Special Education Needs

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Part 1 – Audit of Provision
Students will identify, describe and collect evidence concerning an element of provision an aspect of provision or practice within their work setting that poses a barrier to the learning and participation of some /few / one or many pupils. The identified aspect of provision explored could relate, for example, to an aspect of educational/ curriculum provision, or physical access, staff roles or responsibilities, models of support and provision etc. which may inhibit the promotion of inclusive practice within the classroom or school.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Ronald Gulliford and Graham Upton say that special educational needs (SEN) came in use as a result of dissatisfaction:
The term special educational needs began to come into use in the late 1960s as a result of increasing dissatisfaction with the terminology used in the Handicapped Pupils and School Health Service Regulations (1945), which classified handicapped children into ten categories according to their main handicap.

(Gulliford and Upton, 1992)

The definition of SEN in the Education Act 1996 is: ‘a child has special educational needs................if he has a learning difficulty which a medical condition does not necessarily imply a ‘difficulty in learning’ or a ‘disability’ and therefore may not constitute a learning difficulty requiring special educational provision’.

Tomko (1996) defined inclusion in education as ‘ the act of attending regular education classes, with the supports and services needed to successfully achieve the individual’s IEP goals, while actively participating in activities as a member of the class who belongs’.

The writer believes inclusion is a desired state to be achieved, that may or may not occur by simple placement alone. It is an ongoing process. I believe that unless a child has sense of identity with the class, and unless he or she has the supports and services needed and is reaching his or her IEP goals then inclusion has not been achieved.

2.0 AREA CHOSEN

The writer is currently working at School X, a school in Malaysia and she finds that an element of provision that possesses a barrier to the learning and participation of some students in the school is teaching assistant.

The barrier that is faced by School X in connection with teaching assistant to support SEN students is teaching assistant in School X do not clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. Thus, will they to be able to play their roles and responsibilities towards SEN students?

Besides that, teaching assistant in school X do not have the necessary knowledge and skills in identifying and handling with Special Educational Needs students. Thus, will the teaching assistant(TA) be able to handle emergency cases involving SEN students or will the TA cause a worse situation which may lead to the SEN student being injured or harmed.

The writer chose teaching assistant as an element of provision that possesses a barrier to support SEN and Inclusive education in her school because she personally feels that teaching assistant plays a vital role in dealing with students with SEND. Groom, B. and R. Rose supports the researcher’s statement that a teacher assistant (TA) plays an important role in supporting pupils with SEN:

The role of the TA has undergone something of a transformation from the time when classroom assistants were seen as ‘an extra pair of hands’ in the classroom to the present day where they are perceived to have a more professional role.

(Groom, B. and R. Rose, 2005)

3.0 RESEARCH

The writer carried out a few informal interviews with the school staff and among the barriers listed to support SEN students in school X, she finds the barrier of a teacher assistant an interesting aspect to research on. The writer was a teacher assistant in school X for a year and she is keen to know how as a teacher assistant she could have assisted SEN...
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