Developing a reliable ‘yes’ and ‘no

Yes or no?Did you know that many people with a learning disability often do not have a reliable yes or no response?

They may say ‘yes’, and that they liked something, because they think that this is what you want to hear.

They may not have had many opportunities to give their opinions or make choices.

‘No’ can also sometimes be used as a declaration of independence, rather than as an actual response to a question.

Communication also comes in many forms and responding with yes and no can be cognitively demanding.

Instead of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, many people with disabilities instead will express themselves with an augmentative and alternative method such as pointing to a symbol, through sounds, switch, gestures, facial expressions, body movements or eye gaze.

All forms of communication should be encouraged and accepted.

Katherine Lewis, a Specialist Communication Teaching Assistant at Hazel Court Community Specialist School, said that staff at the school spend time at the end of each session in their Sensory Room discussing learners likes and dislikes.

Katherine said that: “The number and range of amazing apps in our Discovery Room, due to Sensory Guru’s Magic Carpet, gives our learners plenty of opportunity to make choices and talk about what they like and don’t like.”

This helps to develop learner’s social communication, autonomy and decision-making skills in a fun and relaxed environment.

Magic Carpet, comes with its own app store with hundreds of applications that can be downloaded. This enables you to search applications depending on the outcome that you would like to achieve, such as developing language and communication skills.

Sensory Guru is also a supplier of the full range of Tobii Dynavox products, as well as Smartbox Grid 3. We are also a preferred supplier of Rehadapt mounting solutions, ensuring that we can cater for all of your needs, whatever your preferred method of communication may be.


Grant Opportunities With BBC’s Biggest Fundraising Event Of The Year!

The BBC’s Children in Need annual fundraising event returns this Friday, with the aim of raising a record-breaking amount of money to support disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

If you are a UK Charity, or not for profit organisation that works with children and young people, you can apply for a share of the funds that are raised.

Last year alone the annual fundraising campaign raised £60m and since its inception in 1980 the charity has raised over £890m!

There are seven opportunities to apply for grants throughout the year. The last opportunity to apply for funding in 2017 closes on the 1 December.

Grants include:

 Small Grants Programme, of up to and including £10,000 over three years, totalling £30,000. Grants can be applied for in March, June, September and December

 Main Grants Programme, for grants over £10,000 per year for three years. There is no upper limit for main grants, but most grants are awarded under £120,000. Funding can be applied for in January and September

This year, Asda is supporting BBC Children in Need by raising money to fund projects that will enable disadvantaged children across the UK to develop vital life skills through play. This is something that is extremely important to the team at Sensory Guru!

The supermarket chain has raised over £17m for BBC Children in Need since 2000.

What fundraising events are you holding to support children in need?

Can we support you in your fundraising efforts with the Magic Carpet? We would love to hear from you!

Perhaps you need some fundraising inspiration? Download our poster which is full of fundraising ideas!


Magic Carpet announced as finalist for BETT Awards 2018

Magic Carpet has been announced as a finalist for the coveted BETT Awards 2018.

The stunning app-based interactive projection system, is a contender within the Classroom Aids for Learning, Teaching and Assessment category.

Products within this category must support creative approaches to learning e.g. resource creation, resource delivery, resource presentation, communication, collaboration, information sharing, resource discovery, self-reflection, analysis, hypothesis testing, modelling, decision-making and simulation.

The Director of BESA, Patrick Hayes, who chairs the panel of judges for the Bett Awards, said: “This was a record year for the Bett Awards, with more applications from EdTech companies than ever before, coming in from around the world. This reflects the status of the Bett Awards as being the global gold standard when it comes to recognising excellence in education technology. The quality of applications was incredibly high this year, and judges had a lot of difficult decisions to make when deciding who the finalists should be. It is no mean feat to be a Bett Awards finalist, and huge congratulations should be in order for all of the companies who made the cut this year!”

The Magic Carpet will be marked by judges on whether it:

Is easy to use

 Provides valuable user guidance and information

 Stimulates interactivity and collaboration

 Has considered the wider e-safety context within the online environment

 Promotes creativity

 Is accessible and inclusive

 Promotes learning across the curriculum

 Helps schools with pupil assessment

 Is distinctive and innovative

 Provides value for money

Magic Carpet brings complex and sometimes staid subjects to life, capturing children’s imaginations and harnessing their attention — whilst making learning fun.

Students simply move over the projected applications to interact with the content. Movements are met with visual and auditory rewards, engaging visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learners.

Hundreds of applications can be downloaded from the app store, all of which are linked to the national curriculum. Teachers and students can also easily create and share applications that they have made within the app store community.

Teachers have said that the technology engages students so deeply that they are able to stand back, observe and facilitate the class, rather than having to control pupil behaviour and ultimately, when children are relaxed, having fun and engaged, they are learning at their best.

The BETT winners will be announced on the 24 January 2018.

BETT Awards 2018

How can colour be used to create ambiance and enhance the learning environment?

Colours have a range of emotional and subconscious effects that can help to reinforce different moods and even trigger biochemical responses.

It is for this reason that Sensory Rooms and Learning Environments designed by Sensory Guru, incorporate LED colour-wash lighting to create ambiance by bathing rooms in colour.

The colour blue, for example, symbolises and creates feelings of calmness. Studies have also shown that blue light can help to adjust a person’s circadian rhythm (a person’s internal body clock which tells them when they are asleep or awake), which can help to increase levels of energy and vigour.

This is because skin and photoreceptors in the eye are sensitive to the colour blue, which results in an increase of blood flow around the body. As a result of this, the colour blue is also believed to help relieve feelings of pain.

reen classroom environment

Similarly, the colour green is often used in classrooms to enhance learning and concentration; while warm tones of yellow and orange can help to create a cosy, friendly and nurturing atmosphere by evoking feels of happiness and enthusiasm.

Research has shown that orange and yellow can also increase levels of creativity and muscle energy because they lead to an increase in oxygen flow to the brain, which triggers increased mental activity.

Yellow lighting Sensory Room

Sensory Guru’s brand colour pink, on the other hand, is bright, playful ­and representative of an individual’s inner child. The colour inspires feelings of comfort, compassion and is often associated with giving and receiving care.