A Review of: The Special Needs School Survival Guide. By Cara Koscinski

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to read this extremely informative guide by Cara Koscinski.

What I loved was that Koscinski not only is very knowleable in the field of Occupational Therapy, with a Masters Degree in the subject. But she has a wealth of professional and personal experience that she has been able to draw upon. This includes her experience founding two Occupational Therapy Practices and her personal experience as a mother of children with Special Educational Needs.

As a result of Koscinski’s knowledge and experience this book is packed full of useful information and advice. Covering a wide range of different Special Educational Needs.

The strengths of this book for parents are:

  • Acronyms and key/buzz words explained. No prior knowledge is assumed and therefore the book is easily accessible to all.
  • The role of each professional that may be involved in the provision of a child with SEN is also explained in detail eg physical therapist, speech and language pathologist.
  • The book empowers parents by giving them an insight into the SEN system and their rights as parents. For example it lists practical accommodations that could be put in place in a classroom for their child e.g allowing ear plugs, changing writing utensils etc.
  • In addition it advises parents on how best to prepare for meetings regarding their child. Whether it be meetings to discuss initial concerns or those to review current provisions.
  • The book also contains useful resources/websites relevant to each chapter for further reading.

As a tutor for Children with Special Educational Needs (www.cheshireSENtutor.com) I found the following the most useful:

  • The book provides ideas of activities to help warm up prior to hand writing, activities to improve hand-eye-coordination, activities to improve fine motor control as well as specific activities/methods to support children with different learning disorders eg dyslexia, dysgraphia, autism etc
  • There is useful, practical advice given (labelled ‘Out of Pocket Activities’) For example the importance of children always practising writing numbers and letters on lines or within defined spaces, the order of how to teach scissor cutting , what to include in a sensory room.


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