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Corona virus - SEND information and resources...

We understand that parents, carers and others will be feeling anxious about the impact of the Coronavirus and the related changes to how we live.

We know that explaining what things are different now to children and young people with SEND will sometimes be difficult and that parents will want to sensitively deliver and re-enforce these messages. 

Parents and carers as well as many services and organisations have been advised to follow public health and government advice on social distancing. The situation is fast changing and so are service and working practices in response. .

On this page we have collated information and resources with a focus on how the current situation will be affecting those with SEND. We hope it will be helpful for families, children, young people and those working with them and will be updating it regularly as new information and resources are shared and developed.

Please be reassured that all teams are looking at how best to help support families and keep providing services. Continuity plans are in place and services are working differently to ensure they remain available.

Changes to ways of working that mean parents-carers and others need to use different methods to contact a service. Where providers have suspended activities or made changes to ways of working and shared this information with us we have added their specific messages to the service entry in our directory and collated it in this entry to help identify current contact procedures for teams.

April 2020 - contacting SEND specialist teams...

Sign up for the latest factual updates from Hackney Council and Public Health

The situation changes daily so it is important that any information comes from a reliable source.

Those living and working in Hackney can sign up for regular e-mail updates with information and advice about the local response to the Coronavirus Pandemic from Hackney Council and Public Health.

    Page last modified: 02/04/20

    Home learning and wellbeing - resources for everyone...

    Schools in Hackney are working hard to ensuring students have resources for home learning. Teams at Hackney Learning Trust have also created home learning and wellbeing resources for all schools settings: 

    Thank you to Queensbridge School for sharing their video on using the book spinners from their website.

    Keeping busy now life has changed – Childrens Commissioner

    Life is really different right now because of coronavirus. Some of these changes are difficult and upsetting. You might be

    So, there are lots of bad things about this virus and we need to take care and look after ourselves. But it’s important we don’t spend all of our time worrying about it. Because it won’t last for ever.

    When we look back on this time we might find we have learned some really interesting things about ourselves and each other. We can’t change this situation. But we can find new and different ways to enjoy life and stay happy.

    There have been big changes in our lives because of coronavirus, so we’ve created a children’s guide to coronavirus to help explain the situation.

    The guide aims to answer children’s questions, tell them how to stay safe and protect other people and how to help them make the best of their time at home.

    Audible are offering access to free audio books for children and young people.

    Minecraft announced special free education packages to keep kids learning while playing the game.  Special activities in the package allow users to visit the International Space Station, explore landmarks in the Nation's Capital, learn to code with a robot, explore marine biology and more...

    PE with Joe – Joe Wick, everyone’s favourite fitness trainer, is offering free online work out sessions. Exercise is an amazing tool to help us feel happier, more energised, and more optimistic.  These free workouts will be fun and suitable for all ages and even adults can get involved.

    Sesame Street have launched a new website based around the idea of caring, and to provided ideas that help  develop structure and routine for children throughout the day

    Babbel are offering a month’s free access. to their language learning app for students.

    McGraw Hill free access, training, and support for their digital learning platforms to instructors and students.

    Scholastic are offering highly praised learn at home resources for families, students and educators through their Learning from Home” free hub . Daily projects help keep children and young people reading and thinking, and growing”

    Harper Collins – Harper at Home offers free online, fun content, entertaining story times and read-aloud, activities.  Content includes twice weekly Shelf Stuff videos for 7-12 year olds; weekly Epic Reads and book recommendations.

    The Sensory Project provides a bank of resources helpful for those looking for fun learning activities to do whilst staying home and staying safe.

    The resources are grouped into those aimed at people with additional needs, those specific to learning about COVID 19 and the changes it has made to our lives right now, and those aimed at students who attend mainstream schools.

    Doncaster Deaf Trust are offering a free online introduction to British Sign Language Level 1

    Inclusion and Specialist Support Team lead for autism - social story and diary planner resources...

    "I've put together a social story to help children with autism (and other social communication difficulties) to make some sense of what is going on. 

    If you have children able to access this level of language and then please do share it with them. Please note that this is a social story and by its very nature provides limited specific information.” Lydia Scaletti - Inclusion and Specialist Support Team - Hackney Learning Trust

    Lydia’s social story “What is coronavirus?” 

    Lydia’s social story “What is coronavirus?” goes beyond explaining the virus and will help young people understand why they are being asked to do things differently.

    Lydia has also made and shared this Calendar to support structure at home and this Daily planner to support structure at home.

    Social stories about what is different now and why...

    Eleanor the Occupatioanl Therapist at The Garden School has made this lovely social story to help children and young people understand what is different, why and explaining that it won't go on forever. 

    Please do share with children and young people to help them understand and with anyone you think would find this helpful. 

    Read or download Eleanor's social story here: The Garden School - OT's Social Story - CV

    Carol Grey is known for the development of Social Stories, a respected evidence-based practice used worldwide with people with autism of all ages.

    My Story About Pandemics and the Coronavirus - Carol Gray


    Hand-washing poster and resources

    There are some useful suggestions in the social stories including reinforcing the NHS guidance on regularly washing your hands.

    You may already be aware of the online resource for making a personalised hand washing poster which you can easily add you favourite song lyrics to. Teenagers will love this as well:

    The Garden Special Schools has an excellent You Tube channel with step by step video guides on how to wash hands properly and lots of other instructions broken down to support helping with and completing domestic tasks. 

    There are also some lovely videos with instructions on making sensory play. 

    The Garden School - You Tube channel 

    Eleanor one of the Occupational Therapists at The Garden School has been getting super creative and as well as the lovely social story has shared a photo visual resource to support thorough hand washing routines needed at this time. 

    Photo visual resource for hand washing

    Easy Read – advice on the corona virus

    Mencap have created some easy read information about Coronavirus to help expalin this ia a new type of illness that speads easily and that a number of people in the UK who have got it. It also has simple visual explainers of what steps to take to help limit it's spread. 

    Mencap - Easy Read information about Corona virus 

    This Easy Read document made by Easy Read online is based on the ‘Advice on coronavirus for places of education’ from Public Health England. Please do share and or display in your settings if you think this would be helpful .

    Easy Read “advice on the coronavirus”

    Government advice published for Employees, Benefit Claimants and Businesses...

    A range of extra support and measures will be in place to help workers, benefit claimants and businesses affected by coronavirus.

    A press release provides bulleted information for; People claiming support, People making new claims for financial support, Employees and self-employed and Businesses, can be found by accessing the links below:

    Calming Corona Virus anxiety in children and ourselves...

    How to Talk to Children about COVID-19  University of Sussex, and Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

    "At the moment, you don’t have to be a particularly anxious person to be feeling worried and upset. So, what have we learned about keeping children on an even keel, when you yourself are not? Here are some tips that we think might help in the current situation."

    Sam Cartwright-Hatton, Professor of Clinical Child Psychology. Abby Dunn, Research Fellow.

    Find out more: How to Talk to Children about COVID-19

    Calming Coronavirus anxiety in children (and everyone else) - SNJ article...

    It's important to control your own anxiety - internally and in how you behave. If you feel yourself getting anxious, stop, sit down and regulate your breathing.

    Remember that at present, the most dangerous thing is not Coronavirus; it's fear. Then, try some deep breaths and maybe some gentle stretching, as you are likely to be holding your body in a tense position.

    Educate yourself on the facts about Coronavirus & COVID-19 and only the facts. Then limit yourself to checking once or twice a day or only check the official Government site. Definitely avoid the hype of the popular press.Angela Kelly

    Find out more: Special Needs Jungle - calming coronavirus anxiety in children (and everyone-else)

    Speech and Language Therapists recommended resources...

    Current global concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic are anxiety-provoking for us all. Children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs will also be anxious and fearful about the situation. Changes in routine and the behaviour of others can be confusing, and it may be difficult for children and young people to understand what is expected of them and why.

    Speech and Language therapists in Hackney have collated resources designed to support children and young people to understand the current situation and the changes in their own actions and behaviours that may be necessary to keep themselves and others safe.

    Get Hackney Talking - Ideas for using iPads at home resource (March 2020)

    Find out more: Get Hackney Talking - Covid-19-coronavirus-advice, blog and resouces 

    Chatterpack - List of free speech and language, communication and SEND resources for schools and parent-carers

    CAMHS - East London Foundation Trust -

    Supporting Neurodiverse Children In Challenging Times Such As During Self-Isolation

    This video helps explain planning and support strategies for children and young with autism and learning disabilities. 

    Shared by Dr Louise Acker  Clinical Psychologist, Vicky King Occupational Therapist and the multi-disciplinary team. 

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