Our School-Based Needs team has created flashcards for children and young people to use in school or at home. They can assist with voicing how the child or young person is feeling or what could help in that moment to reduce them feeling overwhelmed.

Taking breaks - I might need to use a time out card or put my hand up to ask for a break
Safe space - I need a safe space to be during unstructured time in the day or when I need a break
Self- soothing - I have a special box that has lots of different things like my favourite music and fidget toys to help me relax
grounding technique - I can use techniques such as noticing my senses to self-soothe: 5 things I can see, 4 things I can hear, 3 things I can touch, 2 things I can smell and 1 thing I can taste
Giving time - If you can see I am struggling or presenting with challenging behaviour please give me some time to re-join an activity. Please use a calm tone of voice and try to understand my emotions
Identifying emotions - Help me to identify what emotion I am feeling. This might be done best through visual prompts so I can show you without having to explain
Prepare for transitions - Transitions between lessons, class trips and changing school can be overwhelming so I need some tools such as a timetable or leaving class a few minutes early to make it less stressful for me
structure and routine - Unpredictable events can make me anxious so keeping to a routine can be really helpful. This can include a bedtime routine, preparing my school uniform the night before or setting a timer for when an activity will end
Pre-empt changes - If something is changing outside of my routine it would be helpful to let me know in advance for example of non-uniform days. Do not force me to participate however if you suggested some ways I could join in that would be helpful
Offer changes - Give me choices that you would be happy with to help me make a decision, e.g. ‘Do you want to wear trainers or boots?’. A choice board can also be helpful for me to understand the options and communicate my preference
Unstructured time - Sometimes unstructured time at school can seem really scary but you can help me by providing a safe space to go or give me a transition object. At home I might be worried to have friends over but if this time is structured
Yoga - Yoga can help me with strength and stability as well as helping my mind be calm. It also provides sensory feedback to my body
Touch type - To help with my co-ordination and movement I can take part in touch typing which develops my skills and might help me to write faster too
Movement breaks - Movement breaks really help me to stay focused in my lessons. This can be a short period of time I spend doing a quick exercise such as 10 wall presses
Task management - Giving me a task management board or an organiser can help me to not only organise my work but to make sure that I complete it. Breaking the work down into steps can help it seem more manageable
Clear expectations - Sometimes the rules can be confusing so discussing them with me to make them clear and to help me agree on them would support me. Visual aids would benefit me
Visual supports - Words disappear. Use visual supports as much as possible so I can process what you have said at my own pace (e.g. pictures/symbols/written word/line drawings)
Social stories - Provide a short description of a particular situation, event or activity. This should include specific information about what will happen and when
Comic strips - Use this to help me reflect on a social situation. Add speech bubbles to show what was said and thought bubbles to reflect what people were thinking at the time. Let me find other possible solutions
How others may be feeling - After watching a video clip or listening to a story encourage me think about what the characters where thinking
Talk about emotions - Talk about your feelings me. Support me to identify how my body feels when experiencing an emotion: e.g. ‘how does your body feel when you are excited?’
Check in time - Provide me with a regular check-in time so that I can share any concerns. Help me evaluate the size of the problem and how I can manage it
Worry jar - Help me to find a physical way of getting rid of my worries so they don’t need to carry them around, and so I can learn to let them go
Boundaries - Provide clear reasons for specific boundaries and agree them together. These may include self-care and health and safety requirements
Planned breaks - Allow me opportunities to move around the room, such as: choose me to write key words on the board, or hand out papers - this way it can help me release energy
seating for learning tasks - Be flexible with class-based seating positions. Allow me to stand up or kneel on my chair as it may help me to complete my work
Bedtime routine - Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Avoid screens an hour before bed, as the light disrupts the natural sleep- wake cycle, causing me to feel less sleepy than I should at bedtime
Structure the lesson for me - Support me to know what to expect for each lesson. Explain the structure and offer a reward/praise following my participation
Regular movement - This can be calming, organising and provides feedback to my body. Help me incorporate this regularly throughout the day
Aware of my body and feelings - Encourage me to notice how various body parts feel during daily activities
Loud noises - Where possible provide a verbal or visual warning before loud sounds occur. Let me wear ear defenders or noise cancelling headphones during times of increased noise levels
Fidget toys - Fidget tools can help me pay attention and focus on learning. They can support me to learn to independently self-regulate
Seating in class - Discuss where is the best place for me to sit, where I can maintain my focus and attention. Sometimes the front of the classroom can make me feel uncomfortable, not being able to see what is going on behind me
Reasonable adjustments - Take into account my sensory needs. I may need to take my blazer/jumper off in school if I feel too hot or I may need a flavoured drink instead of water
Memory - Break down instructions step by step for me. Allow me to complete the first step before giving me the next one
Communication - Talk with me about my communication needs and help me get my needs met in the classroom (e.g. hands up, using picture prompt cards, using sticky notes)
Memory techniques - Creating a rhyme or a visual memory can help me to remember things easier
Time to process - Be aware I may take longer to respond. I might need more time to answer a question or complete my work. Print off slides to support my learning
Tasks - Support me to work out where to start with homework or self-care tasks when at home
Food - I may prefer certain food textures to others due to difference in temperature, texture and flavour. However, I need to try and eat a balanced diet where possible
Say what you mean - Keep language clear and direct. This will stop me from misunderstanding you
Distractions - Distractions can make it difficult for me concentrate on a task. Talk to the me about what might be distracting me so I can get used to spotting things myself (is it something they can see or hear?)
Breaks - Try giving me an errand or a specific activity (e.g. 10 wall presses). Encourage me to request more movement breaks by putting my hand up or holding up this ‘movement break’ card
Instructions - Allow at least 10 seconds to let me process before you repeat or rephrase an instruction
Call me by my name - Before you start speaking to me to check that I am ready to listen, and so I don’t miss the first part of the instruction