chapter  3
15 Pages


Have a list of keywords or a glossary available associated with the subject Build up a spelling list of words most often misspelled Use auto text and auto correct on word-processing packages if PCs are being used

Sensitivity to sound and/or A quiet work area helps difficulty filtering sound Partitions may sometimes be useful - Difficulty with away from other children concentration in a noisy Use ear plugs or personal stereos to setting cut out peripheral sound Feelings of anxiety in Don’t have the child sat in a noisy settings such as thoroughfare assembly, lunchtimes, Try to seat the child in a corner or playground opposite a wall

Visual acuity Blurred vision when reading, rubbing eyes

Transparent coloured overlays or glasses may reduce glare when reading for some people

Visual perception Tiredness or fatigue after close work

Use buff or pastel paper to write on to reduce ‘bounce’

Visual sequential memory Headaches, eye strain or nausea when reading Excessive blinking

Short working and attention span

Poor concentration and distractibility Tilting head/covering an eye

Misaligned digits in number columns

Problems keeping place when reading Need for a finger or marker to keep place

Tendency to skip lines

Excessive head movements while reading

Change background colours on PC

Use a finger or ruler to help track along lines when reading Occlude the non-relevant text so information isn’t too busy - a cardboard strip with a window cut out can help, or a ruler under the key words to be read Use a Dictaphone or tape recorder to take down information Read in natural light or with a muted bulb, avoid glaring light Sit with the reading book or writing material at a 45° angle - use an angle board to gain a better position Take regular breaks

Read away from distraction, so the child can focus and concentrate - a quiet room. Use reading software on the computer such as text-to-speech software Ask for verbal instructions rather than written ones Check the child’s vision - they may need to wear glasses to correct difficulties, or have a treatment for a squint

Types of difficulties Pupils may present with Adjustments Lack of comprehension Use a voice reminder on a key fob while reading Slow reading speed Highlight key information in different

colours Letter or number reversal Read in pairs or omission Difficulty in retaining Use computer software support like a shape/whole words reading pen (e.g. Quicktionary) or a

text-to-speech package (e.g. SpeakOut)

Inability to visualise whole Discuss information that is being words learned in small groups, with other

children feeding back to each other the key points

Bad letter formation and Writing difficulties need to have a recognition specific approach; check if the child

has the pre-writing skills

Under extreme stress; there may be problems with emotional outbursts, irrational or irritable behaviour

Give clear instructions and check back understanding

Difficulty in adapting to new or unpredictable situations

Problems with lack of personal space - gets too close to others and is not aware of impact

Explain rules of the classroom - obvious and less obvious

Difficulty remembering instructions

Sensitivity to high levels of noise, light or extremes of temperature

Explain to other teachers why the child may behave in this way

Problems with teamwork Difficulty with concentration Create a system where the child can have ‘time out’ if getting stressed by a situation

Difficulty in picking up on non-verbal signs in others - can therefore appear tactless

Difficulty listening to others Try to plan for change as far as possible (e.g. use timetables to cross off days to an outing). Point out conventions of dress and so on

Difficulty adapting to sudden change

Over-sensitivity or under­ sensitivity to touch (e.g. dislike of being touched) Difficulty with understanding humour and sarcasm Interrupting others’ conversation or breaking off suddenly and moving away Not understanding the rules of a game Misunderstanding idioms such as ‘come straight to the front of the class’ and then walking across all the desks to get there

Visual reminders of actions to be done can reduce stress

Be aware of this and moderate its use appropriately Work on social frameworks for particular settings so that the child has an idea of how to behave Consider quiet setting to reduce noise overload Avoid idiomatic speech as far as possible

General movement and posture

Backache Ergonomic assessment of seating requirements. Seat and table height should be considered May need seating wedge, angle board to work from

Multi-tasking Difficulties undertaking a series of tasks at once

Needs ‘to-do lists’ - even three points to tick off at a time

Tasks requiring fine motor co-ordination (e.g. handwriting)

Difficulties with tasks under time pressure

Consider other tools for writing. Try out different pen grips to see which the child likes best

Use of tools requiring accuracy or speed and fine movements such as rulers, compasses, scissors

Losing papers, possessions, not completing homework

May need working space marked out. May need filing system - help with tray or desk

Organisational difficulties Untidy desk Needs ‘to-do lists’ - even three points to tick off at a time

Difficulty with time concepts Late for school or completing Encourage the child to wear a watch tasks in school with a buzzer or vibrating action

Self-organisation Difficulty making and keeping friends

Lose locker keys

Withdrawn, low self-esteem

Difficulty trying out new tasks

Difficulty with specific machinery/tools (e.g. in chemistry) Slower to learn to type

Use texting or e-mail as an alternative means of communicating to friends. Teach key rules for social skills (e.g. turn-taking, starting and ending a conversation) May need adapted storage with different locking system, spare keys, conveniently placed lockers in school Need buddy or classroom assistant to plan work Require greater time to understand and complete tasks, need to grade the activity, model what is required, and then give feedback May need adapted tools (such as in chemistry) or may need to alter position to undertake tasks Teach keyboard skills, but don’t worry too much about hand position

child to add to them in class Use of audiotaping in class lessons Create templates for essays with use of colour coding Use timetable to plan out actions

New skills slower to acquire Practising skills will improve than others performance

Having notes or reading matter before the lesson

Difficulty with ball skills balance Practise skills to improve shoulder and hip stability (e.g. crawling games)

movement Show the child what is expected and then get feedback on how he or she thinks they have done and what could be improved

catching Try with larger and slower moving balls first and allow the child to catch and throw in a variety of positions

throwing Give the child a clear and achievable target and see success before moving on to harder tasks

team games Consider other games (e.g. swimming, table tennis, running) instead

running See if the child can run straight before attempting more complex activities such as obstacle courses

avoids PE and Sports Days Consider alternative sports days where the child’s skills will not be highlighted among their peers

Not wearing a watch, not realising that the lesson is nearly over

Use of alarms - egg timers for visual reinforcement of time passing

Not being able to tell the time Too early or too late for class/school

Watch with vibratory mode such as ‘Watch Minder’

Failure to complete tasks in time

Misses questions or concentrates on only the first one when in an exam situation Forgetting homework deadlines

Letting down friends and peers

Use of mobile phone with reminder (out of school); extra time considerations in exams and a time prompter Use of to-do list/calendars. Someone in class to record homework and check books into bag Awareness of others in the classroom - teach class rules - the obvious and less obvious ones

Tends to talk about time as Use analogue rather than digital to ‘It is 7.16’ rather than about show the child time ‘passing by’ a quarter-past seven

Buffer time built into the planning of a task Teach the child to break down work into reasonable chunks Help with organisational strategies to maximise time Encourage understanding of regular events (e.g. time taken to get to school every day; walk to the shops), to build an understanding of simple concepts

Types of difficulties May present as Adjustments Difficulty staying on task Interrupts others Quiet setting - use lavender smells

and calming music to allow the child to learn strategies for calming

Easily distracted by noise or other people

Fidgety - tapping, penchewing, talking to other children

Allow the child to face the wall at times or place him or her away from main thoroughfare

Difficulty keeping focused Misplaces information Use of headphones or ear plugs to reduce background noise

Making careless mistakes Forgets to complete tasks, homework lost or forgotten

Task-oriented - use of checklist, and check books in bag, homework written down

Difficulty when following a series of instructions verbally or written down

Moves around the classroom setting

Classroom assistant to keep the child on task

Difficulty keeping self and work organised

Difficulty getting to grips Learn some calming techniques - with an activity/piece of work allow the child to move at set times

Difficulty completing tasks Moves from one piece of work to another

Break down the work into short chunks with outcomes mapped out so the child can see where he or she has reached Allow others to tell the child if he or she is interrupting them to become more self-aware

phonics Use large text/big pictures

Reluctance to read alone Read in partnership with the child Try paired reading Phoneme rules can help some children Label common items around the child

Difficulty learning the Show how sentences are broken alphabet down into words Poor link between letters Use multi-sensory techniques to and words allow children to feel the words as

well as hearing and seeing them Reading without Select appropriate books, with picture understanding cues; check understanding regularly;

explain new words Difficulty with creative Allow for plenty of talking time so writing that ideas can develop; use word

banks Slow at reading and lacking Help children learn to read fluently by in confidence requiring them to read new stories

and reread old stories every day Verbally able Look to see if motor tasks are difficult

(e.g. writing tasks) Spelling errors in a test The child may need more time to situation process and may need words

repeated several times in a test situation

Difficulty with recording at Untidy work Use of computer for recording written speed work

Difficulty being neat Illegible work Use of photocopied sheets

Posture when sitting Avoids recording information Annotate notes or have a scribe for note-taking

shorter than those of peers Errors in recording information Not being able to read own notes after recording

Use of ICT (speech-to-text) to record, use tape recorder, dictate Consider presenting work in typed format Don’t tell the child off for lacking ‘neatness’ - praise the effort he or she has made

Postural difficulties Lying across desk

Hand aches after use


Use of angled board and correct seating, and desk height needs to be checked Allow the child to annotate notes rather than having to write everything Use of seating wedge, and make sure feet on floor and desk at waist height

Control Writing above and below the lines

Raised lined paper and markers showing the start and end of a line may help

shoe laces Use Velcro fastenings, elastic shoelaces. Give additional time at the start and end of lessons

Using cutlery (e.g. knife and fork)

Eating fast foods, ready prepared snacks

Use special cutlery (such as ‘Caring cutlery’), and make sure the individual is stable when eating and preparing foods

Self-care Losing possessions and disorganised

Label drawers, timetables and provide to-do lists

Forget to do basic tasks Teeth left unwashed, poor personal hygiene

Reminders in bathroom and bedroom (e.g. corkboard with timetables posted up)

Difficulty wiping bottom Smelly, dirty Wet wipes, handle to hold on to in bathroom, list of things to do in bathroom as a reminder

Difficulty planning what order to do tasks

Disorganised and messy at school and at home

Help with planning time and mentoring through tasks

Easy-to-see calendar, use phone alarm to remind of events, egg timer to visually see time passing, baskets to organise items separately (e.g. underwear in the bedroom) Use of classroom assistant to help with planning and follow-up on decisions

Difficulty coping with increasing numbers of tasks

Break tasks in to small chunks and tick off as completed

Cannot settle down to tasks Fall off chair, fidget, not balanced properly, not concentrating

Adjustable chair, desk, angle board, wrist guard, regular breaks Use book rest for work or upturned A4 file Exercise at lunchtime

Difficulty with keyboard skills Slow, errors in recording Speech-to-text, keyboard awareness - not worrying too much about finger position

Recording Difficult-to-read notes Type, try using speech-to-text ICT packages

Visual disturbance Blurring, headaches Screen cover, breaks for other activities, check eyesight

Timing issues Late for meetings Alarm on Outlook, alarm on phone, timer, ‘Watch Minder’ or other watches set to vibrate setting

Difficulty using some tools Difficulty turning the computer off and on; difficulty using tools in design and technology

Written instructions, shown and explained Practice skills slowly with additional time Work in pairs and threes to share different tasks

Spelling Errors in written work Franklin spell checker, spell check on computer, use of autocorrect on frequently used words

Planning timetable Late, early, missed deadlines Use of support assistant/teachers to help with work and to follow up on study plans

Difficulty with concentration Check level of understanding - may become fidgety

Give short tasks and allow concentration breaks to enable child to move around Check whether child has understood task

Difficulty with multi-tasking Slower, makes errors, gets frustrated or angry

Breakdown tasks into small chunks