A West Bridgford mum is making a huge difference to children and young people with SEND and sensory processing challenges across Nottingham and the East Midlands.
Nottingham mum of two and former Primary School teacher, Helen Fores, launched her business Spark Sensory Ltd a little over two years ago, initially delivering high quality sensory classes for babies and toddlers. However, due to the success of her classes, business determination and a recognition that Helen’s specialist knowledge is both in demand and necessary in education settings, her business has grown exponentially over the last 12 months. Helen now offers specialist training and consultancy across the East Midlands, with a team of three freelance education specialists who work alongside her.
Helen now splits her time between delivering her sensory classes for babies and children aged 6 weeks to 3 years old, under her new brand ‘Baby Sparks’ and delivering training to parents/carers, schools, nurseries and other education settings under her consultancy and training business; ‘Spark Sensory Ltd’.
“As a former Special Needs Coordinator and Assistant Head Teacher in a large inner-city primary school, I understood the challenges pupils faced on a daily basis. In my role as special needs coordinator I often felt the weight of barriers to truly positive inclusion for our most vulnerable pupils. This was always a lack of training, time and resources to fully support pupils with autism, sensory processing challenges, early traumatic experiences and behavioural difficulties. Time and time again I felt the systems failed the pupils”
!I couldn’t change it from the inside out so I set myself a personal goal; two years to change it from the outside in. Over the last 12 months I have developed training packages that focus on positive inclusion, using physical activity, therapeutic approaches and always a focus on what a child can do, never what they cannot”
Through Spark Sensory, Helen and her associates now deliver a range of support and training packages to schools, nurseries and education settings across the East Midlands.
“Our growth has been very organic in that high quality, affordable, relevant and up to date training in education has been somewhat lacking in recent years. School budget cuts and the steady decline of specialist advisors in local authorities has meant that many schools are left with nowhere to turn to access the specialist support they require. That is where Spark Sensory Ltd comes in. We offer training packages that are practical, accessible and financially viable for schools. Our passion for inclusion is what drives us and positive recommendations based on the work and training we do is what makes school leaders choose Spark Sensory Ltd to train their staff time and time again”
“Helen and her team have worked with staff and pupils to provide a comprehensive sensory curriculum. Staff find their sessions invaluable in developing their understanding and skills when offering therapeutic and sensory approaches to enable learning and inclusion. The impact has been overwhelmingly positive and it has enhanced our provision; providing pupils with an environment that is safe, personalised and promotes a sense of belonging” Mrs Kate Green, Executive Principle, Portland Spencer Academy and Glenbrook Primary School.
Helen also recognises that parents and carers are desperate to access support and guidance on how to best help their children in the home too. She has therefore arranged Spark Sensory’s first autumn conference “Sense it!” which is running on the 13th November at Brewhouse and Kitchen, Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The morning conference is specifically designed for parents/carers and foster carers. The afternoon conference is designed for practitioners, social workers, and anyone who supports a child or young adult with special needs in an education setting.
“The conference is set to be a fantastic, inclusive event with workshops being delivered by myself, and two further specialists who are recognised as leaders in their areas of specialism within the UK. We have priced tickets as competitively as we can in order to open the training up to as many people as we can”
If you would like further details of any of the support offered through Spark Sensory Ltd to include their baby and toddler sensory classes, additional needs friendly classes, school-based consultancy and their Autumn conferences head on over to the website or their social media accounts.