SEND• 3 Min read

28th March 2022

What Are The Best Practices To Support Our Special Children?

Supporting children with Special Education Needs requires a wide range of skills and techniques. Since every child is unique, it’s important to recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t always cut it, but there are universal ways to create a positive learning atmosphere for children and young people regardless of their additional needs. Here are ten ways that teachers and support staff can create a supportive environment in any setting. We’d love to hear your unique ways of creating safe spaces and learning experiences for children with SEND too – pop over to our Instagram to share your unique approach, favourite ideas or techniques here.

Encourage a positive atmosphere and learning environment

Create an environment where every child can thrive. Natural light, well-planned activity stations and creating a culture where both success and failure are celebrated are all positive steps. There are some more ideas in our blog, How To Have A Mentally Healthy Classroom.

promoTE independence and confidence

Giving young people the opportunity to succeed and to fail promotes independence, as does allowing personal choices between tasks, the choice of wind-down activity or free play where possible. Getting outside, dependent on accessibility, can also have huge benefits, Try our Outside Lesson Ideas For Teachers.

Being aware of potential triggers

Creating a quiet space can be a positive way to offer some respite from the hustle and bustle of the average classroom. A reading corner, quiet area or other calm space can be really beneficial for children who suffer from sensory overwhelm. Try to avoid bright lights, change in room temperature and loud noises. Making sure you eliminate these as and when they occur.

Keep it simple – Always be clear and repeat instructions if necessary

Building repetition into your lesson planning gives pupils who may struggle to follow direct instruction the chance to understand set tasks. You might try presenting information or tasks in more than one way to reinforce your expectations – for example, writing instructions on the board and giving out worksheets that detail the task.

Allow other students to ‘pair up’ with children in the class

Pairings and small groups work well at bringing quieter pupils out of themselves and allowing them to have a say that they might not feel comfortable doing in front of the whole class.

Use computer-based programmes within the curriculum

There’s a very wide range of technology available to teachers now – we’ve covered some of the benefits of utilising appropriate technology in the classroom in our blog, EdTech – The Benefits Of New Classroom Technology. Technology can make lessons more engaging, interactive and memorable as well as provide accessibility for pupils who may struggle with fine motor skills, comprehension or communication

Have a mixture of visual aids such as; charts, graphs and pictures

There are lots of free resources for teachers available, via Twinkl or the #Edutwitter hashtag. Visualising data makes it distinctly more accessible for most learners, whatever their support needs.

Teach social skills alongside the curriculum

Teach skills such as sharing, organisation and hand raising. Games are a great way of teaching turn-taking. Taking the time to educate other children in mixed ability classrooms about specific SEND behaviours to help them understand and encourage genuine inclusion between learners of different abilities and needs.

Focus on students’ strengths

Creating a specific lesson plan for specific students to help them thrive. Help children with additional support needs gain success by providing differentiated learning. This could be allowing some pupils to make use of technology to achieve similar goals, setting slightly different tasks or asking pupils to take different roles in group learning.

Provide breaks for stories, walks or a casual conversation

Building calmer times and wind-downs into your activities is proven to have a benefit for all learners. Use warm-up activities to get everyone ready for the next tasks, make sure there is ample opportunity for less rigid learning.

We hope you’ve found some inspiration in these ideas – if you want more, pop over to our Pinterest and explore hundreds of teaching and education pins here!

Start A Rewarding Career In SEND

Our experienced team know everything there is to know about working SEND. Register today to connect with them:


Recommended for you

Sign up to the Engage newsletter for education insights.
EnglishUSAIrelandCanadaAustraliaUnited Arabic EmiratesSouth Africa