Respectful educators will include all children; not just children who are easy to work with, obliging, endearing, clean, pretty, articulate, capable but every child- respecting them for who they are, respecting their language, their culture, their history, their families, their abilities, their needs, their names, their ways and their very essence (Nutbrown, 1996, p.54).
In relation to the quote discuss the following:
1- Illustrate your essay with one specific group for example children with specific medical difficulties, behaviour problems, etc. Consider the personal, social and emotional factors and their impact on self esteem. 2- What constitute appropriate policy and good practice to ensure all children experience a positive learning environment? Consider the community, school and the individual. Within education, our society can be seen to ensure that all children, including those who have medical difficulties or behavioural problems feel a sense of belonging within education and are not ignored, although this could be seen as untrue by others.
As quoted above a successful school practice would support all young children not excluding any for its aim of providing a desirable development and successful practice for the children “This is an… anti-discriminatory practice which is a fundamental requirement in the delivery of services to all children (Thompson, 2001), this can be seen to be the main aim of a practice as it is where all needs are met without any child in a mainstream school can undergo inclusion. A major contribution to this has been the framework, The Index of Inclusion “Provides materials that support schools by critically examining their policies and practices, and guides them through a process of development towards inclusive education (Richards and Armstrong, pg.8, 2011).
It is not legally enforced but a helpful guide to help schools progress in a positive change. The commitment to challenge and promote social justice within school education for children with disabilities had a particular interest challenged by (Oliver, 1990). Also referring to the quote above, practitioners working with children within education tend to work with all children having medical difficulties or not or any reason, supporting these pupils in order for them thrive. Appropriate policy and good practice is important for maintaining a positive learning environment for all children. It is seen that agencies such as the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) which takes inclusive education seriously, by being responsive to diversity and reducing exclusion in education, will be put into practice.
Then in 1999, Department for Education and Skills (DfES), now the Department for Education (DfE), focused on all children having a chance and also supporting schools to ensure that the pupils have been positively supported all this will be discussed within this essay. The Green Paper: 2011 is an official document based on proposals made by the government for children and young children who have special educational needs or a disability in order to improve their outcomes and be provided with support. This official paper is not only about the children but also based on their families, teachers, etc. this document which addresses special educational needs “removes the bias towards inclusion” (Department of Education and Skills 2012).
I will be focusing on the study of young children with Autism, Autism can be called by many different forms, for example Asperger’s Syndrome, it is based on the constant attention which can be seen as challenging behaviour and correction in how they believe and the interactions around them socially, in the sense that they are given more special care and a greater number of help than ‘normal’ students, frequent visits to doctors leave them feeling as though they are constantly being watched or investigated, affecting their self-esteem.
I will be discussing whether children who are educated are respected and encouraged whatever their medical condition may be and how their self-esteem could be impacted using the quote above. Autism and Asperger syndrome was first identified in the 1930’s and it based on atypical structure and/or neutral transmission processes of the brain. They comprise of Autistic disorder; Asperger’s syndrome; Rett’s disorder; childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive development. A complex syndrome that can be described as having many different brain disorders with similar characteristics.
A child can be diagnosed as having autism based from the age of three if they are displaying “(1) significant delay or inappropriate use of language; (2) failure to develop normal social relationships and interactions; and (3) obsessive or ritualistic, repetitive behaviours” (Wilson, p.101, 2010). Many children are seen to acute sensory abilities, from extreme to mild in the sense that in the classroom some children can ignore or block out the noise in the classroom as they may find the noise irritating and/or distracting. Autistic children hypersensitivity may cause them to find it painful and overwhelming when being touched by others.
However the most evident characteristic young children with autism is the failure to develop social communication, they may avoid direct eye contact with others which could often be misinterpreted as not paying attention or being interested in other people, this could cause many challenging with educators in ensuring the child is progressing well in class. “It has been argued that Early Education at its best is inclusive education” (Nutbrown 1985) this statement can be seen as true as inclusive educations provides the child an environment which ensures them to feel accepted and support them and avoids any time of exclusion which could affect the child’s self-esteem.
However, “By definition, children with special educational needs have significantly greater difficulty with learning than the majority of children of the sage age” (Wilson, p.29, 2010) children working with other children who do not have special educational needs can be seen to be automatically excluded as the pace in which they learn would be different and the children would be progressing at different paces, as children with autism may display challenging behaviour. Children with medical difficulties such as Autism may feel a sense of dis-belonging and their self-esteem will be affected as they would be marginalised against the schooling system as they are seen to be very vulnerable. The child does not see themselves as a member of a particular group and follows their own interest rather than that of the other children in the playgroup.
Young children including those with special educational needs rely on their educators as well as their parents support and encouragement in order for them to feel happy, confident and secure. Within an educational setting, this is important to establish as it develops their feeling of self-esteem from the reactions and responses by people as they feel accepted by them in order for these children to feel as a participant within the establishment. It is seen that many children with special educational needs, in relation, children with autism suffer from self-esteem and self-identity problems.
Children with autism are seen to be expected to have lower levels of basic literacy and numeracy skills compared to their peers. As these children with SEN may already suffer from self-esteem issues it will be essential to establish affective development during education however this also applies to all children. Their needs may not be met by educators who follow the National Curriculum (Department for Education and Skills, 2005, p.5). Their ability to have difficulty in understanding what they are being taught may lead to low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and underdeveloped social skills (Ibid., p.5).
The traditional way of thinking of children with mild autism is that they are the same as their neuro-typical peers but yet they have something missing, a definition like this does not explore the fact that these children also have outstanding achievements and original thought process which may cause them to low self-esteem and are not supported by their peers therefore developing emotional and behavioural problems in order to support these children accessing equal opportunities in the education system, the educators, parents and others will work closely together to ensure the student is supported emotionally and socially.
Students with autism are seen to work well with repeated short structured teaching sessions where the focus would be on working on skills such as social interaction with the educators being sensitive to the child’s needs. Intensive interaction can be used in order to develop and encourage the child within the education system. A principle of intensive interaction (Hewett and Nind, 1998) is that it is necessary to develop the child’s ability to enjoy the company of others, and to develop his understanding of how to interact with others and how to communicate. Short sessions for the child is used to develop their communication skills and encourage learning, which is essential for accessing equal opportunities to the education system.
Using this approach, the progress of pupils with autism has been assessed and reported (Nind, 1999). Working with children with autism within the education system may require the educators to be very sensitive to the emotional, physical and personal needs of the child. Working with social situations tend to be difficult for these students however with accessing equal opportunities putting the child with a small group of pupils with sensitively can ensure that the child adapts largely to the social aspects of being with group and the activities taking place, gradually both the task and the level of social interaction needed can be increased in complexity.
Whether or not time is allocated to work on children’s affective functioning too often depends on adventitious encounters with teachers who have been converted to the need to address such areas. It is time – as a profession – that we all recognised, for example, the need to give adequate time ‘to working on the self’. It is iniquitous for us not to undertake this task. As educators, are we called upon to educate the ‘whole’ child? If not, who looks after the neglected parts? (Charlton and Jones, 1990, p149) It may be impossible to provide a positive learning environment if the child is suffering from affective problems and a range of potential casual factors do not exist.
Until the last few years, affective development has not been evident within curriculum documents and guidance but, as suggested, if these documents are not addressed, the idea on educators basing the lessons taught of the children’s abilities would pointless as the child’s abilities to access that curriculum may be severely compromised. Practitioners should therefore acknowledge the affective needs of young children and respond to them appropriately, thus enabling successful and confident individuals and learners who can maximise the potential of the learning opportunities presented to them.
Practioners within the education system in order to enhance positive self-esteem within the children should have knowledge in the area of the children affective development in the sense that they would use a system which all the children are valued and respected in order for their learning styles to progress. The use of consistent structure and routine for children with autism is essential as stability is needed in order for them to reach their full potential. Difficulties may arise for the child if they left without feeling valued and respected, educators would need to treat all children along with those who have Special educational needs and positive experiences of learning with a level of confidence that will enhance their self-esteem, and working with the parents would enhance this.
Within Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which believes that in order for children to succeed Practioners would need to consider areas of affective development. This is reinforced in the EYFS documentation which states that “children must be provided with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others; respect others; social skills; and positive disposition to learn. Practioners must ensure support for children’s social emotional well-being to help them to know themselves and what they can do (DCSF, 2008:24).
The practitioners can then focus on the guidance given and practice observing, recording and informing planning certain area such as self-esteem, self-confidence and behaviour and social control. It is seen that children with special educational needs find it more difficult to access equal opportunities in the education system. “The less academically able continue to suffer disproportionately from whatever chronic or acute problems affect the education service (Department of Education and Science 1991, p.2). These young children will find it difficult to develop positively and use education as a learning curve. These young children tend to be brought up from a poor background with families who do not have the requirements to send their children to schools that focus more on individual needs as the society’s values and priorities reflect of the school.
It is seen that in order to access equal opportunities individuals will practice working with educators of the education system. For example, families of the children will work with the practitioners in order to provide the relevant and effective early childhood intervention. The educators should be able to work with the child with special educational needs and their families, setting challenging but achievable targets. Families modify their lives around multiple professional services and when they are given peace of mind that their child is in a healthy environment they will respond to this positively. It is seen that autistic people have been labelled as ‘too challenged’ or even ‘too difficult’ to work in a classroom, and as a result they are denied access to the very public services which are designed to support them.
This could hinder their self-esteem which may cause them to deal their intense feelings in a way which can be seen as ‘inappropriate’. There are higher numbers of autistic people who attempt suicide (Bernard et al, 2000). These autism people are seen to commit suicide more than those without a disorder as they experience exclusion and are denied opportunities which can make life difficult for them in life. Challenging behaviour has come down to many different factors to challenging behaviour to work inclusively with children with specific special education needs as attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) or autistic spectrum disorder. Educators would need to explore two main models of disability: the medial and social models.
The medical model involved the child being ‘blamed’ or described as ‘ill’. No account is taken of external factors such as environment (Frederickson and Cline 2009; Garner 2009). The social model has a more inclusive approach blaming society , is seen to create barriers which could prevent children from learning opportunities. The UK government Green Paper ‘Meeting the Childcare Challenge’ (May 1998) established a ‘National Childcare Strategy’ and proposed inclusive provision where possible for children with special needs (Sestini, 2001).
Commonly, institutions are giving out the same resources into all their branches and it is seen that these services should be made accessible and appropriate for all children, including children with special educational needs. It is seen that the one to one approach regarding children would maximise the equal opportunities for individuals accessing the education system. Though this service, the educator can encourage and support the child with autism in order to increase their social skills, these one-to-one sessions can be blended with other activities and routine within the classroom which can challenge the child from feeling a lack of acceptance and a sense of social inclusion.
Lewis (2000) poses questions which can be addressed towards an inclusive education ‘How far is it leniable to assume that the education system as presently constituted provides a healthy environment for all, let alone the most vulnerable? (p.202). He explains the importance of quality should be stressed. Problems in the past are involved within the setting however it is stressed that they should not deter educators from including special educational needs children in inclusive setting. “The need for teachers to step beyond the classroom and to work with children and families in the context of the community” (Wilson, 2003), this is goes by working with outside organisations which comes with extra challenges as well as benefits.
Professionals need to work from the premise that ‘each family has its own culture and a unique set of strengths, values, skills, expectations, and service needs’ (Bailey, 1994, p.28) White working with children in order to ensure the child undergoes positive development it is essential for the parent involvement to be on the same level of progress as the educators focus of the individualized needs of the parents, these are seen as critical involvement as it is important, to establish family education and involvement options to them. With the requirements placed by the government on teachers in mainstream schools for children with special educational needs, SEN work has now officially been recognised as central to the teaching and learning function of schools.
In the past, there were not many studies undertaken on the guidance requirements of the code of practice. Until recent years throughout the period of 1995-2000 (Evans, Docking, Bentley and Evans 1995, Lewis, Neil and Campbell 1996, OFSED 1996, Demington, Evans and Lee 1996, Davis, Garner and Lee 1998). This work was able to show the tensions in the Code of Practice and although many SENCO’s spoke of not having enough time to follow the procedures of the code, overtime SEN work is now recognised as a respected policy. In reference to the quote above, “inclusive education” is subject to all learners, members of the school, college and wider community.
By this, all learns do not refer to those who “have special needs” or a vulnerable, but by means every child and their essence in order to develop healthily. To ensure that all students experience a positive learning education, the term ‘inclusive education’ must be put into place within schools. Educators have to ensure that if there is a diversity of students within the classroom; including those with different ethnic and class backgrounds, their rights and interests should be explored. The term ‘inclusive education’ refers to all the learners being successful, being pushed to their full potential.
For a vast majority of disabled pupils under the policy of School Action/School Action Plus their ‘needs are met’ through mainstream schools to ensure that all children are successfully included. The quote above refers to inclusion within schools, which over the years but mostly the last decade has significantly developed in terms of the legislation and research. This has seen to begin from Warnock report (DES, 1978) which discussed progressive movements towards an inclusive education system for all children. For inclusion to be effective pupils must actively belong to be welcomed by and participate in a school and community that they should be fully included.
As young children with autism lack more social skills within society it is seen that the social understanding of these children with special needs in the inclusive classroom is of special concern. As research indicates ‘as a group of children with disabilities are at relatively risk for peer rejection than typically developing children’ (Odom, 2000, p.21) Good practice to ensure an educative system under positive learning would be full participation for all the children in all aspects of the provision. All children would have the opportunity to engage actively within the classroom with the teachers and their classmates being positively welcomed and participating.
It is seen that in order to ensure all children experience a positive learning environment the need of effective policy and practice is needed in order to provide a successful learning experience for them. In terms of young children with special education needs in England, according to the revised Special Educational Needs, Code of Practice, children do have a great difficult in learning than a majority of children so it is important to establish this. Promoting individual talents, interests and ensuring an appropriate learning experience could be seen as one of the primary responsibilities of the early childhood personnel when working with all children of all personalities and development.
This requires a close observation of the children to ensure the experiences is a success and if any children overtime is lacking in development the educators find a solution quickly. This includes the children’s interests with others and their environment being alternative to their peers and teachers etc. Most children struggle from anxiety when moving from the transition of home to a learning environment and which is normally greater for children with special educational needs. Therefore practitioners and educators need to practice a positive programme that can make the transition easily on both sides “A programme philosophy should reflect should practice, research and theory related to young children and their characteristics” (Wilson, 2003).
This is needed to establish the key educational sources in order to establish on environment where the child understands they are a valued part of a group and where the educators’ are in situations that are appropriate to each child needs and abilities. Overall, pupils within mainstream society are seen to need attention when being educated so they obtain what is needed in order for them to succeed. Working in an education system without induction creates full participation with all pupils in order to achieve a successful mainstream experience. With the educators provide a social and emotional environment without the complex activities.
Many services when integrating early childhood services and special educational needs undergo services designed to integrate all aspects of children for an inclusive education “In the classroom, the early childhood teacher needs to facilitate the interactions children have with toys, materials, activities, peers and adults”, These interactions will lead to the child “developing understanding about the world and the way it works, and help children gain feelings of self-worth and competency” (Wilson, 2003, p.23). Children with SEN would not be able to make progressive developing, this includes all children, this is why many policies have been put into place to ensure the various dimensions within a mainstream schools has been explored to ensure initiated learning.
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