This week I attend the nasen Live 2013 – Dedicated to SEN at the Reebok Stadium Bolton. There were many companies exhibiting such has Jolly Learning, Crossbow Education, Taskmaster and SenseToys, Trugs (Read Successfully) and Collins Education. Also the Department of Education were present giving information and seeking views on the new Code of Practice which the final copy will be finalised in spring 2014, the draft Code is now completed and released.
There were a number of seminars which you could book beforehand which looked very interesting: The role of the SENCO in an era of school-to-school support for SEN, ADHD skills and strategies for teaching and learning, iPads for the busy classroom – getting the most from your portable technology and many more.
Most of the visitors were teachers and teaching assistants which was great because it shows such an interest and passion in the SEN area of their work. There were so many tools and ideas for learning all types of special needs children.
Of course my target was to source items and advise for MacKenzie, to encourage and promote his learning at home and give him the best start I possibly can. A couple of years ago we thought he wouldn’t be able to read or write and we are so pleased that he can now do both, maybe it doesn’t come as easy as other children find it but he is doing well.
In the first 5 minutes I had made my first purchase which was trugs at home (box 1), a really fun way of teaching reading using games. Every time a child plays with trugs they are practising, reinforcing and consolidating a reading stage without realising it. The card games called Guess it, Match it and Take it are fun and competitive. `Guess it` is a two player game which is good for children who are struggling in group situations and encourages good eye contact also.
Before buying the lady gave a full demonstration of all 3 games and let me join in playing with her while showing others, I really enjoy myself. It also gave me a head start for when I got home so that I could show MacKenzie and Mya straight away what to do instead of taking time to read and understand the instructions.
I also came away with some soft conversation cubes, great for social skills from Crossbow Education. Three sets of cards (Let’s Predict, What Are They Asking? and All About You, All About Me) from Taskmaster and the BEST SELLER of the day was Bendy Man a fantastic fidget toy (which the adults all loved) from SenseToys.
I could have easily spent the whole day there but the school run was calling very loudly. On getting home after tea I showed MacKenzie how to play the trugs `Guess it` game on a one to one, which he enjoyed and then he and Mya had a game. I find it very important to involve his sister Mya as much as possible and she is such a big help. Also with the resources i bought with the main aim being MacKenzie`s educational learning, its also for the whole family and for everyone to have a part in the fun way of learning. Mind you after playing the next trugs game `Match it` using the word fun may not be appropriate. This game is for a small group and MacKenzie can easily come unstuck when in group games because they involve more turn taking, sharing and coping with the concept of winning/losing. Feathers were flying by the first 2 minutes of the game but myself and Dad remained very calm and tried to carry the game through to the end. We got to the end with lots of gritted teeth shown by MacKenzie but the more we practice theses group activities the more its helping promote better understanding and social skills.
Later that evening both MacKenzie and Mya asked to play again the day after, so i think we will be whizzing through this box quite quickly by the time we get to box 3 it maybe learning me something (box 3 is age 9-15 years plus) !!!!!!
If you didn’t get chance or you didn’t know about it make sure you make space in your diaries for next years nasen Live, it was worth the trip.