Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Working with Children with Special Educational Needs

Working with Children with Special Educational Needs Alison Carr Children with Disabilities or Specific Requirements Today, mainstream schools educate numerous children with specific educational needs or disabilities. For some time it has been enshrined in our domestic law that children with such needs should not be discriminated against and have the right to be treated fairly. Every child has the right to an inclusive education. The Legal and Regulatory Requirements The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child applies to all children and sets out basic entitlements and rights for example; Article 12 – the views of the child should be taken into account. Along with The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability, the Conventions also set out specific rights for disabled children underscoring promoting equality of treatment and more specifically, Article 24- Education requires that children with disabilities are entitled to be educated within an inclusive educational system, receive support accommodating individual requirements to facilitate an effective education and so to maximise academic and social development. Article 7 specifies that the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration and Article 9 requires that children with disabilities have equal access, without barriers, within a school to the physical environment including communication, information and technology. The various rights and entitlements under these conventions underpin our domestic legislation in the areas of special educational needs. The most recent legislation is the Children and Family Act 2014 (â€Å"the 2014 Act†) which places schools under a duty to make arrangements for supporting children with medical conditions and in meeting this duty schools must have regard to the statutory guidance – Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions. Further to this there is additional provision in relation to children with a disability defined under The Equality Act 2010 †Ã¢â‚¬ ¦a physical and mental impairment that has a substantial long term and negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities†. The relevant part of this Act is that schools must have reasonable adjustments in place to prevent children with disabilities being treated differently or at a disadvantage to other children. Further children with disabilities must not be victimised , harassed or discriminated against. The 2014 Act also introduces Education, Health and Care Plans. These plans have come into place in September 2014 and will make a statutory assessment of that child’s special educational needs then also communicating with the relevant health and social care teams to bring all the information together into one plan. The difference between a statement and an Education, Health and Care plan are overall family centred, gathering information from all services involved at the point of referral. The aim is to help improve outcomes and this will replace Statements of Special Educational Needs. Children who currently already have a statement will go through the transition process to achieve an Education, Health and Care Plan. Inclusive Practice It is our duty to children with disabilities and special educational needs who are placed in a mainstream educational setting to fulfil a positive developing experience in an inclusive practice. Where the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (June 2014) focuses on inclusive practice, it states that the government in the United Kingdom have a commitment to inclusive education of disabled children and young people, progressively removing barriers to learning and the participation of pupils in mainstream education. For settings to succeed in achieving this, adults will need to work together closely as a team to ensure appropriate education and care for such children. It is important for children with a disability or special educational needs that they are given the same expectations to succeed as their peers. This will promote and develop social skills to enable positive confidence and transition into adulthood. Therefore leaders of educational settings must undertake the correct training and collaborate the right support aiming towards successfully including all children with disabilities and special educational needs in mainstream schools. Settings will need to take into account extra-curricular activities, school visits and trips. ‘It is through this inclusive ethos that all children feel secure and able to contribute and in this way stereotypical views are challenged and pupils can learn to view differences in others in a positive way.’ OFSTED Report 2003 Partnership with Parents and Other Professionals. The Children’s Act 2014 aims to ensure the welfare of the child is paramount having a greater emphasis on parental involvement. Subsequently the Children’s Act 2014 states each local authority is responsible in setting out a ‘local offer’ available to Early Years settings and schools for families to access easy-to-understand information with options available to help support children who are disabled or have special educational needs and their families who need additional help. This provision will include transport services and leisure facilities. If parents or carers cannot access the internet for any reason this must be available in another format. Inevitably the goal is to ask the child and their family what assistance they feel that they need and receive feedback on their ‘local offer’ so this can then improve even further. Within the ‘local offer’ parents and children will receive a greater choice and control over their support in their provisions and home life, this includes personal budgets. Parent forums set up in local areas are a great way for discussing contacts and communicating with other parents who may be in similar situations. Early Years professionals, Teachers along with the provisions Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and in some cases any other professionals involved must take part in structured conversations with each child and their parents. Individual Pupil Profiles and Individual Educational Plans must be signed by all parties with participation and involvement in all areas of the profiles and plans. Parents can play a great if not essential role at all stages of their child’s education helping immensely in improving achievement. Parents can aid a learning community and help by positively engaging their child with staff and peers. Parents will then begin to understand the role they play in their child’s learning and development. There will undoubtedly be hurdles but with an excellent inclusive practice with a strong professional team in place, barriers will be resolved. These hurdles from parents contributing to and who are which supporting their child’s education may consist of a high level of educational aspirations for their child in which case settings need to ensure practical obstacles and professional attitudes are addressed alongside measures to support parents goals. Every local authority must guarantee that everyone is involved in discussions and any decisions which support provision and learning for the individual child. The ultimate result in an inclusive practice is for a best and positive outcome, making sure the child’s and family’s needs are met and for the child to prepare for adulthood. Existing Practice Every existing educational practice should have a designated teacher holding the role of Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENco). This teacher should be trained in this area to be able to manage and support specific children and the staff team. It is vital that all teachers throughout the school and support staff have valuable training in all special educational needs areas. This training should be of a high quality and where necessary staff may have personalised training for each individual child to be able to achieve the best positive outcome for that child with their specific needs. Each practice should be concentrating on four areas of development: Communication and interaction Cognition and learning Social, Emotional and mental health difficulties Sensory and/or Physical These areas should then transfer into regular assessments for each individual child. ‘Once a potential special educational need is identified, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special education provision in place. This SEN support should take the form of a four part cycle- assess, plan, do, review. This is known as the graduated approach’ SEND Code of Practice 2014 0-25yrs Chapter 6- Schools. All teachers educating a child with a disability or a special educational need should have termly meetings with the parents and the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator to discuss their child’s individual educational plan making sure positive targets are being met for the child. Also a meeting with the child present at certain points throughout their academic year to discuss their Pupil Profile to make sure everything is up to date and that the child is happy in their learning. Ofsted will need to see evidence of individual pupil progress in every school from children with special educational needs. Clearly showing positive outcomes graduating into ongoing effective monitoring and finally evaluation of their special educational needs support. When adapting an educational practice for a visually impaired child considering the surrounding environment for that child will be main priority. Around the classroom setting staff need to consider lighting, colour/tone and contrast. When the individual child moves between rooms will a dark room going into a light room or light room going into dark room affect the child? Will signage around the room need to be adapted? Risk assessments will need to be carried out underlining the physical environment for example stairs, steps, fixtures and fittings. Most educational settings now have interactive white boards. Seating positions for individual children will need to be taken into account. In relation to adapting the setting, the position of the teacher’s chair is very important this should not be in front of an outside window as this will cause the teacher to become shadow like for the child. When the child is navigating around the environment edges need to be highlighted and activity areas need to be well defined. Movement around the setting needs to flow clearly and effectively. Staff need to be aware of how adapting the environment will affect other children. Personal, social and educational development issues can be shared during circle times with every child included in the setting. Learning tools such as braille books, Load 2 Learn reading books and treasure chests which focus on sensory learning will help support and encourage positive fun education. Some visually impaired children may suffer with behavioural issues, this may need extra staff support and training and will need to be regularly monitored. Other reservations in an educational setting to consider will be the child’s personal care, school assemblies, school trips, physical education lessons including sports day and hand over times both in the morning and after school pick up time. With all special educational needs children there needs to be a contingency plan in place, in regards to a visually impaired child for example this may involve their glasses getting accidentally broken. When staff are assessing each individual child’s progress they need to ensure the child has the correct resources for their target level making sure activities are not too easy or too challenging which may result in a barrier towards that child’s learning or participation. Conclusion In conclusion to this, inclusion is essential for each and every child under the special educational needs umbrella and we must adopted this ethos by working closely with parents to help support their child’s education and collaborating with all other professionals involved. Working together and having a flexible supportive team is the key to achieving an inclusive education for all children. Unfortunately in some cases lack of knowledge and training from early year’s practitioners and teachers is one of the main barriers to inclusion. The special educational needs umbrella has helped professionals understand that training and support for children with disabilities and special educational needs is vital for every individual child’s positive progress and to reach their full potential in an inclusive mainstream school. Finally underpinning the United Nations Convention Rights of the Child and the Children’s Act 2014 working with teaching strategies which are presently being used in mainstream schools can be adapted to assist pupils with disabilities and special educational needs therefore creating an inclusive practice throughout the school. Alison Carr [Type text] Working with Children with Special Educational Needs Working with Children with Special Educational Needs Joanne Boyden There are a number of regulations and requirements in place to protect children with special educational needs or disabilities. It was originally believed that children with needs should be sent to a special school and therefore choice for parents and children was very limited. However, with the implementation of laws and regulations this has very much changed, with children with needs attending mainstream schools of their parents’ and their choice wherever this is possible. The onus is very much on the setting being adapted for the child rather than the child being unable to fit in with the mainstream setting. The laws regarding children start with the Education Act 1970 which saw the transfer of the responsibility to educate children with special needs from the health service to the local authority. As a result of this special schools were built. Around this time the medical model of disability was frequently used. This model labelled the child as somehow having a fault. The focus was very much on what the child could not do rather than their skills and aptitudes. This model focused on the perceived need for segregation hence the need for separate special facilities. Opinion suggests this model puts a great deal of anxiety and stress upon the parents of the child and limits the choices and opportunities they can give the child. The Warnock report looked into SEN and from this report a number of suggestions were consequently made. Suggestions looked at how the child could access the curriculum and how to adapt the environment to meet the needs of the child thus enabling them to do this. The Education ACT 1981 took a lot of its claims from the Warnock report and gave power to the parents. It also outlined in detail the legal responsibilities of the LEA. The Education reform Act 1988 saw the introduction of the National Curriculum. This ensured consistency of teaching across schools. However this could still be adapted to meet the needs of children with SEN and Disabilities. The Children’s Act 1989 states that the needs and wishes of the child are paramount and should be considered when at all possible in all decision making processes. This again gives more power to children with SEN in where and how they are educated. The Education Act 1993 brought about the need for specific guidance on the identification of children with SEN. The SENCo was introduced and again gives more power to the parents and in a way gave them a voice through the SENco. The disability discrimination Act 1995 brought in such laws as it being illegal to discriminate against disabled people in relation to employment housing etc. It could be argued that the most important law of all regarding children with disabilities or specific requirements is the SEN code of practice 2001. This is the Act that gives the power to the child and their parents. Most importantly this act gave rise to the law that children with SEN have the right to a mainstream education. There was an immense focus on inclusive practise and the adaption of the environment to fit the child and not the other way around as previous. This act fully encompasses the social model of disability. This act gives upmost power to the parent to choose where their child is educated and how. The Act is embodied by seven key principles. The first is that the knowledge of parents should be taken into account in all decisions. They do after all know their own child and their individual needs better than anyone else. The second states that the focus should be on what the child can do not what they cannot. The third principle states that parent’s feelings and emotions should be supported. The fourth and again these are very much linked, states that parents should be fully involved with all decisions. The fifth principle states that parents know what is best for their child. The sixth principle shows that parents may also suffer disability and this should be supported and understood. Finally the seventh principle, states that meetings should be arranged in good time and at times suitable for the parents. Parents may have other siblings to look after or they may be juggling employment and childcare. They cannot always be there for a meeting at a time suitable for the set ting. This should be considered when all meetings are being set. The act fully highlights the need for positive and close relationships with parents aswell as empowerment for the child. The act states the importance of early identification and close monitoring of all intervention and support through the use of documents such as IEP’s. The act also give guidance on the levels of support through school action and school action plus and indicates who is responsible and at what levels of the support process. In summary there are a number of regulations and laws that support children and their families with SEN and disability all of which should be carefully adhered to when working with the children and their family. The outcome if the laws are followed correctly should be a happy fulfilled child reaching their full potential with happy parents. This would abide by the principle of every child matters ensuring that all children whatever their needs are given support to fulfil their goals. It is extremely important to work inclusively with children with disabilities or specific requirements. Firstly this would adhere to the SEN code of conduct which explores the need to work inclusively. Inclusions involves â€Å"looking for ways of helping children to join in who would tradtionally be excluded from settings or activities† pg 312 Children’s care learning and development. It can also be described as â€Å"a process of identifying, understanding and breaking down barriers to participation and belonging† pg 312 as above. It is important to note that it is the environment that should be adapted rather than trying to fit the child to the environment. This may mean things such as having activities laid out on table tops rather than on the floor, giving extra time for dressing for PE etc. The areas that need to be addressed depend very much on the need of the child. No matter what that need the child has the same rights to be given the same opportunities as a child without needs. In fact most children have needs in some areas and working under every child matters, environments and opportunities should be differentiated for all children so that all can reach their full potential. One example of inclusion would be a child who has a physical need. Rather than simply saying they cannot participate in PE, they may need extra time to dress/undress. It is important to allow the child to do as much for themselves as they possibly can. If they require help they should be asked if they want help first. Also the ac tivity itself should be looked at. If it is a ball game can it be adapted to include the child. A child that is not allowed to participate fully as the others can soon become frustrated and segragated from their fellow pupils. This would be following the medical model rather than fully embracing the social model of disability. Allowing children with needs to fully participate also teaches the other children a valuable lesson of acceptance of difference and tolerance. It aids to promote acceptance in the school community as a whole. Often when looking at inclusion it can be the views and attitudes of the adults that can be the actual barrier to inclusion. The child involved may be capable of far more than the adult believes if they were given the chance to do so. It is important wherever possible to include the child in whatever the class is involved in rather than taking them away for specific individual work. Before long a well meaning adult can take the child away from many activi ties they are fully capable of taking away their right to inclusion in that task. The relationship between parent and setting cannot be underestimated. At the end of the day parents are the ones who know the child best and are therefore in the best position to say what is best for the child. They are the experts on their own child regardless of their need or disability. They can provide insight into how the child behaves at home and also if there have been any changes in the child they can often provide answers as to why this may be. The relationship between setting and parent can often be difficult and views can vary significantly as to what is best for the child. However the relationship should be one of compromise and trust. Again working closely with parents and involving them in all decision making processes is key and in fact necessary to adhere to the SEN code of conduct. It is not always an easy relationship to maintain in a positive way but it is crucial to do this. Parents may be upset and angry and may not wish their child to be labelled. In some circumstances they may deny that their child has any needs and wish them to be treated in exactly the same way as the other children when this may not always be suitable or possible. Parents may suffer disabilities themselves and this must be taken into consideration when working closely with parents. Not only is the relationship with parents key to providing the best environment for the child but also good clear relationships with other professionals is key. This may take the form of speech and language experts, educational psychologists, health workers, social workers. It is imperative that this relationship is both clear and a two way relationship for the benefit of the child. In many instance the setting may simply not have the expertise as to what is best for the child and the professionals eg speech and language can offer valuable resource and knowledge. Practitioners must wherever possible strive to adapt their environment to meet the needs of the child with disabilities. This does very much depend upon what those specific needs are. For example if the child has a visual impairment care must be taken to remove any tripping hazards. Also if changes to the environment are made the child should be made aware of them. Specific instruction should be given if for example the room has to be evacuated quickly does the child knows the procedure to follow? Any areas that the child has to frequent regularly should be easily assessable to the child for example their coat peg should be at the end of the row, their lunch box easy to access. The other children within the class should be taught to be aware of the room, chairs should be tucked in, toys should be removed from the floor. When considering the child’s needs for example with reading the work do paper actvitities need to be enlarged/ coloured in a specific way? Depending on the sev erity of the need can books be made available in Braille, can audio books be used? The toys and games of the classroom should be looked at, is there a requirement for electronic speaking toys. Any items used should be made part of the normal day for all children where possible to avoid any kind of segregation. The teacher should be aware to verbalise any key activities such as playtimes, lunchtimes etc. All the children in the class should be encouraged to use some of the aids to promote empathy and regard within the class and also to normalise any intervention material. For example visual aids could be used by all the children in certain lessons. Any equipment needed to support the child should be purchased and this is where it may be beneficial to apply the expertise of the experts. For example a practioners initial reaction may be to say the child should be given alternative activities during PE sessions. However this may not need to be the case as with appropriate equipment such as balls that make a noise, they could fully participate along with their peers. Often it is the views and beliefs of the people involved in the teaching of the child that have to be changed and certainly not the child themselves. With a little creativity most daily activities can be adapted and differentiated to meet the varying and sometimes challenging needs of children. Therefore to conclude, there are many acts that govern how children with needs are educated and with careful consideration of both parents and the child these can be successfully followed. Through inclusive practice and good communication the needs of the child and wishes of the parent can be successfully met. References: Burnham Louise, (2008), The Teaching Assistants Handbook, Essex, Heinemann. Beith Kate (2008), Children’s care learning and Development, Essex, Heinemann. Special Educational Needs code of Practise:, Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: Working with Children with Special Educational Needs Working with Children with Special Educational Needs The Legal and Regulatory requirements that are in place for children with disabilities. Legal and regulatory requirements are in place to help children with disabilities or special educational needs against discrimination. The specific laws and regulations in place are; The Equality Act (2010), Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (SEND)(2014), The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC) and The united Nations Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. The main principle of the Equality Act (2010) is to ensure children with disabilities or special educational needs have access to public settings and services. Therefore reasonable adjustments must be made to enable this to happen such as changes in the environment. The SEND code of practice (2014) promotes the value of an individuals needs. The main principle being the child has their needs met as well as having access to the core provision available to their peers. Children with (SEND) should be given full access to education in an appropriate delivered curriculum, to enable them to reach their full potential. The United Nations Convention on The Rights of persons with Disabilities ensures disabled people enjoy human rights as a non-disabled person would. The code of practice states that parents must be included in any decisions or support given to a child and where appropriate the child’s views should be sought. It outlines measures that can be taken to reduce barriers and promote the rights of disabled children so these children can participate equally with other children. They ensure the child’s best interests are in consideration and they are given chance to express their own views and opinions. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a generic document that gives children rights regardless of their individual needs and circumstances. It highlights the importance of the voice of the child, their individual needs, adapting the environment so they can learn, play and rest and to give them the rights to all of the 54 articles. Why it is important to work inclusively with children with disabilities. It is important that practitioners work inclusively with children with special educational needs or disabilities so these children are given the same amount of opportunities as children without special educational needs or disabilities. They have the right to be educated in mainstream schools with other children. It is statutory that all children’s needs are recognized and met. All children are individuals and unique therefore they will have specific strengths and weaknesses. Practitioners have the responsibility to provide a non-discriminated environment, and to accommodate all children’s strengths and weaknesses, which will be facilitated in the curriculum and planning through differentiation. A child with special educational needs, or a disability, needs to feel welcome in a setting and to feel at ease and not to feel different to others. It’s important to make the child feel confident. This can be achieved by promoting a child’s self esteem by including them with decisions regarding their interests and by allowing children to try new things and to encourage them to try again using lots of praise. Practitioners are responsible to plan and set up activities based on the child’s interests and hobbies in order to make the child feel at ease and confident. Children with individual needs may require activities or environments to be adapted to meet their needs. Therefore practitioners need to plan with consideration and knowledge of all the child’s specific needs. Activities which may be too difficult or too simple should be adapted to meet the child’s level of understanding or be age related to meet their needs. However it is still important that these children are still challenged and stretched to reach their full potential. Practitioners and senco can work together to create individual educational plans (I.E.P). Individual educational plans are not required within the SEND but practitioners must make record of the provisions put in place. It is important to have in place specific resources to meet their needs to be able to complete activities. The child should never be made to feel inadequate or unable to access activities set, as this would impact and effect their self esteem. A child with a disability should be able to have access in all areas of their setting. Adaptations should be made, for example, ramps at entrances, ground floor classroom use and furniture layout changed to give access. The benefits of working in partnership with parents and other professionals. Working in partnership with the parents/carers of a child with special educational needs or disabilities is very important and is good practice. Most parents/carer’s know their child best. Unless in situations where the parent has a disability themselves. The parents/carer’s also have the most understanding and experiences of the child. The parents/carers can give professionals information that is important to give the child the support they need. The parents need to feel supported and comfortable to discuss their childs needs. The parents/carer’s feelings need to be taken into account as they may find it emotional or stressfull to talk about their childs additional needs. The parents of a child with additional needs may also have some additional needs, they may find talking about their child’s needs difficult to understand and may need support with this. Therefore it is important for practitioners to be aware of this point and provide these parents with h ome support such as Action for Children to explain certain terminology that they will understand. The parents/carer’s views and contributions help professionals to work more effectively to meet the childs needs. Parents/carer’s need to be given as much knowledge as possible about their child’s entitlements within the SEND framework. They should be given time and support to understand and complete any documentation or procedures. This will ensure an effective two way communication process and will deliver a robust support package for the child. Everyone involved should clearly understand the aims and goals for the child. Behavior and progress needs to be reported to parents so they feel included. Parents may need support with their child’s well-being and behavior at home so settings should offer them family learning sessions that may be available. A good relationship with parents is vital so they can work closely with professionals for the best of the chil d and their needs. A child may be experiencing a good or challenging day and so effective communication in sharing this information will be of great benefit to the child and practitioner knowing what best support to deliver that day. The working partnership between other professionals and the school/setting and the parents/carers is important so everyone can have a good understanding of the childs needs and the best ways to give them what they need. For example speech and language therapists may set activities and work for practitioners and parents to carry out to help the child. This is the same for physio therapists, health visitor, peadiatricians and social workers. They play important roles for the child. Multi agency work is so vital. All professionals working with a child and the family must understand and be fully aware of each others roles, goals and strategies. A childs education, health, development and well-being are interlinked and impact on each other. Regular reviews a mongst multi agencies must take place in a timely manner to ensure all those are made accountable for their input, to discuss any improvements or deterioration in a child’s development and to move the child on further. Children with disabilities are vulnerable and all those working with them must ensure they are kept safe from harm, neglect and abuse. Regular reviews and close working together will highlight any signs of potential concern and early strategies can be put into place to ensue the best for the child. Describe how practitioners can adapt their existing practice to support children with disabilities. Practitioners must be aware of their legal duties underlined in legislation, understand how their role fits into this and to carry this out on a daily basis. Practitioners must make others aware of their duties to include children with disabilities and challenge and negative remarks or practice. Resources must be readily available to adapt activities for individual children. Children’s interests, ability and safety must be met when planning their education. A child should be willing and eager to participate in an exciting and appropriate activity to best support their learning and achievements. Resources must be easily accessable to the child to promote their independence and self esteem that they can do things for them selves and can achieve. A range of real resources should be available to choose. Practitioners must be aware if a child has difficulties in making choices and being independent. If so a visual timetable and providing two choices will be of better support. A child with sensory difficulties may find it difficult in a large classroom and may benefit from a smaller and quieter environment. Health and safety must be a priority so a child cannot injure themselves or others when moving around the classroom. Here it is important that the layout of a room, stor age of resources and their location is kept the same so a child can learn where things belong. Children experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties will require a sensitive adult and an environment that allows them to express their feelings be it positive or negative and still feel valued. A child may need support during crisis and therefore an area to go that is safe from causing themselves or other harm. They may need support in choosing an activity, visual aids such as photographs at activities or holding up real objects may be useful. It is essential that records are kept and observations are recorded of additional support and activities that are put in place as extra help for children with disabilities. This can be in the form of an Individual Educational Plan, which details specific targets and timescales for professionals to work on with a child. Plans of how professionals are going to achieve those targets e.g. what resources will be used, what activities, who will be involved, for how long and how often and notes on how it went and observations on a child accessing and using the resources and their learning and development all should be recorded as evidence and used as support in moving the child on further. A successful record keeping system needs to be established in settings that works for them and the individual child and that parents and other professionals can add to regularly; such as half termly and can understand.

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