Meeting Learning Needs: Case Study In this rationale I intend to discuss “Why we do what we do” when it comes to Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (SEN). This will be a case study of a pupil with SEN attending the school in which I work. It will first outline the nature of the pupils Special Educational Needs and then critically examine how these needs are being met. The role of multi-agency approaches in providing support to the pupil and parental involvement will also be analysed. All children, wherever they are educated, need to be able to learn, play and develop alongside each other within their local community of schools” (Dfes 2004 p5), going further to state that “inclusion is about much more than the type of school that children attend: it is about the quality of their experience; how they are helped to learn, achieve and participate fully in the life of the school” (p25). http://sen. ttrb. ac. uk/ViewArticle2. aspx? ContentId=15915 (Accessed on 20/01/11)
The case study I carried out was on Billy who is 9 years old, Billy was diagnosed with Autism at the aged 4 shortly after he started mainstream school in reception. Autism is a type of disability. There are many people with autism in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 1 out of every 100 people has autism. You cannot always tell that someone has autism just by looking at them. Autism lasts for all of a person’s life. But they can still do a lot of things and learn a lot of skills.
The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the ‘triad of impairments’ which are Social Communication, Social Interaction and Social Imagination. The triad of impairments is the term that describes the difficulties that people with autism experience in differing degrees. Because all people are different, the way autism affects them is also different. To enable the setting to remove Billy’s barriers to learning we firstly arranged a meeting at his home with him and his parents and the Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
At the meeting we discussed Billy’s learning and personal needs, at first we concentrated on Billy’s routine at home enabling us to see how he dealt with everyday issues. It is vital that we alleviate confusion and give Billy a sense of security. This will be done by preparing Billy whenever possible if his routine is going to be broken, someone will talk him through what is going to happen. We also intend to invite Billy into the setting to meet his new teacher, and will be providing him with photographs of the settings and his support workers to facilitate him in familiarise himself with his new setting.
We have taken photographs to allow us to personalise the learning spaces with pictorial sequences, rule reminders, schedules and labels. A space in the classroom will be made available for Billy to work with his one-to-one support and peers where possible. By using these strategies Billy’s learning can be structured to support his need for routine. ‘Being clear and consistent is supportive to all learners in the classroom but will be essential for the child with an autistic spectrum disorder’ G, Knowles, Supporting Inclusive Practice (p. 16) I feel that it is very important that all children have the right to be included in mainstream school and where possible they should be able to meet there learning needs and the targets set in the National Curriculum. One of the fundamental principles of the Special Education Needs Code of Practice is ‘the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs are identified and assessed quickly and matched by appropriate provision’ (Department for Education and Skills, 2001 p. 9).
I believe that it should be a collaboration between the teachers, the parents of the child and the child themselves who decides whether they would benefit from being in mainstream school or not. Extensive research studies have been undertaken to determine the effectiveness of integrating and including students with severe disabilities. Tornillo (1994) feels that, ‘teachers are required to direct inordinate attention to a few, thereby decreasing the amount of time and energy directed toward the rest of the class.
Indeed, the range of abilities is just too great for one teacher to adequately teach. Consequently, the mandates for greater academic accountability and achievement are unable to be met’. http://www. sedl. org/change/issues/issues43/concerns. html (accessed on 30/01/11) During my research into Inclusion in mainstream school I found that, some parents of students with more severe disabilities are concerned about the opportunities their children will have to develop basic life skills in a regular classroom setting.
They are also cautious about inclusion because of fears that their children will be ridiculed by other students. Its at this point I feel it necessary to state that Inclusion is not about making sure all children are taught the curriculum in the classroom, it is making sure that all individuals be they disabled or non disabled have access to the curriculum, and that learning is facilitated to suit their learning needs. The next step to facilitate Billy’s learning needs is to draw up an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
An IEP describes the educational program that has been designed to meet that child’s unique needs. ‘An Individual Education Plan is an assessment, planning, teaching and reviewing tool which records specific learning goals, teaching requirements and review arrangements to help a pupil with SEN which are ‘additional to and different from’ those of most pupils, to make progress in key areas of learning’ (Dovestone, Cullingford-Agnew, 2006, p. 23).
Each child who receives special education and related services must have an IEP. Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when age appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.
As stated in the SEN Code of Practise (2001) where possible, children and young people with SEN should participate in all the decision-making processes that occur in education including the setting of learning targets and contributing to IEPs, discussions about choice of schools, contributing to the assessment of their needs and to the annual review and transition processes. Following the initial meeting we arranged for Billy and his parents to visit the setting for a day allowing them the opportunity to assess the setting.
All areas of the school were made accessible to them so they could see how Inclusion of all students is important too us as a setting. It is essential that Billy’s parents are involved in every stage of Billy’s integration into the setting as stated in the SEN Code of Practice(2001) ‘It is vitally important that schools welcome and encourage parents to participate from the outset and throughout their child’s educational career at the school’. In my setting we encourage parents to come to us with any questions or concerns they may have about there child/children and we persevere to accommodate their needs.
It is vitally important for parents to be involved with every stage of their child’s education as Parents are the most important people after the child. ‘They know there child best and know what they want out of the staff and the school. ’ (As stated in my settings Inclusion Policy) It is our responsibility as a setting to ensure that parents are aware of the Partnership with Parents (PwP). PwP aims to ensure that parents are able to play an informed part in any decisions about the educational provision made to meet their child SEN and to build partnerships between parents, the Local Education Authority (LEA) and schools.
WORD COUNT 1343 Reference List and Bibliography Department for Education and Skills. (2001). Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. London: DfES. Dovestone, M, Cullingford-Agnew, S. (2006) Becoming a Primary Higher Level Teaching Assistant: Primary Special Educational Needs. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. http://www. sedl. org/change/issues/issues43/concerns. html (accessed on 30/01/11) http://sen. ttrb. ac. uk/ViewArticle2. aspx? ContentId=15915 (accessed on 20/01/11) Knowles, G. (2006) Supporting Inclusive Practise. David Fulton Publishers Ltd. London