SEN Assist for Professionals
"SEN Assist is
based on practical classroom experience. Children were so motivated
by ICT. I wanted to find a way to use this interest to motivate and
include all children no matter what their ability, language or learning
Including EVERY pupil
SEN Assist is designed for use on interactive whiteboards, plasma
screens, touch screens. The software is also switch accessible.
software has buttons that are too high for the interactive whiteboard
or rely on children being able to click and drag, which can
All SEN Assist buttons are at the bottom of the screen and are
click and click rather than click and drag.
Motivating the individual child
The first thing we want to know when teaching is what motivates
the individual. If they are into trains or tractors or dinosaurs
we can use this to engage them in learning. Often children will
tell us what motivates them, but sometimes language can be a barrier.
There are 48 individual characters to print, laminate and use for
tasks, work systems, pegs, schedules etc.
If a child likes dinosaurs they can choose to have a T Rex on screen
the whole time roaring when they succeed.
It’s amazing how effective this can be.
SEN Assist was created by teachers to directly link with the National
The Fairy stories form part of the Key stage 1 syllabus in England.
The animated writing with associated symbols are ideal for including
visual learners and showing that the text has meaning. Language
is taken from the first 100 high frequency words. The clear layout
allows for the inclusion of all children and can be particularly
helpful for children learning English as a foreign language.
The activities are cleverly linked to the reading P scales meaning
teachers can assess reading levels for children working below the
National Curriculum Level 1.
SEN Assist was designed to include ALL children in the Literacy
hour. The switch accessible software means a child can navigate
the story with a switch or space bar. They can even get a certificate
for being able to press the switch six times independently (for
many children this can be a huge achievement).
"They perform actions, often by trial and improvement, and
they remember learned responses over short periods of time, for
example, pressing a switch repeatedly to turn on a light or sound
Activities are based on language activities used by speech therapists
including pronouns, prepositions, sequencing and comprehension.
Developing communication is a priority throughout the programs.
Even the praise is varied to extend the vocabulary.
The resources are based on PECs allowing children
to comment and answer questions learning the correct sentence structures.
The resources allow a teacher to stretch children who may be more
able, but not have the language skills to show this. Using a sentence
strip will not only keep a child on task, but allow them to demonstrate
what they know. Correct sentence structure can be modelled and processing
time can be allowed.
The simple act of putting a hand up to answer a question can be
extremely difficult to teach and frustrating to the child. Using
a sentence strip a teacher can quickly assess a child’s understanding
and raise the child’s self esteem.
Using the levels at the top of the screen a teacher can easily differentiate
questioning as appropriate for the individual child. For example
they can quickly skip from level 1 matching character pictures to
matching all the words in a sentence at level 4.
This raises the self esteem of the less able and keeps the more
The resources are also designed to be quickly adjusted to meet the
needs of the individual.
TEACCH - Treatment and education
of autistic and related communication handicapped children
The emphasis on individualization means that TEACCH does not distinguish
between people with very high skill levels and those with learning
disabilities. Strategies used are designed to address the difficulties
faced by all people with autism, and be adaptable to whatever style
and degree of support is required.
TEACCH methodology is rooted in behavior therapy, more recently
combining cognitive elements, guided by theories suggesting that
behavior typical of people with autism results from underlying problems
in perception and understanding.
The strategies put forward by TEACCH do not work on the behavior
directly, but on its underlying reasons, such as lack of understanding
of what the person is expected to do or what will happen to them
next, and sensory under- or over-stimulation. By addressing communication
deficits, the person will be supported to express their needs and
feelings by means other than challenging behavior.
Working from the premise that people with autism
are predominantly visual learners, intervention strategies are based
around physical and visual structure, schedules, work systems and
task organisation. Individualised systems aim to address difficulties
with communication, organisation, generalisation, concepts, sensory
processing, change and relating to others. Whereas some interventions
focus on addressing areas of weakness, the TEACCH approach works
with existing strengths and emerging skill areas and employs alternative
and augmentative communication techniques in a supportive environment.
SEN assist software has a very clear visual structure
with a start and finish.
The child will learn to complete the 6 activities independently
on the computer and the work system at the side will show how many
tasks they have left to complete. Activities are designed to be
quick to avoid frustration.
Using SEN Assist children can learn to use the computer
as a tool rather than just a leisure activity.
" The SEN Assist software has offered a way of accessing young
people who have found traditional interventions un-stimulating.
It has allowed the teachers working in our lower ability, largely
non-verbal classes to teach literacy and independence skills in
a fun and motivating way.
Some pupils have been accessing SEN Assist on a daily basis as a
version of TEACCH, completing tasks independently for the first
time in their academic careers."
See this sample Three Bears termly plan to see how easy it is to
plan for mixed abilities using the SEN Assist software.
The hidden buttons in the ASSIST logo mean a teacher can quickly
navigate to a chosen topic and differentiate questioning to suit.
The software and resources also make planning for individual sessions
with classroom assistants easier to plan for and assess.
SEN Assist was designed to save time in as many ways possible. Even
the resources have a layout that is quick to cut out and laminate.
Each time a child completes an activity their individual on screen
character will celebrate for them. This is enough motivation and
keeps the children on task.
At the end of the program there are individual certificates. These
can be used for records of achievement, displays or to send home.