Over the last couple of weeks, our Teenvine Plus and Next Steps teams have been attending council briefing sessions for Coventry clubs and organisations preparing to welcome young people in receipt of free school lunches to their setting for a hot meal and fun activities during the Christmas holidays.
The national Holidays, Activities and Food (HAF) programme provides grant funding to local authorities to support disadvantaged children in the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks from school.
Our project workers were invited along to Coventry City Council’s briefing sessions and given time on the agenda to talk about how to design a HAF timetable that is inclusive of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to bring awareness to some of the barriers that can be overcome through small adjustments and to grow providers’ confidence in supporting young people with SEND to join in and have a great time.
In true Grapevine style, our staff delivered their presentation in a way designed to model a good approach to neurodiversity. So there was:
- No slow death by PowerPoint with the difficult task of reading, listening, processing and remembering masses of detailed information;
- Short snippets of clear information;
- Extra time to to process the information;
- Audience interaction;
- Inclusion of different learning styles;
- Frequent breaks and opportunities to take some time out;
- The option to leave the room and return when ready;
- A plan for the day laid out on tables to help the team keep to time and help the audience know what to expect next.
One provider described a situation involving a neurodiverse person who liked to wear a small rucksack at all times. This presented a health and safety risk if the straps were to become entangled in equipment. Other people in the room helped work through the issue together and arrived at a simple solution – get an oversized T-shirt to wear over the rucksack!
Much more was asked and discussed and the team was approached for bespoke training sessions in individual organisations to explore inclusion further.
Look out for details soon of some listening events we are also running for parents of our new cohort of Teenviners to find out what is happening at home and at school and where there are common issues we could work on together to change.
Teenvine Plus and Next Steps are part of our #StrengtheningPeople strand of action at Grapevine.
Check out this video by the National Autistic Society, ‘What is Autism?’, shown during the briefing.