Giving every child a voice. Helicopter Stories working with SEN children

Unlocking Communication for Non-Verbal children: A Case Study on Helicopter Stories

‘Scribing children’s stories, has enabled teachers to learn more about their classes, what excites them and what they have learned from each other. They have found out that their children are listening.”

Westhaven School

The Need:

For Westhaven School, supporting children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to work together, to grow in confidence, and to develop their communication skills is paramount. The school were already aware of the power of Helicopter Stories to encourage all of these developmental needs in children from mainstream settings, but they wanted to find out how the approach would work in their school, particularly with non-verbal children.

What They Did:

Teachers received training in Helicopter Stories through the online course, Helicopter Stories On Demand. They also took part in three twilight sessions as part of our work in North Somerset. As staff grew confident in the approach, they tweaked it in places to support the individual needs of the children in their class. Alex, a pre-verbal child, uses communication mats to converse with his class teacher. She decided to try using these mats for Helicopter Stories, adapting  them to represent characters, actions and locations based on Alex’s interests.

The Results:

Despite being non-verbal, Alex regularly tells stories using the communication mats, demonstrating his understanding of story structure, and showing great pride in his work. The other children are also eager to tell their stories. Many of them find the process of writing difficult but having an adult scribing their words has really helped.

A class that struggled to integrate have begun listening and giving good eye contact to each other during their Helicopter Stories sessions. Across the board, children are exhibiting new found confidence and resilience, and where previously they may have had issues with proximity, these disappear when they are acting out their stories.

More To Explore

Develop Independence & Language Skills

Nursery Practitioner from Lakehouse and Stationhouse Nurseries in Portishead wanted a resource to support children’s Communication and Language difficulties and emotional development after the pandemic. The Poetry Basket has provided a crucial framework.

Create a Vocabulary-Rich Environment

With the number of children regularly hearing a bedtime story decreasing across the country, Puffins of Exeter Nurseries were keen to expose their children to stories on a consistent basis. The Story Basket is also used to support children’s language development.

Unlock Parental Engagement

Reception Teacher at St Paul’s Primary in Chippenham wanted to engage parents in Helicopter Stories so that they could share in their children’s learning in a fun and enjoyable way, creating a stronger connection between home and school.

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