Developing Switch Skills with Games & Activities at Sandfield Park School.

Switching to Independence: Sandfield Park School's Journey with HelpKidzLearn.

Switching to independence: Sandfield Park School's journey with HelpKidzLearn.

Sandfield Park School in Liverpool is a friendly and welcoming place where students with a variety of needs can learn, flourish, and reach their full potential. The school's dedicated team creates a lively learning environment that encourages curiosity, builds resilience, and celebrates success. One way Sandfield Park School tailors learning is through HelpKidzLearn Games & Activities. Let's see how this engaging platform is making a positive difference!

Header Switching To Independence

The story of Sandfield Park School.

Sandfield Park School is a champion of inclusion. They cater to 90 students with diverse needs, from learning difficulties to complex medical conditions. The school uses a variety of tools to ensure every student can communicate and participate fully. At the forefront of developing communication through the use of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), is Carly Hynes - Senior Teacher, AAC & Communication Team Coordinator, and Libby Jarrett Communication Assistant, who leads the Communication Team and works with 14 students in their dedicated AAC room. Carly and Libby work tirelessly to provide specialised AAC interventions to students with communication needs, ensuring that every student has the tools to effectively engage and participate in their education. In collaboration with classroom teachers, they ensure seamless support across all learning environments, enabling students to communicate and express themselves with confidence. Through a blend of formal curriculum and extensive extracurricular activities, Sandfield Park School ensures that every student receives a comprehensive education that prepares them for their future endeavours. The small class groups allow for personalised attention, promoting a supportive learning environment where each student's needs are met with care and dedication. At Sandfield Park School, every child has the opportunity to shine. The school's dedicated team believes in the potential of each student and works hard to equip them with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life.

The Story Of Sandfield

Overcoming challenges: enhancing learning through assistive technology.

Sandfield Park School, like many Special Educational Needs (SEND) schools, faces the challenge of supporting a diverse range of students in each class. From providing clear communication channels to assisting with sensory needs and emotional well-being, teachers wear many hats! That's why Sandfield Park is always on the lookout for innovative and engaging ways to help their students lives and advance future independence. Four years ago, they discovered HelpKidzLearn Games & Activities, and it's been a game-changer! Libby Jarrett, who was completing her post-graduate certificate in Assistive Technology, calls Inclusive Technology and HelpKidzLearn "an invaluable resource for developing skills, especially for switch users." They turned to HelpKidzLearn when they encountered a student who needed switch access for communication but lacked the necessary skills. They sought a low-pressure, highly engaging, and enjoyable method to help the student develop these skills, thus embarking on their journey with HelpKidzLearn Games and Activities.

Overcoming Challenges
Carly Hyne
We wanted the experience to be educational, but also FUN and motivating to rebuild the student’s confidence in using switches. HelpKidzLearn's errorless learning approach lets students explore at their own pace, without fear of failure.
Carly Hyne
Carly Hynes
Senior Teacher, AAC & Communication Team Coordinator

Communication: integrating HelpKidzLearn for AAC development.

HelpKidzLearn is also a fantastic tool for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) development. Carly explains how they use the software to help students transition to using a switch for a two-switch AAC system. By making switch use second-nature, students can focus on communicating their message clearly, without getting bogged down by the mechanics. "We wanted to leverage HelpKidzLearn to cultivate automaticity in muscle memory and motor planning among the young individuals, so that engaging the switch wouldn't overly tax their cognitive resources, allowing them to concentrate on conveying their intended message effortlessly." The staff at Sandfield Park love HelpKidzLearn too! Learning Support Assistants received training on the program, so they're confident in setting it up and tailoring it to each student's needs. HelpKidzLearn profiles are even loaded onto each child's laptop, making it a seamless part of their daily routine, both in AAC intervention sessions and regular classroom activities. Initiating in the AAC intervention room, sessions began in a tranquil play environment before gradually transitioning to inclusion in the classroom setting. This progressive approach aimed to acclimate students to the software while adopting a smooth integration into their academic environment.

Communication Integrating Hkl Aac
Libby Jarrett
From the outset, the students have been thoroughly engaged, and to this day, their enthusiasm remains high. They love the wide variety of games and activities, and they can keep coming back to their favourites, which helps them develop their motor skills and automaticity of movement.
Libby Jarrett
Libby Jarrett
Communication Assistant

From magic moments to everyday independence.

Libby shared her experience of witnessing students' early journey into cause and effect using HelpKidzLearn Games & Activities. "When you see on a pupil's face that moment when they realise they've touched their switch and something is happening in that game... that realisation of control over their immediate environment is very special," she remarked. Libby highlighted the progression from cause & effect to more complex skills like two-switch step scanning, noting the excitement when students grasp the ability to manipulate their environment using multiple switches. Libby loves seeing the anticipation on students' faces as they explore the program's capabilities. They're eager to share their achievements with teachers and Learning Support Assistants in the AAC room. One student's story truly exemplifies the power of HelpKidzLearn. Carly, watched in awe as a young man in her class used his switch skills in a practical setting. He independently mixed the contents of his cottage pie using a stand mixer controlled by his switches, showcasing the transfer of skills from the classroom to everyday life. Carly emphasised the ultimate goal of advancing independence, aiming to make themselves redundant by empowering students with the skills to complete tasks independently.

From Magic Moments

Fun learning and skills mastery.

When discussing HelpKidzLearn Games and Activities, Libby emphasised the playful nature of the learning process. "The games-based nature of the learning activities makes developing switch skills all about fun and interactive play," she explained. Libby highlighted that these activities are designed to minimise cognitive load, allowing pupils to enjoy themselves and stay motivated while simultaneously developing automaticity of movement. Through repetitive practice, students gradually acquire the ability to perform tasks without conscious effort, empowering them to use these skills for various purposes and enhance their independence. "It's fantastic," Libby added, acknowledging the versatility and effectiveness of this approach. Carly echoed Libby's sentiments, emphasising that playing HelpKidzLearn Games and Activities offers a judgment-free environment where there are no right or wrong answers. "They are unconsciously developing automaticity using switches, which is the best way of learning," she noted. This approach allows students to learn naturally and progressively, building their skills without feeling pressured or tested.

Fun Learning And Skill Mastery

Learning objectives that allow students to progress at their own pace.

Libby emphasised the versatility of HelpKidzLearn Games and Activities, designed to cater to a wide range of children with special educational needs. She highlighted how these resources are structured into learning objectives, allowing students to progress at their own pace. Starting with games related to cause & effect, individuals learn to exert influence and control over their immediate environment. Libby elaborated on the progression to more complex activities, facilitating decision-making, choice, and exploration, all organised into step-by-step targets suitable for various learning abilities and styles. "The settings within HelpKidzLearn are all straightforward and easy to use," she noted, emphasising the user-friendly nature of the platform.

Learning Objectives
Carly Hyne
Having these different profiles has saved us so much work. The ability to create individual profiles with customised settings, accessible across the school, has significantly simplified administrative tasks - It's been a game changer!
Carly Hyne
Carly Hynes
Senior Teacher, AAC & Communication Team Coordinator

Accessible engagement.

At Sandfield Park School, students with a variety of needs access HelpKidzLearn through one or two switches, either directly in the AAC room or within the classroom environment. Libby highlighted the program's accessibility, saying, "Students can easily use HelpKidzLearn Games and Activities independently, regardless of their access method." HelpKidzLearn's engaging features are key to its success. Libby points to the vibrant colours, animations, music, and clear auditory cues that make every game fun and interactive. "It's a truly immersive experience for the pupils," she explains. HelpKidzLearn stands as a shining example of how technology can promote accessibility and engagement for students with special educational needs. The program offers tailored learning experiences that encourage independent exploration, empowering students to develop their skills and reach their full potential. With its user-friendly interface and captivating features, HelpKidzLearn is a powerful tool that continues to make a significant impact on learning outcomes and inclusivity in educational settings like Sandfield Park School.

Accessible Engagement

Make a significant impact in your school and try Games & Activities.

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