Target Audience

Practitioners working with students who have special educational needs: Teachers, SENCOs, teacher aides, therapists, RTLBs and specialist teachers. 

About the workshop:

An anxious learner is one not ready, or able, to engage in effective learning in the classroom. This practical day will examine the sensory issues and physiological barriers to learning for the anxious learner; practical ways to identify and assess such barriers in addition to offering effective strategies to engage these students in learning. 

Although the focus will be primarily on the students we work with, the day will also cover our own well-being and how our own preferences and behaviours influence work in our learning spaces. 


Who is the anxious learner? 

We have always had, and worked with, students who live with a variety of issues linked to their social and emotional mental health. In recent years, policy has defined these learners as a precise group with identified needs to be addressed. Drawing on research, policy and our own experiences and knowledge, this session will form a baseline of shared understanding for the rest of the day. 

Communication Complications 

Communication is at the heart of learning and human interaction. When communication fails or is faulty, either by intent or accident, then misunderstanding, uncertainty and anxiety result. This session will consider the issues involved in creating and maintaining effective communication pathways to support security, shared understanding and learning. 

Sensory Signalling 

This session will examine the sensory elements that can influence the anxious learner in positive and negative ways. How can we work out sensory preferences and then utilise this information to support self-regulation at home and at school? 

The sensory demands of anxiety 

Fright/fight/freeze is a term which we always hear but what really causes this? It can be a host of things. So, in this practical session you will experience sensory diversions. The ideas and concepts demonstrated by both video and practical examples will help you to distract and de-escalate situations using sensory diversions and techniques to calm or engage. 

Learning Objectives 

Delegates will: 

  • understand the nature of anxiety and the students with Learning Support Needs 

  • understand how an anxious student presents and how we can identify a student with anxiety issues 

  • explore sensory diversions and de-escalation techniques for the anxious student 

  • be introduced to a practical framework to support an effective observation 

  • take away ideas on how to support an anxious student contribute to their educational review 

  • have new ideas on how to support emotional wellbeing and mindfulness in the classroom 

  • understand the contribution of unresolved sensory issues for the anxious student 


What others have said about this workshop:

‘What an exciting day! So many practical ideas that will support and inspire our learners’ 

Neil Kefford, Assistant Principal, Mt Richmond Special School 

´WOW! Fabulous workshop and presenter. So much learning and inspiration. So relevant. Great food!’ 

Jacqueline Killip, BLENNZ Homai School 

´Loved Richard’s interactive and fun presentation and have added to my toolbox. Thank you’ 

Tracy McKnight, West End School 

´Excellent resources. Lots of ideas to follow up on. Dynamic speaker. Kept everyone engaged. 

Janine Peak, Speech and Language Therapist, Carlson School 


Please email info@clickspecialednz.com for booking information

When and where?

22ND jANUARY 2019 - 9.30-3.30

COST: $200

About Richard


Richard Hirstwood is the founder and principal tutor of Hirstwood Training. His training courses have, and continue to be, experienced worldwide. His extensive experience is based on practical knowledge, giving him insight into what works and what doesn’t in multi- sensory practice. Regular sessions with children and adults with autism and all additional needs in a variety of multi-sensory and classroom settings enable him to maintain this level of excellent practice. He was the co-author of ‘The practical guide to multi-sensory rooms’ in 1995 and has continued to create both offline and online content. His YouTube channels have been viewed by over one million people and he constantly updates his ideas movies and papers. including a 7-hour online training course for iPads. He is constantly sharing ideas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, he has created nearly one hundred private training channels for schools on Vimeo. His enthusiasm for his subject and his sensory skills are endless! 

Click below if you need somewhere to stay