Special Educational Needs (SEN) has a legal definition: children with SEN 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. The SEN Code of Practice for England legally defines children with SEN as children who have a considerably greater difficulty in learning than others the same age. It also includes children who cannot use the educational facilities, which other children of a similar age use because of their disability. Children under school age who would fall into either category without extra help are also included.
[...] This form of critical reflection, carried out in collaboration with colleagues, seems to be particularly important in the special needs field. Here our traditions have led us to conceptualise our work in a relatively narrow way, thus missing many possibilities that might lead to better learning opportunities for the children we seek to help. Specifically our traditions have led us to see our work primarily in technical terms (Heshusius, 1989; Iano, 1986). This leads to a concern with finding the 'right' teaching methods or materials for pupils who do not respond to existing arrangements. [...]
[...] The following 'graduated response' to a child's special educational needs are set out in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. This sets out the key principles for identifying, assessing and reviewing SEN. There is an emphasis on early identification. Statements for children under two are rare, however if a statement is made it is usually because the child has complex needs or a particular service is required e.g. home-based teaching. There are over 300,000 disabled children under the age of 16 in England and Wales. [...]
[...] Children with very challenging behaviour and those with nursing care needs are often not catered for. There are increasing numbers of children with continuing nursing care needs, whose parents may be in particular need of a break from looking after them but who may find that local short break services do not cater for their needs. Some of these families use children's hospices as a source of support: most children staying in hospices are not in fact terminally ill. Children Act regulations do not cover placements of disabled children in hospices. [...]
[...] It can also be argued that an overemphasis on individualised planning of the sort that has been dominant in the special needs field distracts attention from other contextual factors than can be utilised to stimulate and support the learning of each member of the class. This points us to a second key factor. In addition to planning for all children it has been found that it is helpful to encourage teachers to recognise and use more effectively those natural resources that can help to support children's learning. [...]
[...] The hours can be used for help in the home, or going out, and can also be used for looking after non-disabled children within the family as well as the disabled children). From “Still Missing?” Vol Disabled Children and the Children Act, Morris (1998, p. 20). Families of disabled children need to get all the social security benefits they are entitled to, as early as possible. Good quality welfare rights advice is vital, particularly for people from minority ethnic groups who are less likely to get their entitlements. [...]
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