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Children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities in the early 1900s was socially excluded from society by citizens as well as by their own families, this was done due to them being viewed as an idiot and being embarrassed by the individual characteristics and attitudes. Wall (2003). The Education Act (1944) partially supported children with SEND in their education. As Oliver (1996) points out The Education Act (1944) became universal for all children who was at an advantage in their education and which suited their age, attitude and ability. According to Skidmore (2004) SEND children were still being categorized within the ten different types of handicap and therefore many children were viewed as ineducable and would be segregated from their peers in education settings and governed by the health authorities where they was looked after in treatment centres. The medical model of disability was approached within this period of time as Farrell (2008) states the disabled person is seen as the problem and they will need to fit around society as there's no reason why society shall change as disability was seen as a disease, trauma or another health condition which requires medical attention. The beginning of the policy for inclusive practice was prompted when The Education Act (Handicapped Children) (1970) was introduced. Alcott (2002) states that The Education Act (Handicapped Children) (1970) ensured that all children must be educated whatever their ability is and that every child should be seen educable. Also Alcott (2002) explained that many special schools were built and the local education authority (LEAs) held the responsibility to ensure that children were put into education. For this reason disabled people finally received their rights, as (UNICEF, 2012) states every child is entitled to a free education regardless their ability and a child should be located in a school which will meet their needs best. A significant landmark in education which has supported the development of inclusive practice was the publication of the Warnock Report (1978). As Jones (2004) stated the Warnock Report (1978) is a set of recommendations which put emphasis on moving from categorization and segregation into a more flexible arrangements as many children had the cognitive ability to be educated in a mainstream school which had been done by early identification and assessments, also the term handicapped changed into a wider concept of ' Special Educational Needs'(SEN). The Warnock Report had an impact on The Education Act 1981 as it was based around the recommendations. According to Jones and Docking (1992) The Education Act 1981 ensured SEND children received their full time education which they was entitled to, regardless their age, ability and attitude except focusing on the specific educational needs which the child might have, which was completed by identification and assessment (statementing) and the outcome will be the LEAs responsibility to ensure the child needs will be met by being located in the right setting. Within this time the social model of disability was approached as Cigman(2006) states society is seen as the main problem not the individual and therefore society shall understand the needs of a disability and remove the barriers in order to have a successful life. Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001) has had a great impact on the current policy on inclusive practice as it made discrimination against disabled children unlawful which meant schools had to find ways to meet children needs. If the child has a statement of SEN they must be educated in a mainstream school and only moved into a specialised school if the parents of the child think it be best for their child to be within that environment or practitioners within a setting observes that other children learning is being affected. Armstrong, Armstrong and Spandagou (2012).
An Individual who has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) has no known cure but therefore the individual will not only have specific needs but will have many strengths throughout their life. The National Autistic Society (2011). The triad of impairment is seen as three main difficulties which an ASD child will experience. Wall (2003). As stated by Poustie (1997) the first difficulty is social interaction this will have an effect on making friendships or working together. The second difficulty is social communication which has an impact on the process of sending and receiving verbal and non-verbal information. The third difficulty is imagination which has an effect on the inflexibility of language and behaviour. Within the case study it is shown that Mikail faces many difficulties but yet has many strengths. Mikail shows complexity with his social interaction as referring to the case study Mikail prefers to do things alone with no staff or other children nearby. Social interaction is important within learning as according to Adams (2009) it allows the child to have high levels of self esteem and confidence in being able to work as a team. However The National Autistic Society (2011) states a child with ASD can improve their social interaction by the practitioner allowing the child to take the lead within activities. As the levels of interaction will start to progress due to the child being able to communicate which can be done by eye contact which is usually tricky and the non-verbal communication expressed through facial expressions, however the practitioner will need to be on the same level as the child so communication will become more effective. The National Autistic Society (2011). Mikail also has difficulty with his speech as he has single words but no recognizable speech. Feiler and Watson (2010) states that a delay in speech could affect a child's learning as it allows the child to make certain decisions within their education, express themselves clearly as well as making their needs known. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) can be used as it is a significant initiative for individuals who have an ASD and a delay in their speech. Baker (2007). Baker (2007) states that PECS is used to develop a communication by showing pictures for things in which they want, PECS has enabled many ASD children to develop their speech. Mikail also has many strengths as referring back to the case study he is a physical active boy. Due to Mikail being physical he has an advantage of being able to undergo a therapy to encourage his social interactions as according to Wall (2003) being physically active is an advantage for social interaction as The Higashi approach (Daily Life Therapy) can be completed as the brain is being stimulated and is promoting strength which enables the ASD child to accept others around them and understand the concept of social interaction. Another strength is Mikail preferring to complete activities alone as he will be less likely to be socially distracted. According to Fisher (2008) being an independent learner has a positive impact on an individual as they are being enabled to take control and responsibility of their own learning and therefore are usually successful learners as they want to explore, experiment and become competent. However Shore and Rastelli (2006) states that the ASD child should not be viewed as incapable of learning and progressing due to a inadequate social skills as yet most ASD children are capable of progress.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a framework for children between the ages of 0-5 years old which states that every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential and the EYFS practitioners have the responsibility to identify children's needs and remove or help to overcome any barriers within the setting. (Great Britain. Children, Schools and Families, 2009). A significant strategy which can be used with ASD is the SPELL approach which stands for structure, positive, empathy, low arousal and links as it smooth the progress of arranging a successful learning environment as it states the difficulty which children will face and how to remove the barriers. Thoms (2006). A Individual Education Plan (IEP) will also be a useful strategy to use as it focuses on children needs and difficulties. Siegel (2011). Jones (2004) states an IEP is where an education plan is developed by practitioners and other agencies to meet specific needs and difficulties of a child, it is very significant for children with SEN as it enables to remove barriers in order for the child to effectively progress. According to The National Autistic Society (2011) an ASD child will have an IEP that will mainly aim on progressing social interaction, communication and imagination. Klein, Cook and Gibbs (2001) states in order for the specific needs to met the objective should be thoroughly integrated into the child's daily activities and hence the child will progress. Routine is also a significant resource which should be allocated with children who have ASD in a learning environment. As according to Pittman (2007) an ASD child will struggle with changes as it requires them to be flexible in thinking and imagination and requests for the child to make a new response, yet this will stress the child out as they aren't so keen on this concept. Porter (2006) states if an ASD child becomes stressed over certain changes which they aren't aware of they could cause a disruption, hence the ASD child should be shown in advanced of changes. In order for the routine to be effective it needs to be clear, understandable and a familiar format such pictorial so they can remember what needs to be done or what will happen next as this will minimise distress and encourage flexibility. Dodd (2005). Social stories is another resource which can be used with children who have an ASD as due to them having a difficulty with their social interaction, they could be shown a short story which will share social information on what is expected off the individual in the certain situation as this could lead to better social understandings where the behaviour and social functioning will be improved. Kokina and Kern (2010). The physical environment should be appropriately addressed due to being a significant aspect for children with ASD, so certain adjustments should be made in order to meet needs and for a sense of achievement. Hall and Isaacs (2012). The environment should be structured and relaxed as it keeps the child calm and doesn't allow them to become over stimulated due to too much anxiety. Nguyen (2006). An ASD child will become over stimulated if something affects their senses as they are very sensitive to noise, light, heat or smells which can trigger off their behaviour and enable them to feel anxious. Nguyen (2006). Mikail has difficulty filtering sounds so he covers his ears when noise levels rise, yet this need can be met if a practitioner follow a simple strategy as stated by Hall and Isaacs (2012) when it gets really noisy count backwards with fingers high in the air from 4 to 1 where it should be totally quiet so the ASD child feels more relaxed. Due to this difficulty Dickins, Emmerson and Smith-Gordan (2004) states activities should appeal to all five senses as it allows the child to have a more successful experience. According to Wall (2004) the environment should also be well structured as due to Mikail having a complexity with communication he can identify independently what is situated in different areas of the room by written and pictorial signs which will minimise confusion and anxiety. The role of the adult has a significant impact on a child's life as stated by Drury, Miller and Campbell (2000) within a child's life and their development a practitioner are able to make a strong difference to their lives, as they are able to observe the child to have a deep understanding on the needs and difficulties of the child and overcome them by scaffolding the child's learning and allowing them to achieve certain tasks by breaking it down into small sections but yet make it challenging enough to motivate them and progress their learning. However a key worker is very crucial for children with ASD as they can work closely with them and see the child's day to day progress by observing them to gain a greater understanding and can contact other professionals if need be. Holmes, Oldfield and Polichroniads (2011). Poustie (1997) states effective partnership between practitioners, parents and other agencies will lead to a better outcome on meeting the ASD child needs. Also it will will minimise misunderstanding and confusion as everyone involved with the individual follows the same, consistent approaches which can promote learning. The National Autistic Society (2011). Parents should also be worked with very closely as according to Wall (2004) parents can pass on very crucial information in where they think the child is struggling and parents can receive support and advice in which will help them with their ASD child progressing. There are three main agencies which are closely related to children who have ASD the first is health services as they probably visit a psychologists and for clinical support, secondly social services where a plan would be created to ensure that the needs of the child are being met where involvement on therapeutic programmes will be given and family support and lastly education services as the child will probably need specialised teaching approaches. Poustie (1997).
There are a wide range of provisions which are available for an ASD child. Firstly the ASD child can attend a Mainstream provision whether they have statement of SEN or not, as many parents want their child to be involved within a curriculm that is not based around learning difficulties and be suitable for ASD children, however the ASD child can be refused if the school believes their is an impact on the other children's education by certain behaviours performed. West-Hope (2011). Specialist school are another provision for ASD as Birnbaum (2010) states specialist schools cater for a specific special need or alternatively a genetic disorder, therefore children with autism and have a statement of SEN can attend specialist schools as they provide for those children who needs are difficult to be met within a mainstream provisions. Birnbaum (2010) also states another provision is specialist units within a mainstream provision where the child with ASD could attend to this provision as well as their other provision for part or most of the school day, however many specialist schools also have special units where there could be a specialist class for children with ASD. Birnbaum (2010). Home schooling is another type of provisions which children with ASD could have as it is a preference by parents as there could be a lack of adequate provision within the area and view the system as being inflexible in meeting the needs of the chid and the child will feel more comfortable educating within their home environment. Batten, Corbett, Rosenblatt, Withers and Yuille (2006). Drawing upon the setting visit to a specialised school where most children were diagnosed with ASD there was many strategies and resource in place which helped meeting the needs of the children. There was clear routines, sensory classes where children were having an aromatherapy session, dimmed lights to keep children calm and visual cues around the setting. Within mainstream and specialised provisions the ASD child and family could face many strengths and weaknesses. Firstly a strength within a mainstream provision is there's a wide range within a local area so the children within the area might attend to the same setting so if an ASD child attends a mainstream they won't be viewed as different as they are being included within their community and can play and learn alongside their peers and siblings. Liz (2004). Another strength is if the child attends a mainstream provision the parents of the ASD child will be able to have physical contact with the professionals within the setting as they can take their child to school rather than arranging transport yet this will allow communication to be more simplicity. Liz (2004). A weakness of an ASD child attending a mainstream provision is they are more prone to be bullied as the other children within the setting aren't aware of ASD, hence could leave ASD child with low self-esteem. Batten, Corbett, Rosenblatt, Withers and Yuille (2006). Another weakness is the ASD child could feel excluded as they have difficulty with social communication and interaction and find it difficult to build friendships. Batten, Corbett, Rosenblatt, Withers and Yuille (2006). A strength of a child attending a specialised provision is that due to the nature of needs of the children there is greater involvement with other services as many will require ongoing support and a range of therapies particularly speech and language therapy. Tutt (2007). A weakness of an ASD child attending a specialised provision is that they aren't many in a local area so children will come from a wide area which could lead the child to become detached from their local community and not have a sense of belonging. Tutt (2007). Another weakness of an specialised provision is that most of the children has transport provided so the child will not be able to attend after school clubs which will probably be beneficial towards the ASD child, like aromatherapy sessions. Tutt (2007).
Overall over the past few decades SEND children has become more acceptable within society, due to an improvement within legislation which has had a positive impact for improving their lives. Legislation is working as every SEND children has the right to be educated in a provision best suitable for their needs. ASD children main difficulties is social interaction, social communication and imagination so these three areas should be appropriately addressed as this will ensure needs are being met. The main thing an ASD child shall not be faced against is changes which are unknown, something that affects their senses as this could cause them stress and anxiety, therefore the environment shall be a very calm and relaxed as the child will be engaged in learning. Yet practitioners shall not assume that ASD children share the same strengths and needs as every child is unique who should be carefully observed within a setting to gain a greater understanding to maximise the child's potential. A low level ASD child shall be enabled to attend a mainstream provision as they will feel included within their community, unless they have a high level of autism where a specialised provision will suit their needs best. Practitioners shall have a high level of skills and ability to be able to maximise a child's potential. In order for a high level of progress parents, practitioners and other agencies shall work together for an effective outcome and create a learning environment to maximise the child's potential.