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Language activities for child with no speech/no sight

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by LoveHirano, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. I have recently started a job in a special unit within a mainstream school.
    I have a wide range of pupils but the main problem I am finding is two children who have severe cerebal palsy.

    One of the children (girl) is extremely severe - tube fed, no speech, wheelchair bound and communicates through blinking.

    The other child (boy) is not quite as severe but is wheelchair bound, can speak and understand things but can not see anything.

    I am REALLY struggling for language activities for them both, I have been going down the listening to stories and asking questions to them route. But am running out of ideas.

    Anyone have any help they could give me?
     
  2. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    I hope you have specialist support from the LA?! Tangible symbol systems (items of reference) is a term I've heard mentioned. Try googling that for a start. Can you find a school for severely visually impaired children to liaise with? Or a helpline at one of the relevant national charities. It seems incredible you are expected to pull specialist teaching methods out of thin air.
     
  3. Simple rhymes and songs (using props to make it sensory if appropriate?), beating out consonants using musical instruments/hands, intensive interaction techniques? Have you HEARD OF tAC pAC? It might be suitable? Language and Literacy work has to be to the level of the pupil, so may not appear very curricular when working with complex pupils. Sensory activities that initiate ANY communication are classed as language in my book.

    Good luck :)
     
  4. Scope have a programme called 'Celebrate Every Step' with really nice sensory activities on it & tracking software - might be worth a look?
     
  5. Do you mean they are wheelchair users or have you actually takensome rope and bound them to their chairs?

    How old are they? How well do they read? What are their favorite books?
     
  6. Ok so the OP didn't use the best form of words but
    from the OP's description of these students I would be surprised if either of them could read at all, and if they have profound and multiple difficulties (which sounds likely to me from the Original Post) icen offering advice on how the OP might support these students might be more helpful than criticising her use of language.
     
  7. The OP said they had CP - which normally often means completely normal brain function.

    I have every right to criticise innapropriate language, it indicates an attitude that is totaly innapropriate in a SEN setting.

    Someone with this attitiude once said to me, "I wonder how much understanding X really has?"

    My reply was "well X is doing A Level maths", X has CP and because of that a member of staff assumed he had no understanding because he couldn't speak.
    The OP has given no indication of the cognitive abilities, just a description of physical disabilities.
     
  8. OK fair point Sashh - I hadn't realised from the OP that it was a mainstream setting - my experience of pupils with no speech and communicating only by blinking is with pupils with PMLD.
    It must be very frustrating for the students to have very little means of communicating and the OP is clearly struggling with helping them to cope. You are right that we should not expect that just because someone has a physical disability that they also have a cognitive one. I apologise if I sounded a bit harsh.
    It sounds as if the OP doesn't have much experience in this field and you have lots, I just thought that it might be helpful for you to make more suggestions - including perhaps suggesting that the OP finds out more about their cognitive abilities as a starting point.
     
  9. Fair enough Ruthie. I appologise if I cam accross as too harsh.

    I will make more suggestions but I, and anyone else on here, needs more information first.
     
  10. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Errrm. This is not exactly a very clear use of language either. It is also inaccurate as significant percentages (many studies cite a majority) of people with CP have significant cognitive challenges.
     
  11. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    Further idea - I saw a note about Bag Books in the library today. If you google that, it might be another lead. You could also look up Tactile Signing for Sensory Learners.
     
  12. The reason i used the terms wheelchair bound was to emphasise the fact that these pupils have no movement within their wheelchairs (strapped in manual wheelchair/attached to oxygen and are pushed everywhere), compared to another girl in my class who is a wheelchair user and can self propell and pull herself to standing etc. Maybe not the correct terms to some but I don't think it was rude or wrong.

    Both pupils are in 1st year of Secondary in Scotland so are 12/13. The class is within a mainstream school but it is a special unit within the school.
    The girl is severe with no speech and communicates through blinking. She is also very ill (close to death a few times) and gets tired very easily, so things have to be sensory to excite her. She is able to recognise some words when shown to her and does understand and respond tp questioning and can blink the correct answers at times.

    The boy also has cerebal palsy but has speech. He is unable to see anything in 2D and can only see limited things in 3D. He understands questioning and can answer but has a very poor memory.

    I told the people at the interview I had no experience in severe and complex having only worked in a mainstream support for learning department (pupils with dyslexia/behaviour problems etc), but they offered me the job anyway and I do feel I am doing well but just want to do the best for the pupils obviously so trying to think of new ideas.

    Thank you to all the ideas suggested so far, I will look in to them :)
     
  13. And for you to suggest I have an inappropriate attitude is both ridiculous and hurtful!!
    I am extremely dedicated to my pupils and for you to make an assumption based on the wording of one post, is both narrow minded and stupid!
     
  14. Thankyou to everyone (apart from 1) for their rational comments and suggestions. For someone who is new to SEN teaching I have been extremely put off due to the response of one individual. I am just glad I am surrounded by professionals who can comment in a professional way, and if I happen to say something wrong (only human), then I can be corrected in a polite way.

    And FYI... I never said that I didn't accept that it was offencive. I merely stated my reason for using the expression, having never been told before that this is not a term that should be used. I also never mentioned the wheelchair to in any way Imply they had no language ability.. It was to emphasise their lack of movement ability incase anyone suggested certain active learning activities. I would have loved to have heard any suggestions you had as you are obviously experienced, but it's just a shame you felt the need to go so far over 1 word which was innocently used.
     
  15. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I'm sorry for your rough day. Thank you for acknowledging the point.
    I guess my main objection to the N word comparison is that EVERYONE knows and understands that phrase to be extremely offensive and the use of it confirms that one has certain negative views of people of colour. I don't believe that could be safely/fairly said about the phrase she used and in this case, ignorance could be a valid excuse.
    Given your sensitivity to language, I'm surprised that you have not adopted the "people first" usage (e.g. person with a disability vs. disabled person) that many advocates prefer.
    In any case, I hope the rest of your week has been better and be glad it is Friday (well, at least it is where I am!!!).




     

  16. I assume you mean me. You continued to use an expression after you were informed, by someone with a disability, that it was not acceptable.
    You made an offensive comment, I told you it was offensive and you reused it - how professional is that?
    If you have been working in SEN, read a disability centred website or done any research you would know it was offensive.
    Fair enough if you had said that, but you didn't give any indication of cognitive function. Stephen Hawkin cannot speak and uses a wheel chair, it gives no indication of his cognitive ability, understanding of language and language processing.
    Even when you came back with a reply you told us about physical healt.

    It isn't a word, it is an attitude. I'm so tempted to use the N word again as an illustration but instead how about ;
    Spaz
    ***
    Brave
    Sufferer
    I imagine you have not been told not to use those words either, it doesn't make it right to do so.



     
  17. I literally have no words to reply to you anymore!

    Thank you to all for your suggestions. I will research them at the weekend, that's if I don't quit this afternoon due to being an insensitive offensive ***!
     
  18. We were all unaware that you had a disability at this stage Sashh - you can't tell who has a disability just from their message board posts you know.
     
  19. I treach my students that using innapropriate language is not acceptable even once. I teach them that they can be, and will be judged on the words they use and the attitude they have to other people.
    You see this is the attitude I am talking about - you spoke to parents, not disabled people. You obviously think that able bodied people are better somehow, that their opinions mean more than mine.And mean more than thousands of others.

    The list was on the internet was compiled by disabled adults, not their parents / carers/ coworkers.

    I hate to go back to the race issue but asking parents is like asking white people if a race insult is offensive to black people, or asking black people which insults white people find offensive.

    Or asking men what women find insulting, or asking women what men find insulting.

    Yes, not everyone does find the term offensive, but a significant amount of people do. And importatly, the people who object are the ones on the recieving end. You just don't seem to 'get it', it is not a word, it is an attitude. It is the 'poor little cripple, I need to help them' attitude.
    You were the one saying you should resign, and I stand by that, if you are unable or unwilling to change your attitudeyou should not be working in SEN.


     

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