’ and ‘Free Stuff’
- Slides from lecture on Sensory Diet by Bill Nason of the Autism Discussion Page
- Resources for Children’s Speech and Language | Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust (hacw.nhs.uk)
- Speech therapist Jenny Lang runs the site Speech Therapy in Real Life (speechinreallife.com) where she shares tips and activities, such as these: 8 Effective Ways to Introduce New Words to a Child
- Plenty of activity ideas for parents to do at home with their child, on speechandlanguage.info
Thank you for reading, I hope you’ll have found some useful resources here! Perhaps you would like to connect with us on social media as well? If so, you can find us on facebook, instagram, twitter & pinterest too.
Until next time, take care and stay safe x
PS. Credit to Penguin for the paintings I’ve used in this post!
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