6 July 2021 9am – 12pm

Working with learners with complex barriers to learning can be simultaneously incredibly rewarding and incredibly frustrating. As communication pathways are usually unique and complex, it is not unusual to find that primarily things are ‘done to/for’ a learner.  Therefore our learners can lead lives of frustration and unhappiness due to a mis-reading of their needs and preferences with resulting consequences for their happiness, security and well-being.  Considering happiness in sensory terms is a route towards creating the optimum conditions for successful engagement between learner, the activity and the educator.

In order to achieve this optimum working collaboration, communication must be personalised, clear and effective.   This has a direct impact on potential learning outcomes and will improve practice and support the happiness and wellbeing of your learners.

This course will consider key issues in establishing successful engagement  via sensory communication and offer practical ideas to use in your own setting.


9.00 am Admissions and virtual tea/coffee to start the session

9.05 am Welcome & introduction – Warm-up session  

9.15 am Session 1:  Sensory Communication

The first session will support your understanding of the key issues in establishing successful sensory communication strategies.  Simple steps, ideas and advice will offer you the tools to create a consistent sensory communication environment.

9.45 am Follow-up: Chat/Breakout Task  

10.00 am Session 2: The Happiness Audit.  

This session will Introduce the audit; share ideas for implementation in your setting  and offer practical ways in which it can benefit both your students and you!

10.25 am Follow-up: Chat/Breakout Task 

10.35 am Session 3:  The Role of Parents and Carers.  

This section will cover a variety of ways to work in partnership with parents and carers to actively promote sensory communication strategies.  We will consider which preferences are universal and which might be setting specific.  Ideas for making this happen linked with good practice examples will enhance your current practice.

11 am COFFEE BREAK and mini online learning course 

11.30 am Session 4 :  Theory to Practice  

This session will offer a variety of simple to resource sensory ideas that have been found to work in practice.  Although everything doesn’t work in the same way for everyone, having a resource bank of ideas to try gives you options!

(Q & A to form part of this session.  Delegates to put questions in chat so that any unanswered live can be followed up after the session.)

12 pm Plenary, thank you and end of session

Who should attend?

This will be appropriate for classroom practitioners from special schools and colleges, mainstream settings with specialist SEN provision and early years settings, who are working with pupils with severe & complex learning needs and/or autism.



The following resources will be available in your account for one week after the course date: A digital recording of this event, any resources shared/signposted during the session and a transcript of Zoom chat.



If you wish to make a group booking for this course – we can do this quickly and easily for you! Please email a spreadsheet with the first name/surname/email addresses of the delegates you wish to book for. Email to lois@hirstwood.com. We will then create access to this course for your colleagues. A Purchase Order Number will secure your booking.

Important information before you book


The ‘Book now!’ button will take you to a new page where you can book and pay for this course.  Please note: if you are booking for someone else, please create the account using their name and email address.  You will still be able to pay by credit card (even it has a different name/school name on it.)

Cost: £50 plus VAT per place

(£60 including VAT)