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Riverside Community Special School

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Wellbeing for All


Welcome to Wellbeing for All


In response to the parent survey, we would like to use this area of our website to keep you updated and informed about some of the things we are doing to increase your child’s wellbeing at school. Please read our Pupil Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Policy for further information, but you can find out here about some of the ways we are supporting your child’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing at school.


All pupils have a wellbeing IEP, and progress towards their target is recorded weekly in their Wellbeing Scrapbooks. However, our Wellbeing at Riverside board in the hall is also a great talking point for pupils. They love to see photos of themselves taking part in the different activities offered within each of the NHS Five Steps to Wellbeing! Our Wellbeing Board helps pupils remember the experiences and activities they have taken part in, and they are taught to understand it is okay to say if they didn’t enjoy something!


Through our Wellbeing curriculum, we help pupils to know they have a voice and to build a healthy repertoire of things they enjoy and would like to do again. We always give pupils the opportunity and means to communicate if they don’t enjoy something so they can start to voice their opinions and make choices that are safe and mentally healthy for them.


Many pupils are following the NHS 5 Steps to Wellbeing

  • Talking and listening to others
  • Being physically active
  • Trying new things (including being creative)
  • Helping and giving to others (including things I must do)
  • Being in the moment (mindfulness)


Preparing for Christmas


Christmas Day usually looks a bit different in every house and this can be very exciting. BUT! This will be mean there are changes to the usual routines and lots of our pupils may find this difficult. It can really help to try and plan Christmas with your child and make it more predictable so they can enjoy Christmas in their own way. Surprises can be fun but anything unpredictable can cause anxiety.


Tips (


The National Autistic Society website offers some autism-friendly tips for the festive season. Here is a summary of their top tips (with a few of ours!) to support you to think about what is best for your family:

  • Don’t feel pressured to do things just because they work for other families.
  • Try to plan for the whole Christmas break - including quiet days to recoup if your family needs them.
  • Remember, it’s okay to keep things low key and by reducing excitement you are reducing stress.
  • For some children, keeping surprises to a minimum helps them to enjoy Christmas even more! Try to get them involved in the planning so they know what to expect.


“Last year, my son chose his main present, and checked it was right when it arrived, then it was wrapped. He felt better knowing his present was right, and it wouldn’t be a surprise, so started the day calm.”


  • For some children, it helps them to know what their presents are before they unwrap them (they can even help you wrap them!) This keeps surprises to a minimum but they still get to open the gifts they want without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
  • Don’t forget your visuals! These can be extra helpful at Christmas, when there are so many surprises and changes to the usual routine. Using a schedule for all the usual routines can be really helpful.
  • Try to stay aware that what might seem like a 0 – 60 meltdown, could be triggered by a number of Christmassy things happening. There might be unfamiliar scents or cooking smells in the home or a lot more noise when you get together with family. Remember what works for your child and plan for this in advance – if your child normally needs ear defenders because of sensory overload, they will definitely need them on Christmas Day.
  • Elf on the Shelf and “Santa’s watching” can be stressful for children who don’t always fully understand behaviour expectations.
  • Remember you child might need a quiet space they know they can go to for a sensory break (perhaps where they can’t see ‘Christmas’!) Those fairy lights everyone loves can be really overwhelming!
  • Times are Tougher this Year. Think about your own wellbeing too.
    • Try not to spend money you don’t have on Christmas gifts you can’t afford.
    • If you’re visiting family and friends, tell them about anything that could help take the stress out of things. When your family don’t understand, it can be hard for them too and they will want to help if they can.
    • Having a menu from family in advance means you can talk about what food there will be and will give you a chance to bring alternatives you know your child is more likely to eat.


Top tips to help make your Christmas autism-friendly