Special Educational Needs

Topics: Special education, Educational psychology, Learning disability Pages: 5 (1784 words) Published: May 20, 2013
This Essay aims to discuss the range of special educational needs in mainstream primary schools, analysing appropriate teaching and learning strategies to support learning. Special Educational Needs (SEN) is defined as children with learning difficulties that call for special educational provision to be made for them. Children have a learning difficulty if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children the same age and/or have a disability that prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities, provided for children of same age (Department for Education, 2001 pp6).The first modernised provision for children with a disability came with Education (handicapped children) Act 1970. Up until this act, some children were still not considered educable and therefore not entitled to an education. This act entitled all children regardless of disability to an education. The next major reform came with the Education Act in 1981, which was heavily influenced by ideas form the Warnock report 1978. The Warnock report recommended dropping categories of difficulty and applying more focus on the needs of the individual child. It recognised that each child is different and that categorising children when it came to making educational provision for them could be counter-productive and unhelpful (Spooner, 2011 pp8). For example, a child with a hearing aid does not necessary have the same learning difficulties as another child with a hearing aid, as one child could excel in one field and struggle in another and vice versa. There are a range of SEN’s that fall under four strands; Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD)/Communication and Interaction/Cognition and learning/Sensory and/or Physical. Under Cognition and Learning falls Specific Learning Difficulties and it is these SPLD’s that are common in most mainstream schools i.e. dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia. Most commonly these are difficulties with reading, writing, spelling or number work. Dorothy Smith (1996) defines SPLD’s as being – Significant problems of synthesising (bringing together information in the brain), organising (making sense and order of this information) and memorising (holding on to this information in order to use it at will). Provision for pupils with these learning difficulties is a matter for the school as a whole. In practice the division of day-to-day responsibilities is a matter for individual schools, to be decided in the light of a schools circumstances and size, priorities and ethos (Department for Education, 2001 pp13). Since 1994 all schools in England and Wales have been required to have a teacher designated to the role of special needs coordinator (SENCO) and the 1994 Code of Practice detailed the tasks that should be covered in this role (Cowne, 2003). Dyslexia is the most common SPLD found in schools and indeed people in everyday life, with estimates by the British Dyslexia Association claiming that 4 per cent of the population are dyslexic and up to ten per cent have some degree of difficulty (Spooner, 2011 pp15). Therefore it is inevitable that a teacher will teach a dyslexic child at some point in their career. The word dyslexia derives from the roots ‘dys’ meaning difficulty and ‘lexia’ meaning language. Although dyslexia is hard to define conclusively, the consensus is emerging that dyslexia is a neuro-developmental disorder with a biological origin, which impacts on speech processing with a range of clinical manifestations (Spooner, 2011 pp16). The New Dyslexia Visions research project in West Yorkshire (learning and skills council 2004), Screened staff and students at 200 public, private and voluntary organisations and discovered at least 10% of those adults screened to have undiagnosed dyslexia (Mortimore, 2008 pp57). Although diagnosis is never easy, there are a range of assessments in place, such as, checklists and self-report questionnaires, behavioural observation and...

References: Cowne, E. (2003) Developing Inclusion Practice. Chiswick: London
Frith,U. (2002) Resolving The Paradoxes of Dyslexia. In Reid, G. & Wearmouth, J. (Eds) Dyslexia and Literacy. Chichester: Wiley
Mortimore, T (2008) Dyslexia and Learning Style. John Wiley and Sons Ltd: Chichester
Macintyre, C (2000) Dyspraxia In The Early Years. David Fulton Publishers Ltd: London
Morris, E (2001) Special Educational Needs Code Of Practice. Department for Educational Skills
Spooner, W (2011) The SEN Handbook. Routledge: Oxon
Wearmouth, J (2009) A Beginning Teacher’s Guide To Special Educational Needs. Open University Press: Berkshire
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