10th anniversary ball

SensationALL’s 10th anniversary dinner dance took place on Friday 4th March 2022 at the Holiday Inn, Westhill raising £10,000!

Check out the photo gallery of the evening:

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*NEW* virtual social group

We’ve been delighted with the success of our virtual services since the pandemic forced us to suspend face-to-face activities. But as a needs led service, we are always looking for ways to improve our programme and respond to input from our attendees.

Therefore, we are delighted to announce that following feedback from our youngsters, we’ve added a brand new social group into the diary – Show & Tell

These weekly sessions are currently FREE OF CHARGE – read on for details of what’s involved…

Show & Tell

He is so engaged that I don’t have to ‘babysit’ him during the call.

It has certainly improved his confidence.

Parent feedback, April 2021

During virtual sessions in 2020, it became apparent that our young service users were relishing the chance to share news or tell each other about their hobbies and interests. It became such an important part of video calls that the idea of a stand-alone Show & Tell group was planted!

The SensationALL team then designed a relaxed, weekly session which uses the Show & Tell format as a way to promote communication and listening skills with each participant encouraged to contribute.

Plus, there are fun activities and challenges to enable each child to practice invaluable social skills such as team work, turn-taking and friendship building.

Who is it for?

Show & Tell is aimed at primary school-age children with support needs who struggle with communication, social interaction or making friends.

Contact us if you would like to discuss your child’s individual needs.

I like it because I get to meet other children and I like the games!

Show & Tell attendee, April 2021

Typical session format

The hour long Show & Tell session follow a semi-structured format with a variety of different activities each week to keep regular attendees interested:

News time – each child gets to share something they’ve done since the last session

Activities & Games – active time to get them moving (such as scavenger hunts and house tours) or team problem solving games (e.g. quizzes or guessing games with pictures, logos or catchphrases)

Weekly challenge – we set a challenge to complete at home before the next session – they can then share how they got on with it during News Time.

Mindful reflection – we finish each session with a positivity and gratitude discussion when each person shares what they enjoyed most.

Benefits for your child

The aim of each session is to provide a safe space for your child to build their confidence in social groups.

We work on:

– improving tolerance towards others (through turn-taking and listening)

– communication skills

– increasing independence

– building positive friendships & relationships

Watch a recent Show & Tell session

Book a place

Sessions are available term time – MONDAYS – 4.30-5.30pm or 6-7pm

Via secure video call.

Booking is essential as group sizes are capped – email info@sensationall.org.uk

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Inclusive Play Park for Westhill

The planned car park extension and new playground installation is finally happening!

Visitors to the Old Schoolhouse over the last few years will be familiar with the parking constraints caused by the small onsite car park. Addressing this issue has been one of our key priorities following the completion of the Community Asset Transfer for the building and grounds in 2019 as, ensuring the safety of our families and visitors is vital. At the same time, there was an opportunity to create a fully inclusive space for ALL in the adjoining play park – the first of it’s kind in Westhill.

Over the last 18 months, our team have been carefully planning the upgrade of the outdated play park on Westhill Road. We worked with play equipment experts to create a design that offers something for all abilities and makes the most of the footprint. The carefully selected items include a sensory play frame with slide, swings for all ages and abilities as well as a wheelchair accessible trampoline and roundabout.

We are so excited to see work begin – the play park is going to be a fantastic asset to both our charity and Westhill!

Suz Strachan, Service Manager and Co-Founder

The design has also focused on retaining some open green space so families can enjoy picnics and children can play freely. The new park area will be surrounded by fencing to ensure it is a secure space, safe for children to run and explore.

Meanwhile, the car park extension will allow up to 20 vehicles to park onsite, massively improving safety for visitors to the Old Schoolhouse who previously had to park on the roadside. This will also reduce traffic congestion and inconvenience to our neighbours.

The new entrance to the car park from Westhill Road allows for one-way traffic flow to reduce the risk to pedestrians from turning vehicles.

While a designated drop off point has been created specifically to accommodate minibuses or larger vehicles.

Finally, the original car park area will be reserved for those requiring disabled access and larger parking bays.

With the project costing over £147,000 the task of securing the funding in the last year has been challenging and we feel extremely grateful that despite the pandemic so many organisations have pledged their support.

Special thanks go to our main donors – The Wooden Spoon Charity who are funding the majority of the play equipment costs and Aberdeenshire Council who have awarded us a large grant from their Developers Obligations Fund.

Our contributors:

We would also like to thank Fairhurst and our former Chair, Bob McCracken who were instrumental in making this project a reality. Thanks finally to Nicol of Skene for all their help and assistance.

In the future, we hope to add more elements to the park such as sensory panels – we’d love to hear from you if you have suggestions on what else you’d like in the park please get in touch!

Follow our Facebook page for more updates on the progress of the construction.

For all press or media enquiries please contact info@sensationall.org.uk

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SensationALL support

Recently, one of our amazing teens, Euan Gray was brave enough to tell his story to BBC Radio Scotland’s Michelle McManus.

Listen below to him talk about the difference that SensationALL made

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How to have a ‘SensationALL’ lockdown!

The Coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone and SensationALL is no exception!

With our face to face services at the Old Schoolhouse suspended, our dedicated team immediately began investigating alternative options to support our families remotely.

Social distancing and restricted movement have meant extensive changes in routine which is hard for everyone but, it is extra challenging for families living with a support need (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Attention Deficit Disorder, learning disabilities, sensory processing conditions and mental health issues).

That is why, at SensationALL, we are committed to continuing to offer our tailored, practical support to those who need it via digital platforms for as long as lockdown lasts.

SensationALL virtual services

For many of our service users, socialising and processing the world around them can be a constant, daily struggle. For our staff, the prospect of not having direct contact with service users was unthinkable and the team were all motivated to come up with new ways of continuing our much-needed support remotely.

So, with some creative, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking we devised a range of virtual services which will have a significant positive impact on our families’ lives, resulting in happier, calmer children and adults!

Despite a steep learning curve with video call platforms and IT (we’re clinicians so tech is not our strong point!) we are now in our second month of delivering a range of virtual services, including:

@home sessions

1:1 video calls with a SensationALL team member who provides tailored interaction.

The call can include sensory activities, relaxation, games or just a chat – whatever the individual needs!

virtual SociALLise

Weekly group video calls for our teenagers & young adults so they don’t miss out on keeping in touch with friends and all-important social interaction. The calls are a great way for the youngsters to share experiences and feelings with peers whilst being supported by our team.

So far, sessions have included… show & tell, quizzes on a variety of topics, drawing, zentangle (mindful) doodling, games (Pictionary, Charades etc.) group sing & sign, TikTok routines, origami, photo competitions and there’s more to come… phew!

mood meter

We’ve adapted our popular self-regulation programme to an online format!

This invaluable programme is for school-aged children with support needs who struggle with emotional regulation or behavioural management. We teach them how to identify, understand and deal with over-whelming emotions and situations. The 4-week online programme starts in May.

Tea and Tips

Our advisory consultations are needed now more than ever!

Parents/carers can have a confidential talk (phone or video call) with one of our senior practitioners about specific challenges they are facing. We will provide practical strategies and techniques to use at home to make lockdown easier.

We are great listeners!

So far, the response has been amazing with 90% of parents rating the virtual support sessions as ‘highly beneficial’ to the individual. Plus, 100% of them reported a benefit or high benefit to their own wellbeing. One parent commented:

 “My son has been unsettled and had a very difficult day the day before. Chatting with a member of the team helped him to remember he is part of a community, that those people are still there, and it reminded him to use his emotions assessment tool. He enjoyed the activities and the breathing exercise helped him settle his mind. Amazing all in a 30 min session!”

In addition to the structured services, we’ve increased the amount of FREE online content available to our followers on social media and those on our mailing list. We are sharing regular video tutorials on Facebook and You Tube so people can follow along at home (Makaton, yoga, make-your-own sensory tools, relaxation exercises and even baking).

Our newly created Resource web page is your reference point for all the best links, resources and guides out there – we’ll save you the time and effort of filtering all the masses of available information!

Plus, our series of @home e-newsletters are packed full of information of how to cope with lockdown when you’re caring for an individual with a support need or disability.

Lastly, (if all that wasn’t enough!) as part of the 2.6 Challenge fundraising campaign we compiled an electronic activity bookMake, Bake, Feel Great! – with 26 activities to do at home.

Copies of this fantastic resource are available in return for a small donation to support us while fundraising events are on hold.

But, we’re not done yet – we have more plans in development… online training courses (to replace of our previously scheduled workshops) and more possible virtual services for the summer.

Obviously, no one is sure how long lockdown or social distancing will last but, for as long as it does we’ll keep adapting our services to meet demand and support you however required.

Get in touch to tell us what you need and look out for future surveys asking for your feedback!

Stay safe, stay SensationALL!

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Easter Cheese Scones

We’ve decided to be different this Easter weekend and balance out all the sweet treats with our SensationALL savoury cheese scones!

Our esteemed leader, Suz tested out the recipe earlier this week and recorded a video for our social media channels so you can bake along with her.

Below is the full recipe or you can download the PDF to print below…

The end result!

Want to do more baking then check out our cupcake recipe here

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SensationALL Cupcakes!

Baking is a great activity to keep you occupied and the end result is a tasty treat!

Here is the step by step guide to make our easy and yummy SensationALL cupcakes…

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Explaining CoronaVirus

At SensationALL, we want to support parents/carers by sharing useful information and resources during this unsettling time of social distancing and self-isolation.

The outbreak of CoronaVirus is confusing and worrying for everyone, but the change in routine will be particularly upsetting for children and individuals with learning disabilities or support needs. So it’s important that we talk to them openly without terrifying them!

As you probably already know, Covid-19, is a respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. Symptoms are a fever and/or a dry, persistent (ongoing) cough.

In some people it can lead to shortness of breath and extreme cases may need hospital treatment.

If you show any of these symptoms, government advice is to stay at home for 7 days and for your entire household to self-isolate for 14 days.

Top tips:

Here are our suggestions of how to discuss the virus:

  • keep it simple (avoid too much detail or speculation)
  • stay positive – keep your voice light and upbeat – children will mirror your behaviour
  • give practical solutions – hand washing and tissue use are things they can control – you can even turn it into a game
  • end on a positive note – move onto a topic that is normal or fun for them so they don’t dwell on the virus information

Downloadable resources:

Check out the below guides and social stories that explain CoronaVirus and it’s implications in a simple, calming way:

Share your ideas with us

Whilst our normal SensationALL groups are suspended, we can still support you remotely, so feel free to contact us by phone or email for any advice or support. We also want you to tell us what resources/activities you’d like us to share – comment below or email us.

Plus, you can follow our social media channels and check the website for useful videos and posts about activities to do with your children at home during the school closures.

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How to have a SensationALL summer!

The school summer holidays are long awaited by parents and children alike, but a few weeks in and they can seem never ending! If you’re running out of ideas of what to do to entertain your kids then we are here to help.

Dealing with routine change

For children with support needs the holidays not only means a huge change to routine but also warmer weather resulting in wearing different clothes, putting on suncream, glare of the sun etc. all of which can be challenging for people with conditions such as Autism.

Here are our SensationALL tips and suggestions to tackle any challenges you may be having…

A sun cream sensory story example
  • Use a social story to explain why summer items like sun cream are required. When applying sun cream start with less sensitive areas such as arms and leave the face until last. Try turning it into a game where they ‘paint’ their skin with the suncream.
  • Put Winter clothes away out of sight if you can and make Summer clothes the only available choice to minimise confrontation about what to wear.
  • Use timetables to provide an awareness of what they will be doing that day. Add pictures of their choices to their timetable.
  • Offer a limited choice of activities maybe printing a picture of two options that you know you are able to do and let them to choose.
  • Find quieter times to go out to activities such as sessions specifically for people with additional support needs or times of the day that are quieter
  • Have ear defenders available at noisier times
  • Introduce a visual countdown of how many sleeps there are left until school; if you feel the person would find this helpful

Activity Ideas

Run out of parks to go to and picnics to have??

It can be hard to keep coming up with things to do with that will entertain the kids and not cost a fortune. Here are fab sensory activities we use at SensationALL that you can do at home:

Cornflour Putty – this has a melting texture which can be relaxing to feel and is great fun to make and play with:
– mix 2 cups of cornflour and 1 cup of conditioner until a dough is formed

Making cornflour putty

Sensory Shaving Foam Bag – once made this bag can be taken out with you and used on-the-go as a calming sensory tool:
– Take a zip lock bag and fill with shaving foam – Add a squeeze of two colours of paint – seal the bag and press to mix.

Making a shaving foam bag

Relaxation Glitter Bottle – a brilliant sensory toy: – Using a clean, clear plastic bottle (with screw top lid) add warm water, clear glue and glitter to create relaxing shaker.

Glitter bottle

We hope you all have a wonderful summer and look forward to seeing you for the new term starting from 19th August!

The SensationALL team x

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