Saturday, 19 July 2014

Dragons and Special Needs

Well in honour of Erin, my new found blogging friend in special education over at Kindergarten Dragons,

who is celebrating her blog's first birthday today, I decided to write a piece connecting special needs to dragons as we share a common love of these mythical, amazing and awesome beasts.   I think this might be in part due to the spellbinding short story by E.Nesbit The Dragon Tamers where we discover that the reason we don't see dragons today is because they all turned into cats (look into a cat's eyes and tell me you can't see a small furry dragon staring back at you?)

Obviously, I would love you to go over and say hi and happy birthday to Erin and check out her wonderful special needs blog where she shares lots of ideas and stories about her teaching and class as well as lots of freebies and links to great products.  However, there are also other blogs who have had a dragon post you might like to read such as: - this post talks about the worries and concerns of parents of children with special needs and how they can cope with facing the dragons of today's society.  I always find it is so important to really understand the problems parents are facing (often behind the scenes) to enable us as educators to really offer the support that might be needed but not asked for and could be so beneficial to the child.  This blog helps to share some of those concerns and worries of parents and so bring to light potential problems and difficulties we as educators might be able to help and be more understanding about. - these posts all fall into the category of dragons as the term when fighting the system for getting things done for children with special needs.  This blog resonates with me as part of my role in school is also as the designated teacher for "looked after children" and so many of the children I have or have had dealings with have special needs in addition to being in care.  I often find myself far more surprised by those children that have come through their life changing experiences without it affecting their ability to learn or emotional well-being. - this post and blog are written by a talented artist with aspergers with the strap line "A place where I can be me" which I think should probably be the motto for every child with a special need and what school should provide them with on at least a daily basis or is this me in wishful thinking land again?

I obviously would also like to mention on a post about dragons and special needs about the films in the series "How to Train Your Dragon" which give a clear message that it is perfectly O.K. to be different and in actual fact as a society we actually need this for us all to survive!!!  Think about all of those most gifted, way out people stretching back through time who came up with those amazing ideas that brought us forwards in great strides and lots of them would have been given the label special needs at some point in their school life!!

Before I go I just want to leave you with a freebie - dragon related of course.  This was a resource I created for our Castles and Dragons unit for children to practise their alphabetical sorting skills.  It works well as a differentiated activity - you can take out any words which start with the same letter and set the level for completion at maybe three pairs of words in the correct alphabetical order, the alphabetical strip can be used or not as required, the child could stick the words on their recording sheet rather than write the them.  Use these sheets however works best for you.  Click on the green dragon for the word sheet and visual comparison box and the red dragon for the recording sheet.  My children loved this work and worked so quietly and quickly because they did not want to wake the dragon up!

Let me know - do you like dragons and do you have a story as to why you like them?  What are the "dragons" we need to slay/tame in our special needs kingdoms?


  1. Wow, what an amazing post about dragons!! And thank you so much for including my little blog!! In my kindergarten classrom we are full-inclusion, which means I have little with special needs as well as littles without, so I get to work with both ends of the spectrum!! I love all of the posts you found about dragons, and I can't wait to get started reading them. I LOVE your freebie idea, and I know it will fit in PERFECTLY in my classroom!! Thanks so much, you rock!!

    Warmest Wishes,

  2. I'm so pleased you liked it, Erin. It's lovely to be able to discover others who are passionate about their work with children and who are actively trying to create resources to help children learn whatever their learning strengths or difficulties. Have a lovely day celebrating your success - you really do deserve it :-)