Adapting Resources

I truly believe in fully inclusive lessons, and although I hate the term ‘thinking outside the box’, this is the best way I can think of to describe how it is possible to adapt resources to suit ALL. I understand what its like to teach a class of students that range from P3ii to P8 or NC1 and yes it is hard, but it is possible – you just have to be inventive! Here are my top tips:

  • Where possible, appeal to all but don’t forget the individual; if you have a student who loves Thomas the Tank Engine, include this in your counting activities. You could count how many trains you can find in the sand, stick numbers on the trains and line them up, put coloured dots on the train and match them to the corresponding number…the possibilities are endless!
  • Use objects and sensory materials; you can work on exploring through materials in a range of lessons, maths can be taught through cooking and science can be taught outside in water trays. I was once faced with the challenge of teaching maths in the hydro pool…I managed to find some bargain ‘pool noodles’ in the pound shop and decided they would be perfect for teaching long and short. We also put loads of balls in the pool and did a race to fill big clear bowls which we then used to teach ‘more’ and ‘less’ (double laminate and tape symbols!). Some students could be asked to find the shortest from a choice of 5, others can match by colour and others could use other objects to find the tallest object.
  • Adapt for all types of communication; it may be time consuming to begin with, but it really is important to adapt activities to suit all forms of communication and ability levels. This may include picture to word match, picture to picture match, picture to photo match or picture to photo match! Here is how to make ONE resource but include all the above options…

Adaptive books

These can be used for ANY subject for a range of ability and communication levels.

This example is for a maths lesson.

  1. Start by laminating A4 sheet with numbers on half the page.
  2. Laminate pictures (2 per A4 sheet).
  3. Laminate second sheet of numbers and cut out, add velcro to transferable numbers and opposite velcro to A4 sheet.
  4. Hole punch pages and add treasury tags OR bind.

This resources is available here to print and make up: How Many Adaptive Book

I have also produced this to go alongside ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ book. I have left the squares blank, this can be made into a matching word, picture, photo or symbol resource. Adaptive book I see animals – ladybird




Literacy Activity Carousel

I am a big believer in working on targets in a range of different activities to ensure students are able to transfer skills. It may also be a good idea to encourage students to complete activities with different members of staff in various lessons or you may find students become reliant on environmental factors to remember how to complete the task and are therefore not actually working on their skills.

I often use a ‘carousel’ of activities in a lesson; this involves setting up a different activity on several tables (or you could use a basket as recommended in ‘TEACCH’ strategies) which work towards a particular skill. Use a class timer to indicate how long the student should spend on the activity or even this online stopwatch and then move on to the next table (I would recommend between 5 and 8 minutes). For students who need visual support, you could have a schedule of what activities they will complete. The activities can be very short to keep students interested and can also be very sensory!

As an example, I have included a list of activities I would use for P4 writing targets:

  • Finding letters in a sensory rice tray or using your finger to write letters in the rice.


  • Use a whiteboard/blackboard/pens on foil for mark making to build on fine motor skills.
  • Watch an adult write a letter in shaving foam/sand  and then complete with hand over hand support.


  • Find letters to make up a name
  • Practise typing on a computer
  • Use cotton buds and water to copy different patterns5909aa7b51fe03a0fe5081efd4b3e6fd
  • Use the interactive whiteboard to overwrite lines and shapes on paint
  • Write in sand using feathers
  • Make laminated sheets with hair gel (or similar) inside and practise making marks547d48b67be628445380f63f942fb18f
  • ‘Write’ on play dough
  • Find letters displayed on the wall in the classroom
  • Place large pieces of paper over the floor with lines or letters on. Students to overwrite using paint on their fingers
  • Complete a letter puzzle

I could go on forever, but here are a few ideas! As for starters and plenary I tend to do something physical such as ‘dough disco’ from the amazing Shonette Bason-Wood, ‘Write Dance’ or fine motor songs on youtube.