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Special Educational Needs Comparative Models

By sarahmiles123 Apr 01, 2013 3273 Words
Special Educational needs Formative assessment
What have been the main models of disability recognised since the Second World War? Discuss how these different attitudes to disability might affect the intervention and support offered to young children with SEN.

Disabled and special educational needs(SEN) children have been seen to go through a vast amount of change through the eyes of the government legislations and policies, society and schooling since the second world war. There have been a number of models of disability that have impacted and shaped attitudes about the term disability, which have then had an effect upon the intervention and support offered to young children with SEN. This essay will identify the different models of disability since and second world war and discuss how attitudes to disability might have affected the intervention and support offered. The medial model

The first disability model that have been identified in the literature is the 'medical model', which was the main approach to understanding disability post second world war( Johnston, 1944). . The main components of the medial model focused on the individual child's difficulties as the problem ( Skidmore, 1996) and that they were identified through medical terminology only. Which echoed the mindset that the child needed 'fixing' as they were faulty and that the child's disability was a tragedy, focusing on the pathology of difference (Clough and Corbett, 2000). Society would often refer to the children who had disabilities as 'mis-fits' within society(Barlett and Burton, 2007). As a result of this harsh medical recognition and identification of the children with disabilities they were institutionalised and placed within asylum as they were not seen to be capable of any input within the society. Furthering this, the negative outlook and segregation of a child who had a disability continued into schooling whereby many charities; often ran by the church, would be widely used to hide away the disabled child (Clough and Garner, 2003). It becomes apparent at this point that there is no surprise for the embarrassment and segregation of children who had disabilities within society, as the only identification of the child was based around negative language. Moreover, the industrial age was not creating an opportunity for a disabled child to fit in; as there was no societal exploration of adaption that was implemented in the main work force mind- set that see disabled children as beneficial to economy In 1944 the Butler Education Act was introduced within the schooling system which stated that all local educational authorities must give special educational provision (Barlett and Burton, 2007). However, what may seem like a positive outlook for children with disabilities and an attempt to change the attitudes that have been previously embedded in society it reinforced a more negative language surrounding children's abilities and identified them within 11 categories of handicap; it is all based upon medical diagnosis. This could be seen to give society specific reason to label children who have a disability further and give even more reason to exclude them with the 'us and 'them' impact. However, the 1960-1980's became the era of change for children who have disabilities whereby the child defect model became challenged and the 1970 Education Act symbolised a new attitude that all children are educable (Bartlett and Burton, 2007). The focus was about integration and moved away from the harsh identification of the medical model and the focus became on the education to fit all and deploying an enabling environment; creating the new model of disability known as the social model. The social model

The social model of disability focuses on society attitudes and the environments that the child is within that create the barriers for inclusion and learning from happening ( Skidmore, 1996). The social model of disability has been know as the 'big idea' (Hasler, 1993), which creates an illusion of great change in all area of disability and societies perception. Johnstone (2001) further states that it is the attitudes, values and beliefs operating in society that cause disability, not medical impairments, it is society that needs to be treated and cured. Within the social model of disability it is argued that disability only exists in so far as it is socially constructed ( Hutchinson, 1995). The main difference between the medical model and the social model is that it take disability away from the individual with the disability as the problem, and places the responsibility on society and a de-emphasis upon the individual. Hall (1995) studies indentified that the people with physical disabilities pointed out that they felt more disadvantaged by the attitude in society more than by their loss of function. Hogan (2010) identifies a possible explanation for societies input into disadvantaging disabled people through the constant obsession that society has regarding the concepts of 'normality'. This therefore, begs the question as to where society obsession with a child being normal comes from? A possible connection could be suggested that societies view of the concepts of normality derived from the historical perspective of disability as previously stated. There has been some critism of the social model which has been identifies within Hutchinson (1995) studies that practitioners within the clinical profession have viewed that the social model as a denial of the truth about the person's ability. Brofenbrenner (1989) offers a possible extension of the latter, according to a process-person-context model that emphasises that the person at any given point within their life are joint function of the characteristic of the person and the environment that the person is within. Therefore, it the disabled child is within a social environment that is physically, emotionally and mentally challenging for them then they will be characterised by the barriers and to be seen as 'weaker' person in comparison. The most influential component of this particular movement and vision for children who had disabilities was that of the Warnock report (1978). The report emphasised the importance of prioritising a child's educational need rather that their individual learning disability or impairment . Also, the previously harsh categorising of disability introduced by the 1944 Butler Education Act was replaced by a continuum of special needs and that the concept of SEN in the following areas of , behaviour, speech and language difficulties, learning difficulties should be introduced . The report further identified the need for a multi-disciplinary team to collectively input in the diagnosis of the children disability and educational need, rather that the pervious medical diagnosis. This became an important attitude shift for children with SEN regarding the support and provision that was providing to them, as it brought about the idea that all children are capable as long as they have the right support and intervention within the educational system. In response to the recommendations of the Warnock report (1978,) the 1981 Education Act produced the first legal document that focused more of integration and identification of the SEN through statementing (Barlett ad Burton, 2007). The key difference from the identification which was integrated within the education of a children who has SEN, was that it could be seen as a more positive outlook as it did not merely medically diagnosis the child ,it also assed the barriers that the environment created within the schooling environment. Another important aspect that the 1996 Education Act introduced is the definition of the term SEN, ' A child has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him and her', ' a disability which prevents or hinders then from making use of education facilities' (Education Act 1996) . However, even though this gave a definition and classification of the term SEN the requirement that meant that educational provision was given, was left up to interpretation of the teacher, school and Local educational authority. Which lead to a lot of anxieties that seem to be echoed about the Local authority funding inequalities and anomalies, (Alexander, 2010. Evans 2007) which seemed to be directly linked to inconsistencies of educational provision given and the interpretation of the' greater need'. Which therefore, creates a attitude in which society looks at SEN children as needy and measurable within this need, rather than just as children. Criticism of the Social model came from the principle that there was not enough political dimension and framework which gave relevance to the voices and discrimination of the disabled people. Therefore, further the dimension of the social model cam the Right- based model (Johnston, 2001) Rights based model

The rights Based model of disability recognised the existence of structural discrimination against disable people within society.

Both the social model and rights-based model generated the idea of 'inclusion' of SEN children within the mainstream setting and society , moving away from the term segregation which the medical model was creating (Hodkinson and Vickerman, 2009). Both of these strategies have been influence by the disability discrimination Act and the Human right Act (1998), which has lead to some criticism of inclusion and that it has only been developed due to basic human right policies, showing no direct evidence rationale (Arthur and Cremin, T., 2010). This can be disputed through evidence-based reports conducted by OFSTED (2003) which highlights inclusion in mainstream schools having a adverse affect on pupils who have special educational needs (SEN). However, the conclusions based around this report suggests that there is a diverse response to levels of teaching, methods used and the lack knowledge and understanding that teachers have of groups of SEN pupils. Consequently, this has led to teachers lacking in confidence when teaching and relating to SEN pupils due to lack of clear guideline specific to groups of SEN children and the right support and provision that they need. In responds to the need for teachers to feel more confidence when given support and the right educational provision Removing barriers to Achievement (2004) outlined groups of SEN pupils which needed clearer guidelines and improvements to their educational provision which lead to the 'Inclusion Development Programme'(IDP (2009)). Many literature has suggested that there is a lot of inconsistency with educational policy and it has not been specific enough regarding educational provision ( Evans, 2007. Alexander, 2010)This therefore means that with clearer guideline specific to groups of SEN; which the IDP provides that this will create better consistent educational provision and support for individual children. Moreover, having better policy foundations will mean that the attitudes that surround teaching and including children with SEN will see a more positive attitude towards them.

In addition to the reported negative attitude surrounding including SEN children, ... outlined the specific amount of time was associated by teachers when that having a child who has SEN , much in which related to the amount of paper work that was involved. This is something in which Alexander (2010) agreed with stating that ' ..much of what we currently di in SEN is driven by the need to attract and retain resources. The emphasis is on paperwork, on proving to others what the school has done for a particular child, and demonstrating that a child is still failing to make sufficient progress' ( p. 34). This means that the school is not looking necessarily to educate the child to progress but to assess the child in terms of failure and not progressing, in order to get more funding or to be able to maintain the amount of founding that the individual child is receiving. A connection can be made by the educational policy and process of statementing the child's needs which is installing this negative attitudes towards including a child with SEN within the mainstream setting, due to the amount of paperwork that id entailed within inclusion, and the way in which inclusion is under resourced ( Alexander, 2010) and that the only way in which schools perceive to maintain or get funding would be to assess the SEN child in terms of what they cannot do.

A Changing outlook
The support and aspirations consultation green paper(2011) proposes and a case for change on working towards improvement within the educational process and provision provided for a children who have SEN. The main vision that the Green paper states is to give more control and empowerment to the children and their family in their input into effective practice with a holistic orientation. This particular vision can be seen to successfully integrate the two models: medical and social, but with of a focus of the social model. Furthering this, the main breakthrough that the paper proposed was that of the relevance of the child themselves in it vision of effective practice . For the first time within policies for inclusion the emphasised vision is on was of the child to have a voice and to importantly make education relevant towards the children and the additional needs that they may have to then gain the transferable skills to have an independent and a role within society itself in preparation for adulthood. This can be seen to be an important proposal as the child themselves is being valued and recognised as a person who is capable and seen as more of a able person that can make an input into their education and future. Which therefore, moves away from the attitude which was fixed into the medical model that the disability defines the child. In addition the green paper also makes OFSTED schools and their teachers accountable for re-assessing the current over identification of SEN for the benefit of performance tables. Instead to re-evaluate the assessment process and allows for more of a realistic view of lower attainment levels and the areas encompassed within this level to be seen for a child of lower ability to be making more progressed within this stage. This again, reflect elements of the social model with a focus on the current schooling environment and critea is disabling the child and that the vision is to break down the barriers to learning that pupil who are seen to be SEN currently face. This therefore, will in theory filter through to teachers and parents of all children of the changing vision for SEN pupils deployed into the mainstream environment. Which in turn, will help to change the current view of SEN pupils within society and impact upon the current young generation too carry an inclusion mindset into the future for change, which brings a more positive outlook for shaping attitudes. .However, even though the green paper outlines a potential change for SEN pupils and there parents this is only a vision and it becomes apparent that this may not even make much of an impact within schools as Evans (2007)states that LEAs make decisions about assessment and provision in light of their own policies, budgets and local circumstances. Evans (2007) reports that one of the difficulties with provision made for special educational needs children is that the Local Educational Authorities for the different counties, is that they each have different perspectives on provision and treatment provided to the varying needs of the children. Moreover, each LEA has the same amount of funding given to themselves from the government but different areas have higher percentage of children with special educational needs than others and have to stretch the funding further. Which can mean that some children will not receive sufficient enough educational and personal provision needed. Evan (2007) also identifies a predicament with the current' holistic' process, that is that after the effects of a multi-disciplinary team of professions which comply the statement for a children who have special educational needs, the parents of the child can over-ride the decision made. Nutbrown and Clough (2006) states that one of the reason for parent wanting to over-rule the decision made for their children is through the idea that parents don't like to hear that their child may be different or display different behaviour than that of other children and that for this reason that parent should be kept out of meetings regarding their children, as they may not be able to see the affects being positive rather than negative. This therefore, means that despite the policies and legislations that are seen to reflect a more positive attitude found in the social model, there are still elements of a negative outlook that is shaping parents having a child who has SEN, which goes back to the medical model associated attitudes. This is something in which Evans (2007) considers, suggesting that the inconsistency of the vocabulary and descriptions found in legislations and policies regarding SEN means that this is automatically distinguishing SEN children to be different from other children; creating the 'us' and 'them' scenario. Consequently, this then means that as long as children who have SEN as seen as ' special' and then others this will always be at the ful-front of parents thinking and perception of not identifying their children with additionally needs.

From my literature review is a definite movement towards a more positive attitude towards SEN children within society and schools, and the support and provision that is now been given to them. This has been mainly through the current policies and legislations that have legalised the extra support and provision in terms of funding that is giver towards school by the local educational Authority. However, it also becomes clear that the policies and legislations appear to look more positive in what they say and the language in which is used now within them, but it appears that this is also it's down-fall in many ways. The first way is that whether there vision that has been places for SEN children can be realistically put into practise due to the vivid lack and inequalities given to the local educational authority, which is resulting in schools assessing the 'greater needs' with SEN. The second is that even though policies have specially identified groups of SEN children and the support and provision that should be providing towards them, the amount of identification and paperwork that surround this process is creating a negative outlook and 'burden' towards schools. And finally, the idea of identifying the SEN child as 'special' and the language which promotes a lot of indifference between other children and SEN children is creating a 'us' and 'them' attitude for parents, teachers and the children themselves. In which is creating a negative outlook within society still and could be potentially stopping parents from wanting the education provision that their child needs in order to flourish within a mainstream setting.

Alexander, R. (eds).(2010) Children, their world, their education. Cambridge Primary Review. London: Routlege. 126-142 Clough, P. And Garner, G. (2003) 'Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Education: Origins and current issues'. In S. Bartlett and Burton, D.(eds) Education Studies: Essential Issues. London : Sage Bartlett, S and Burton, D.(eds) Education Studies: Essential Issues. London: Sage

Hall, D(1995) Commentary, Archieves of Disease in Childhood. P 91-99 Hasler, F. (1993). Developments in the disabled people's movement. In Shakespeare, T. And Watson, N. (2001). The social model of disability: A outdated Idealogy. Research in Social Science and Disability. Vol 2. P 9-28 Hutchinson, T( 1995) The classification of disability, Archives of Disease in Childhood. P91-99 Brofenbrenner, (1989). In Hogan, K and Llewellyn, A ( 2010) Disability and Society: The use and abuse of models of disability. Vol 15: p 157-165 Hogan, K and Llewellyn, A( 2010) Disablity and Society: The use and abuse of models of disability. Vol 15: p 157-165 Hodinson, A and Vickerman, P. (2009) Key issues in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion. London: Sage Johnston, M. 1994. Models of disability, the Psychologist: p 205-212

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