Supporting Disabled Children

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Anne Marie Foster
Unit 319 Support disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs.

Children with special educational needs (SEN) all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age. It is important that early identification and intervention (The Special Educational Needs Code of Practise 2001) of SEN needs is put in place to minimise any distress to the child and greater benefit learning.

Special educational needs can range from a mild and temporary learning difficulty to severe, complex and permanent difficulties that will always affect the child's learning Wherever possible, these children 'should have their needs met within mainstream school with additional help and support provided. The majority of parents I encounter would prefer to have their child educated within a mainstream school and this may be because there is still a stigma attached to ‘special’ schools. Having a statement of SEN doesn't mean a child’s needs cannot or should not be met in mainstream education. Many children with statements flourish in the ordinary classroom as long as the support they need is provided effectively. Learning difficulties and disabilities can be mild, moderate, severe or profound. Children with severe or profound disabilities will require full time support, and so entering in mainstream education not possible. However, children with mild or moderate learning disabilities may be able to receive appropriate support. Often though the support needed is not always available or sufficient and if the child has ASD, the social aspect of a mainstream school can be overwhelming and traumatising for the child thus hindering learning and development. If a child is identified as needing extra support or is struggling with the day to day class work and routine or if different methods of teaching and specialist learning equipment are required, the school may recommend that the child is placed on ‘school action or school action plus. School Action and School Action Plus are designed to help a child learn more effectively through a graduated programme of help and intervention. The school has a duty to let parents know about this extra support. Ideally school and parents should work together to give the child the best possible chance of success. The type, nature and frequency of provision will be decided by the SENCo and class teacher, with parents consulted and kept informed. Strategies to support pupils’ needs in School Action and School Action Plus are usually set out in an individual education plan (IEP). If your child makes good progress, School Action may be discontinued.

School Action is taken to support a child who demonstrates some or all of: •Limited or no progress, or even (occasionally) regressing, despite efforts to ensure teaching is targeted at the child’s perceived areas of weakness; •Difficulty with the basics - literacy and/or numeracy;

Problems with social communication and interaction - may find it difficult to make friends, turn-take, sit-still, play; •Emotional or behavioural difficulties which haven’t improved despite deploying the school’s regular behaviour management techniques; •Sensory or physical problems and makes little or no progress despite the provision of specialist equipment. •School action plus involves all of the above plus extra support from outside agencies, i.e. Educational Psychologist and speech and language therapists.

School Action Plus will be used when:

A child makes little or no progress in specific areas of the curriculum over a long period; •Struggles to produce work on a par with their peers. Works at national curriculum levels significantly below those expected for children of a similar age; •Continues to have difficulty in developing literacy and numeracy skills; •...
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