In-house training 2018

Extended Staff Coaching.

Our Extended Sensory Service is designed to be a truly flexible package to really support/develop/embed sensory approaches to learning within teaching/learning in a school or residential environment.

This takes place over five or more days of input from Hirstwood Training, scheduled over an academic year or other time frame to suit you.

We can offer access to all of our very experienced practitioners, who can deliver specialist training, either during an INSET day or by working hands on with staff and pupils.

Our team of experts can deliver a range of topics including:

  • creating a multi sensory environment or mini sensory space
  • maximising the impact of your multi sensory room
  • theory & rationale of sensory environments
  • iPads and mobile technology in everyday experiences
  • sensory approaches to the curriculum
  • sensory learning styles
  • the role of a multi sensory co-ordinator
  • simple sensory assessment
  • easy to replicate ‘sensory on a shoestring’ ideas
  • creating and delivering sensory stories
  • how to develop engaging sensory sessions
  • exploring sensory issues and challenging behaviour
  • autism & sensory profiling

Schools who have taken our Extended Service have used this input in a number of different ways. 

We have delivered:

  • Hands on sessions
  • Audit of sensory provision across schools/residential settings
  • Audit of ICT provision
  • Sessions for parents
  • Clinics/individual appointments for staff
  • Specific training for NQT’s

In addition, our Extended Service schools enjoy preferential rates for our UK-wide external training events and conferences, to support their continuing professional development and learning.

INSET and Twilight Sessions

Our in-house training packages are ‘bespoke’ – focusing on what you really need to develop a great skill base in multi sensory practise.  Each of the sessions below can be delivered as a twilight session, or as part of a full day’s training.

Click on the tabs below to read the full title and description of each session.

An introduction to Sensory Learning & learning styles.

We will show you why using a learning styles approach is appropriate to our special learners. We’ll share how a positive approach can enable us to identify a learner’s strengths and possible barriers to engagement, to ensure continued progress. We will show you how to use this information to personalise an individual’s learning pathway.


‘Sensory Approaches for Autism’

  • Creating sensory spaces for pupils with autism.
  • Performing an Environmental  Audit.
  • Sensory Communication.
  • Sensory Stories.

‘Multi Sensory Learning – engaging and creative sensory spaces!’  

  • Why sensory stimulation?
  • An introduction to Sensory Learning & learning styles.
  • Using a multi sensory room effectively
  • Creating engaging sensory environments!
  • Sensory on a shoestring.

Using a multi sensory room effectively.

Understanding how best to use your multi sensory equipment will maximise the impact of your sensory room or space. Viewing each piece of equipment as a ‘tool’, which can produce a specific outcome, will ensure that sensory objectives are clear and targets for your pupils/individuals met.

Why sensory stimulation?

We know that some children are easily over stimulated some children need additional stimulation to keep them occupied. Under and over stimulation applies to all sensory modalities: – vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, vestibular & proprioception. This session will have a big impact on your team’s awareness of sensory loss and its impact on communication and learning and why we need to give more modulated sensory clues for all of our learners.

Sensory Strategies and Techniques for pre-formal and semi-formal learners.

We begin by outlining the principles of multisensory learning. We’ll look at the importance of a sensory curriculum – and what this means in everyday practice. We will look at why our learners need sensory stimulation and this interactive session will show you how learners can engage through fun, appropriate and regulated sensory stimulation. We will finish by looking at our understanding of how the brain works – and how this knowledge is changing and reinforcing our sensory approaches to learning.

Sensory on a shoestring.

Sensory tools don’t have to be expensive!   There are many things from pound shops and, of course, suppliers like Ikea/Tiger/Maplin, which can be used to create engaging sensory sessions. From powerful motivators, to attention-getters and story-makers, Richard shows how these shoestring tools contribute to a holistic sensory approach.

Creating sensory spaces for pupils with autism.

For sensory ‘seekers’ and ‘avoiders’, we look at how to develop positive sensory environments to promote engagement & learning.  We’ll cover a range of ideas & strategies, which will enable you to create sensory environments that build on the individual’s learning strengths – from the biggest to the very smallest sensory spaces.  We will link evidence gained from sensory investigation and profiling, to a range of appropriate sensory ideas and learning opportunities to promote attention, engagement and communication.

Performing an Environmental  Audit.

Environmental influences can have a huge impact on successful learning for a pupil/individual with autism, or those with a multi sensory impairment, who may experience sensory sensitivity, processing and perceptual differences.  Richard shares an Environmental Audit, which will tell you how “autism/sensory impairment friendly” your classroom/learning space is – and how you can adapt this.  We will also offer practical advice on increasing or decreasing sensory stimulus for learners who need specific cues to help pupils make ‘sense’ of their environment.

Sensory Communication.

This is a fun practical session, which will remind you of the reasons why we need to develop a wider range of opportunities for communication success – and share some of the frustrations our learners feel when trying to become communication experts!

Sensory Stories

A sensory story is a vehicle used to deliver multiple outcomes such as relaxation, specific learning targets, interaction, sharing with others…the list can be endless! But there is much more to sensory stories than picking up a book and reading it! To engage our learners it needs to be multi sensory, but how multisensory does it need to be? In this fun and engaging session, we look at the importance of ‘bite size’ stories, why repetition is your friend, how to use digital/mobile technology to enhance the interactivity of a story and why letting go of just getting from the front to the back of a book is crucial!

Building engaging sensory environments.

Every room can be a sensory room, but how can we modify an environment such as a classroom/living space to ensure that individuals are able to fully participate in sensory experiences we offer?  We have a plethora of ideas and strategies for developing sensory spaces – from large scale environments to the smallest sensory spaces!

iPads in SEN

We have a huge armoury of ‘tried and tested’ apps and online training resources to share with you on how to use iPad apps for sensory learning, visual stimulation, hearing loss, interaction, communication development, curriculum links, and sensory stories – without downloading a thousand apps!

Sensory Issues and challenging Behaviour.

Clive Smith will focus on ways in which you can best modify an individual’s learning environment to maximise their learning potential using sensory approaches and techniques. He will explore an alternative sensory perspective to the traditional approach to challenging behaviour in those with autism. Does the root of challenging behaviour lie in a faulty sensory processing system? Clive will share how to create positive sensory activities and environments to develop self-regulation.

Assessment & Target setting

Do you want to simplify the way you set targets?  We want to introduce you to a simple, but powerful tool, which will do just that.  Our target setting system is based on a well-researched formula, which is flexible too – saving you time, reducing paperwork and giving you an easier, visual way to track progress.   We’ll explore how to break down a goal into achievable targets, ‘scaffolding’ the learner’s emerging skills in a way which will support their learning.  We will also share how to build assessment and recording into everyday classroom or learning environment.

Resonance and ‘Clonker’ boards

Communication is key to most educational objectives, but a huge challenge for many individuals with autism, PMLD and sensory and physical impairments. Naomi has a plethora of dynamic, but simple, ideas to share to use music, sound and vibration to develop engagement.   From Lycra loops, curriculum links, beads, stories and much more, you’ll have a greater range of ideas at your fingertips to integrate your resonance board into everyday learning and classroom activities.

Pre-formal & Semi-formal Curriculum.  

On this practical day Fountaindale School and Richard Hirstwood will explore how to design a curriculum that starts with the learner – a curriculum that is engaging, creative, challenging, innovative and fun.  We challenge you to consider a curriculum structure without NC and P levels – and to imagine what this will look like. ‘To think is to learn’ – we introduce a new approach to enhance and broaden your assessment of pupils learning, using themes and topics.  We will also reaffirm the importance of play in learning, including – what is play, the stages of play, how to facilitate play, using play partners, what is a toy and when is a toy not a toy – all person-appropriate not age-appropriate!

Hands on training

As well as the INSET/lecture training format, we are able to offer an even more bespoke, individualised type of hands on training.

By offering bespoke, individualised input working with your staff and pupils in your sensory room or classrooms, we can explore ideas for intervention, demonstrating these and explaining the rationale behind this strategy.  Working hands on allows us to share effectively how to use the equipment & technology that you have available to you to achieve success with pupils’ targets.

Outcomes of a hands on session can include:

  • developing new sensory learning techniques and strategies with staff
  • sensory assessment of an individual’s skills
  • to identify new targets & develop appropriate schemes of sensory work to achieve these targets
  • strategies to record progress towards sensory targets
  • bespoke action plan for specific individuals demonstrating and explaining the rationale behind the strategy chosen
  • how to successfully use the equipment & technology available to you
  • how to link activities in the sensory room with sensory learning opportunities outside of it
  • how to embed iPads/mobile technology within sensory learning strategies in the classroom/sensory room

We often film our hands on sessions – meaning that you can review/discuss the video after the day, to further develop ideas & interventions and to facilitate reflective practise.  We’ll create a Vimeo training channel, just for your setting, which is password protected.  Here you’ll find your hands on session videos, relevant ‘how to’ & tutorial videos and other relevant materials/documents to provide on-going support and training for your staff/colleagues.

Meet our team of tutors!

Find out more about Richard Hirstwood, Clive Smith, Chris Barson, Naomi Rosenberg, Carol Allen, Steve Phillips, Russell Smith & Judy Denizloe!