Special Education Needs

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What has changed? For one fictional child with a particular SEN, describe the educational support available to them in 1960, and the support they would receive today, discussing what has changed and why.

In this essay I am firstly going to write about what is meant by the term special educational needs; then I will talk about the history of my chosen topic which is autism; when it was diagnosed, who diagnosed it, how labelling can affect a child suffering from autism, and what treatments are available to assist autistic people in leading some-what normal lives. I will also write about the medical and social model, what they are and how they relate to SEN, I will then write about the SEN Code of Practice and special educational needs coordinators and touch upon the 1987 Warnock report.

The definition of SEN according to the 1996 Education act is, a child has special educational needs if he/she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational requirements to be made for them (Farrell, 2003). A child is said to have a learning difficulty if they have a considerably greater struggle in learning than most children of the same age and they have a disability which prevents or stops from making full use of their educational facilities provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local educational authority (Farrell, 2003).

I have chosen to discuss how the education support has changed for children suffering from the autistic spectrum disorder. The word ‘Autism’ first came about in 1911 by a Swiss Dr named Eugen Bleuler (Freedman, 2009) the term was based on the Greek word ‘autos’ meaning self; the actual disorder he was referring to was schizophrenia. Autism was later identified in 1943 by Dr Leo Kanner (Freedman, 2009) he believed mental and biological element played a key role in autism. Autistic spectrum disorders are usually present from birth or early stages of development (NRC, 2001). Autism is a disability that affects how someone communicates and interacts with others (Brill, 2008). The disability arises due to problems in the nervous system; which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and a network of nerves that permits us to move, think, and sense the world (Brill, 2008); how an individual with autism learns and develops will depend on how the nervous system interacts with the environment around them (Brill, 2008). Autism affects vital human behaviours e.g. social interaction, the ability to communicate ideas and feelings, imagination, and the ability to form close bonds and feelings (NRC, 2001). Children with autism look physically normal however they display a series of behaviours that are autism related (Brill, 2008); doctors usually identify autism by looking at a variety of signs that point to the condition and how it affects the way the person learns and develops; the signs can be mild or severe depending on the child as we are all different (Brill, 2008). Autistic disorders usually have long lasting effects on how children are as social beings, how they learn to look after their selves and participate in their community (NRC, 2001). A range of autistic behaviours is called autism spectrum disorder; at one end of the spectrum is Asperger syndrome which is the mildest form of autism those with the disorder function more self-reliantly unlike those with more severe autism (Brill, 2008) children with Asperger tend to speak by the time they are age four but their voices usually lack emotion. Children with Asperger normally have some trouble interacting with their peers (Brill, 2008). Asperger sufferers tend to test well but lack common sense; experts believe that Asperger is a different disability to autism (Brill, 2008). The most severe the type of autism the more it affects your learning and behaviour to the point that in some cases it can cause mental retardation which greatly slows the learning and progress of a young child (Brill, 2008). Many of those with autism...
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