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Should Children with Special Educational Needs be Divided in education?

This is a hard blog to write as I find myself in a position of reality and conflict. Children with SEN (special educational needs) can be cast to one side and made to believe they are naughty and not worthy of education  –  they think their card is marked and they find themselves in a spiral of detentions, isolation, exclusion and constant berating by teaching staff.

As a parent/carer it is hard to understand, as we know our children and they are not naughty they are struggling. This is when we have to step in and communicate with the school. This can be frustrating because, like everything time is a factor and you may find yourself waiting for answers or help. The temptation is to march up to the school and bam blast the teaching staff for putting your child down or for shouting at them. How dare they!! We’re all the same – we want to protect our children…however, we must remain calm, research and gain knowledge, be prepared to sit in meeting after meeting, talk to our child, have understanding, be prepared to share and most of all be prepared to accept help.

There is no shame in having a child with SEN and we want our them to succeed no matter what effort we have to put in ourselves. I don’t believe in comparing children and understand that all children learn differently and at their own pace, however if you think your child is struggling or falling behind it’s a good idea to contact the school and start the conversation. Explain your concerns. If your child is in primary / junior school try and speak to your child’s main teacher – they will know them best – don’t be fobbed off with “ yes, he/she is a bit behind, but this is normal at their age” or “ don’t worry, they’ll catch up” or “ well,  he is easily distracted, but this is normal – he’s a boy! “ .

I can feel myself becoming frustrated as I write- because I’ve had all this said to me! Children do learn at different paces, this is natural so I don’t want this blog to give you a sense of panic, however I do want it to make you aware that it is important to have early intervention. Introduce yourself to the school, build a good relationship – don’t think the school is getting tired of you calling or emailing – who cares – this is your child and you want the best for them – they deserve the same chance as any other child.

If your child does have SEN this may affect their ability to make friends, read or write, understand facts and concentrate – all contributing to their level of education and future. Ask your school to put you in touch with the SENCO ( special educational needs co-ordinator) – they will advise what steps can be taken to help your child – they may suggest a EHCP (education, health and care plan) – you can request this also, it does take a long time and in some cases a lot of pushing, however once started it has to be completed in a certain time frame. An EHCP is important as it will ascertain (through various assessments)   what needs your child has and whether  your child should be in mainstream school or if they would be better suited elsewhere – and is with them up to the age of 25 years old.

My opinion is that children shouldn’t be divided, children of all abilities should be mixed – they all have different strengths   – I believe that if your child can cope in mainstream school,– they should not be segregated, separated from their friends or made to feel as if they are not good enough. Plans can be put in place subtly, helping your child without it being blatantly obvious to their peers.

However, some children have complete meltdowns when they enter the school building, they panic and are constantly on red alert – this can lead to them doing everything in their power to be removed. This isn’t our child’s fault, they are not naughty, they just can’t cope in that environment – they may have SEN and this must be addressed. In this case a different learning environment may be the answer – even home schooling – these can be difficult decisions, our tutors who specialise in SEN and will be happy to have a chat with you.

Remember – we mustn’t be complacent with our child’s education – every child deserves a chance and no matter what their ability, they will shine in their own way 😊

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