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I work in a mainstream primary as a SEN TA - In Sept I will be having a new boy aged almost 5 with Downs Syndrome who is at an 18month level. He is non-verbal apart from a couple of sounds and can use approx 10 signs although he is reluctant to use signs and I have never seen him do any independant signing on the six visits he has attended unless I or someone else does the sign for him first.

He tends to hit, poke and pull other children, destroy everything in sight and escapes at an incredible speed! (He sees it as a game I think)

What I was wondering was does anyone have any bright ideas on how to help him integrate with the rest of the class and follow the curriculum? He has an attention span of no more than 3 mins (although 30 secs - 1min is usual), is used to doing what he wants when he wants and has sensory sensitivity (dislikes and won't even contemplate water, paint, sand, glue, playdough, materials etc) The communication side I have lots of ideas as I had a non verbal child last year with complex SN - its the rest of it I am running out of ideas with - Any ideas gratefully welcome!



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Jo - you are going to have a busy time ahead. We found it was too much for one person and had two part time TA for a little boy with Downs Syndrome, who sounded very much like the little boy you are about to take on. If you are finding it difficult you must talk to your teacher. We also found having two staff meant that they could cover if either one was absent or on a training course.

When he first started we spent a lot of time with the rest of the children teaching him to say hello in a way that was acceptable to the rest of the class. We taught the whole class some simple signs these included STOP.


One game we did play that he enjoyed we called roll the ball. We sat in a circle and rolled a ball to another child across the circle, remembering to call out their name first, we found this helped to learn the names of the children and helped with turn taking.

We used to have a cuddly toy for him to hold at carpet time, he had a photograph of himself stuck on his chair and on the carpet where he was to sit. He also had a visual timetable and a diary that we used to send home daily.

We found with the sensory activities with a lot of encouragement he eventually started to participate.

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Something we also found very useful was "Let's play; A guide to interactive Assessment with young children" it is produced by Newcastle Educational Psychology Service, Education and Libraries Directorate, The College Street Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8DX


We found this very useful when assessing young children with special needs, my TA and I also found it useful for ideas as to what to do next as you will need lots of activities to keep this young man busy


I will attach one sheet but as it is subject to copyright you will have to buy the rest. Your school may have it already if not they could buy it.


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