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All childcare settings are forbidden from discriminating in anyway against disabled children when they apply for the school.
All children should be made to feel accepted and welcomed; they should be offered the same opportunities as abled children. All children should have the opportunity to attend public or private school. Schools should adapt their setting to accommodate all children. This may mean that the setting may need to install ramps ofr wheelchair bound children. This would mean the setting is promoting equal rights for all children. This all comes under the Equality Act 2010.
Under the SEN Code of Practice all childrens’ needs will be aimed to be met in a mainstream setting. Despite a child’s disability or additional needs they should still be offered a full education. Parents will be asked to offer support at home and members of staff at the child’s setting will always keep the parent informed about everything that is happening with their child.
The United Nations Convention on the rights of a child states that all children should have their views listened too. However the influence that a child has over a situation will depend on the level of maturity that the child possesses. This is all mentioned in article 12 of The UNCRC. It is said that all children should have the right to a full and independent life. This means that all children should receive special support and care if they need it. Article 31 says that every child should be exposed to culture like any other child. Therefore the people working with the children should adapt the setting so it allows them to do so.
Inclusive practice is something that is extremely important to not just disabled children but all children. Inclusive practice promotes diversity in an environment. Settings should uphold not just a child friendly approach to learning but also a child centred approach to learning. A child friendly approach is simply when the environment is nice for the children, practitioners will treat all children in a respectful manner, the will do this regardless of if the child is a boy, girl, disabled or able bodied. The aim of this approach is that all children will feel safe in the environment they are in and they will gradually improve. On the other hand a child centred approach is when practitioners will push the children to do their best. This will always be done in a respectful way, practitioners will not pressurise the children but they will make sure they are continually challenging themselves in a safe way. They may be asked to face strategic problems in a group setting which in turn will encourage socialising and communication which some children may have struggled to do originally. Children will be taught valuable life skills and shown how to organise themselves. This will give children a sense of independence. However most importantly practitioners will want children to feel empowered despite their disability or additional needs, and to feel safe and secure in their environment. All settings should be in a social model of disability frame of mind this is when practitioners do not to pay attention to the child’s disability or condition but remember and respect the fact they have feelings this model is here it empower children not knock their self-esteem. Medical model of disability is when the child’s disability is seen as an illness that a cure should be found. This makes children feel disempowered, this will make the child lose who they are and will always be seen as a walking illness. If a setting is following the medical model then they are no longer working in line with inclusive practice.
Promoting the inclusive practice should mean that respect for children; teachers and parents/carers should always be given. Practitioners should show empathy towards the children and have their interests at the heart of planning. Respecting a child in an inclusive practice can be done in many ways however one is not defining the child by the symptoms of their condition, this will dishearten a child and they will not feel like the rest of their peers. Children should always feel safe and secure in the environment in which they are in. If a child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it may be a struggle to get that child to relax and to concentrate on their work. Nevertheless if the child’s interests and hobbies are in the heart of planning this may encourage good behaviour and concentration in the classroom. Which in turn will produce good results not just for the child in question but all the children that may have originally been distracted by child that suffers from ADHD.
Showing empathy towards a child and his/her family shows that you have and understanding of their condition and respect what they are going through. But in no way does showing empathy mean you have to sympathise with them and show them pity, this will not benefit you or the childs progression. Showing empathy however will allow for a deeper insight in to their condition and have a broader understanding of their day to day life which will help you make settings more accessible and beneficial for them. Attitudes within an environment may need to be adjusted knowing more about a child’s disability will help practitioners to change attitudes about the way they look at things. For example if a blind child has just joined the class they may decide to change the way the room is laid out to help that child. This is because the teacher understands that having tables just dotted around the room may become a hindrance to that child.
Practitioners should try to empower the children let them become more involved with their own day to day life, let them make decisions on their education and the way they wish to be treated.
Everyone single child should feel safe and welcomed when they enter any childcare setting. Children should always feel valued and respected no matter what their condition is; equal rights should always be at the front of everyones minds along with the child being at the centre of all planning. Having a disability doesn’t mean the child is a second class citizen, disability should always be represented in a fair and positive light. A child with a disability is likely to already have low self-esteem so they should not feel degraded any further; this means not prejudiced language or behaviour should be used. If this behaviour does arise it should be addressed quickly, in a sensitive manner you should let the person know that they have done is wrong. Anyone that is involved with the setting should portray a positive attitude towards diversity.
Parents are always going to be the biggest source of information regarding a child; parents can be brought in to an educational setting to help a teacher to provide the best care for a child. A practitioner may ask the parent to share their expertise with them, other professional may be brought in to help deliver the best education for a child. Every child has strengths as well as areas in which they require additional help; however an educator should also focus on the child’s interests and strengths this will make the child feel good about themselves, practitioners should praise a child for good work. Parents have a substantial emotional investment in their child and this should be valued at all times. A practitioner may say that a child would be better off not attending a mainstream school, this may be extremely upsetting for a parent to hear, and this is when a member of staff should offer support not only to the child but to the parent also.
It should always be remembered that this is all new for the parent; they may not understand the procedures that are involved with having a SEN child. To help the parents/carers feel more comfortable with the situation all documents should be given to the parents in advance of meetings. Having a copy of the setting procedures before the meeting means that the parent can feel more prepared for when it comes to the meetings also it means that parents can ask questions about things that may be concerning them. By questions being asked and answers being given a strong teacher and parent/carer bond can be made.
Practitioners need to be under the understanding that their opinions may differ to the opinions of the parents. They must remain calm, respectful and professional when having discussions with parents. Parents/carers should be allowed the time to think about the practitioners ideas, then once everyone has come to agreement they can all sit down together and deliberate about best way to care for the child.
In some cases the parents may also have a disability themselves; also there may be a language barrier between the parent and the practitioner. The practitioner should try to offer as much support as possible to the parent/carer. If English doesn’t happen to be their first language then maybe a translator could be brought in to make them feel more comfortable in the situation.
Flexibility on the scheduling of meetings will always be greatly welcomed by the parents/carers. Often they may have work commitments or other children, if practitioners can be flexible about what time the meeting can take place it will help the families massively. If meetings can be arranged in advance it is likely that the families will be able to arrange cover for work and alternative childcare if needed. This proves to the families that the members of staff are trying to help them as much as possible to make their lives a little easier.
If a child needs are more in-depth the help of other professionals may be needed. There are many different professionals that may provide a service that could help a child, such as a Speech and Language Therapist, they will be used if the child struggles to be able to communicate, also if the child struggles to swallow a speech and language therapist will be used. A paediatrician is a doctor that is located in a hospital; this may seem scary however it’s just so they can keep a closer eye on the childs progression on regular visits. Social workers are there to offer support to the families and the child as a child with a disability or an additional need is likely to be viewed as a target for bullying.
The environment that the child is learning in should always be adapted to the best of everyone’s ability to meet that child’s needs. All resources/materials should always be checked that they are not just age but also stage appropriate. However the environment should also be appropriate for them, this may mean a setting may have to adapt to meet the needs of every child e.g. if a child is blind the layout of a room may need to be changed. If a child has a lack of manipulative skills they may find undressing and dressing difficult. If the child has a PE lesson it may be a good idea to give that child extra time to change or allow the child to come in to school with their PE kit on and only have to change after the session. Some children find it hard to express their opinions or how they feel about things. They may not be able decide which type of toys they want to play with. Practitioners should try using visual aids to be able to understand what type of the things the child likes and dislikes.
Resources should always be checked to make sure they are stage suitable as if the activities are too easy the child will lose interest and not improve but if the activity is to hard then the child will not focus and will not progress as they will feel discouraged.
All these things need to be taken in to consideration when adapting a practice.
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