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Home Learning - Support for Children with  Additional Needs

All children find some pieces of learning difficult at some times. Some children find learning difficult more frequently, these difficulties can be for a range of reasons, in school we often talk about these children having additional, or special, needs.

We have put together this range of information to help you to  support those children with identified additional needs   

There is both  general guidance and more specific guidance regarding Speech Language and Communication and Emotional  Wellbeing needs including anxiety and anger.

This information will be added to overtime.


General Advice

In school we support individuals in the following ways, you can try some or all of these at home

  • Shortening instructions

  • Going through the task with the child first so that they know how to do it

  • Providing examples for the child to follow

  • Breaking the task into shorter tasks for example drawing boxes for children to write one sound at time, counting on our fingers the number of sounds in a word, counting on our fingers the number of words in a sentence .

  • Providing practical materials to help the child objects to count, phonics mats, or just the sounds written down) , tricky word mats for the children to find the tricky word

In school we always start from what the child already knows, you can do this too

  • we have recently sent out reports and held parental consultations so you have been told about your child’s learning, seen the work they produce in school and have been given their next steps .

  • your daily reading with your child gives you a very good idea of the sounds and words they can already read.

  • your child usually very proudly shows you what they can do. Ask them some questions and make the challenge of showing you fun –

    • How far can you keep counting? Children love counting ‘all the way to the end’

    • Take an object you have got lots of (raisins, pennies, lego bricks) and ask the children to count them … they may need to touch the objects to help them count carefully.

    • Use the phonics mats (available in the downloads of our Home Learning Support Page) - start on mat 1 and with the lower case letters – and ask the children to say the sound and then find something in the room that starts with the sound.

    • Based on your child’s age and what you already know about what they can do, either ask them to write their name, or maybe a simple sentence about a book or TV programme or something you have done together- look at mistakes they make. Things to look out for are

letter shapes,

how they hold their pencil,

finger spaces,

capital letters,

‘sound talking’ words,

writing tricky words like the, to, was, me, they, are, have


Once you know what your child can do then each piece of learning you do with them should include what they can already do and only add one new letter or word or number or skill.


Help your child learn to check their own work.  Reading work out loud – this can help to identify errors that your child might miss when they read silently.


Stop if a  session is not going well you can try again later, maybe in a different way. Allowing a child to feel confusion and frustration can result in a reluctance to try and poor self confidence.


Some children take longer than others, and longer than you might think,  to understand a new idea, that is  OK. Repetition (sometimes called overlearning) is what we do in school.  We practice things over and over and then we try the idea in a new game or an activity to help children transfer their learning.

Be encouraging. Praise your child when they are trying their best, and focus your praise 'It was really good when you..'

File icon: pdf Cornwalll Educational Psycholgy Service COVID 19 Tips and information for schools and families [pdf 121KB] Click to download

Organisation, Concentration and Short Term Memory 

For some children it is not just the task itself that can be difficult  but also organisation, concentration and short term memory. These needs can be evident if a child has dyslexia but not all children with these needs have dyslexia.


Organisation- have everything you need ready at the start, keep all the learning books, paper etc in one space


Concentration –  it's a good idea to create a routine which emphasises 'a little and often' rather than trying to squeeze too much work into a longer session. break the tasks down into small chunks, choose a quiet space, have no devices on. 


Short term memory - have visual cues to help your child remember what they are doing


Emotional Wellbeing Needs -including anxiety and anger

All children have emotional needs but some children appear more  sensitive and /or their reactions may seem more excessive.


The NHS have very clear advice pages to help you understand and support your child’s needs




For all emotional needs there are three steps you can take to help your child



When the immediate behaviours caused by anxiety and anger have calmed take time to talk to your child about what their anxieties are and how you can help them

  • At the moment there is understandable anxiety from everyone about the coronavirus.
  • We have included a sheet from our school educational psychologist with hints and tips how to talk to your child about the current situation. 
  • There is also a social story that has been shared by both our speech and language therapist and the Cornwall Autism Team


Everyone’s routines have been and will be disrupted by the current situation.  We believe that it will help children with emotional needs if you put a  new routine in place for your circumstances.

  • The routine you put in place does not have to be minute by minute and does not need to replicate the school day in anyway.
  • It may be worth asking your children what parts of the school school day they do get comfort from and talk with them how you can do something similar at home
  • We suggest it includes family time, exercise, mindfulness as well as the practical get dressed, clean your teeth and wash your face.
  • Routines do not have to be timetabled we have provided an example below the idea is you have tasks for the day and tick them off

Personal space

Personal space is something we all need, including our children.  At the moment it is important that we plan for  safe personal space in our homes, not just for the times when emotions are excessive.

If physical space is an issue: 

  • designate a cushion, rug or even a corner where your child can go and no one will talk to them. 
  • a designated activity such as colouring or lego building could be the time when your child has physical space.

File icon: pdf Talking to children about Coronavirus [pdf 110KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf The-Corona-Virus-Free-Printable- [pdf 825KB] Click to download
File icon: docx routinelist [docx 216KB] Click to download

Speech, Language and Communication Needs

The term speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) describes difficulties across one or many aspects of communication including:problems with producing speech sounds accurately,stammering,voice problems, such as hoarseness and loss of voice, problems understanding language (making sense of what people say), problems using language (words and sentences) , problems interacting with others. For example, difficulties understanding the non-verbal rules of good communication or using language in different ways to question, clarify or describe things.


As a starting point we have provided a download for  a general support sheet from the communication trust 


Some children with communication needs may benefit from social stories to help them understand and make sense of situations. Social stories can be used for this. We have included a social story about coronavirus for you.


All children who are seen by a speech and language therapist have been set a programme by the therapist.

  • If your child has been seen by the local authority therapist, you will have been sent that programme in the post. The programme informs you about your child’s targets and have ideas how you can help with them, they often include some game and activity sheets.
  • If your child is seen by our school speech and language therapist their teacher will have spoken to you about the work that they are doing. If you are unsure about how you can carry this on at home, just ask.
  • Some of the programmes refer to makaton or cued articulation:

Cued Articulation In school we encourage many of our children to use the cued articulation method to help with speech sounds. You can find out more by visiting

Makaton Some children need to use whole word signing to aid their communication, the system we use in school is Makaton. Makaton uses simple symbols for children to point to as well as signs.You can find out more by visiting  .  They have some free downloads. We have included the hygiene one below

The BBC’ Something Special website is also a useful source for Makaton and children generally love the programmes.

File icon: pdf The-Corona-Virus-Free-Printable- [pdf 825KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Cued Articulation Consonants [pdf 68KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Makaton Hygiene [pdf 518KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Cued Articulation Vowels [pdf 37KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf communicationtrusttoptipssheet [pdf 2MB] Click to download

Online Sources of Support and Guidance

While advice and support can be obtained from a range of online sources we would always advise that you that you use national organisations as your first source of information as their work is  research based and based on the experience of a wide range of children, parents and professionals. 





Downs Syndrome -

Mental Health/ Emotional Needs -

Speech Language and Communication -

Speech Language and Communication-

Speech Langauage and Communication-

Tourettes Syndrome



Local Sources of Support and Guidance

Cornwall SEN Team Advice 

Cornwall’s SEND Local Offer

Cornwall’s SEND Local Offer describes the provision that is available for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families.

Cornwall’s SEND Local Offer helps families by gathering in one place, the information that they need to know in order to make informed choices about the support they receive.

It has been co-produced with parents/carers and young people with SEND. They chose the Care and Support in Cornwall website as the host for the SEND Local Offer. 

Early Help Hub 


File icon: pdf early-help-hub-leaflet [pdf 132KB] Click to download