A school in Stoke hosted the launch of a new national resource it helped develop to help children with special educational needs to learn, understand and communicate about sexual abuse. NSPCC Talk PANTS with Makaton, launched at Watermill School on Thursday, June 23, features Pantosaurus, a friendly dinosaur, who uses age-appropriate language to help primary schoolchildren understand that their body belongs to them and to recognise when something is not okay and how to tell someone.
The new scheme will be the first time Pantosaurus has shared resources using Makaton, a unique language programme for people with disabilities that features symbols, signs and speech to help improve communication.
The project has been developed by the NSPCC Together for Childhood Stoke partnership, Watermill School and The Makaton Charity, and will soon be shared across the UK.
Brigitta Beckett, from Watermill School, said: “We’re really proud to be part of this project, as it will give children a voice in difficult situations, particularly those who have communication difficulties.
“We got involved with the NSPCC Together for Childhood Stoke project several years ago, when Coventry University asked us to take part in some new research. The parents from our Watermill Parents Group became involved and discussed the challenges that lots of their children faced when communicating, especially around helping to keep them safe from sexual abuse.
“It was during these discussions that the idea of NSPCC Talk PANTS with Makaton originated from and although it has taken some time, we are so excited that we can finally share the resources with everyone. We know that these resources will make a huge difference to so many children and we are really pleased that we have been part of such a fantastic project.”
Since the PANTS campaign was launched, over 1.5 million parents have spoken to their children about the PANTS rules - .
Rachel Wallace, NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager for the Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to be launching these new resources at Watermill School where the idea for these resources first came about. Once launched, anyone across the UK will be able to access these resources via our website.
“Talk PANTS helps all children understand that their body belongs to them, and they should try to tell someone they trust if anything makes them feel upset or worried. Children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be abused than those without disabilities, so helping children with a range of needs to talk PANTS is really important.
“Children who use Makaton can now learn about the PANTS rules by watching a series of short films and they can continue the conversation with teachers and parents by using Makaton symbols and signs from our free downloads.”
The new free resources have been created in partnership with The Makaton Charity and include:
Six films – one for each of the five PANTS rules and a summary film
A guide for parents and carers
A children’s booklet
A prompt card pack which can be printed, laminated and cut into individual prompt cards
For more information, please visit nspcc.org.uk/pantsguides
to download the new resources and to watch the films.