6. Resources, buddy systems and clubs
Strategies to ensure that Luis could be supported in class to keep on track with his tasks might include:
- The teacher checking on Luis at regular intervals and explaining again if needed
- Setting up a visual timetable with pictures and simple words to remind Luis of his different task in the lesson and talking this through at the beginning of the lesson, then putting this on his desk or the wall where he can check it.
- Providing Luis with a peer ‘buddy’ in the lesson who will be able to remind him about what to do next
- Plan for group work and seat children together where the group can keep each other on task
Luis and other children, with or without disabilities, could also benefit from a playground buddy system, or from after school clubs and activities.
In a playground buddy system, peer buddies have the role of leading play activities or befriending anyone who is alone at play time. In some schools, teachers will bring out skipping ropes, balls or wooden bricks to play with and teach the ‘peer buddies’ some games that they can play with other children, so they are not bored or lonely at play time. In a classroom buddy system, a teacher pairs two students together, so that one can support the other, during a lesson by reading aloud to them for example, or explaining the work.
After school clubs
After-school clubs or activities for children can support their social relationships. Luis would enjoy a club that involves singing, dancing and acting, but a variety of different activities could be offered. The school could consult with parents, staff and children to find out what would be popular, and they could prioritise including children with social needs.
Both these strategies link to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that asserts:
Article 31: every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural activities (UNICEF 2020)
The school inclusion policy could be discussed and shared with all staff. It might:
- set out possible teaching strategies that will benefit all children
- describe processes for sharing information
- highlight relevant resources and possibilities for peer support
- describe the extra-curricular activities that will support all children including those with disabilities.
If systems are put in place to put the policy in action these strategies can become are part of the normal ways of working for the whole school and do not need to be introduced to help one pupil. In this way, policies help to shape the ethos and culture of a school.
Think about the resources available to teachers in your school to support learning. Are there things that you could easily make for use or display, that might help a blind or deaf child?
Luis’ experience also highlights the importance of responding to the individual needs of children with disabilities by creating opportunities to listen to their concerns and difficulties.