Special Education Needs, Access and Inclusion

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This assignment will address issues on dyspraxia and how children with this condition are included in mainstream schools. Firstly a brief history of dyspraxia, with some definition of dyspraxia and statistical information on the condition will ne included. Also how dyspraxia affects a child and the child's learning will be considered along side how teachers provide inclusion for children with dyspraxia. Definitions of the word inclusion will be explored, as well as the importance of a SENCO, the role and responsibilities of the SENCO and support that is provided for children with dyspraxia. Finally strategies for supporting children with this condition such as IEPs (individual education plans) will be considered.

This section will discuss the history behind dyspraxia and according to BBC (2011) 'Dyspraxia was documented when Orton (1937, pp72) used the term "congenital maladroitness". He recognised that disorders of the actual doing of a task (praxis) resulted in clumsiness. These children were called "clumsy children" and dyspraxia was known as "clumsy child syndrome". In the USA this condition was first given recognition through the work of Strauss and Lehitinen in 1947'.

There are number of definitions of dyspraxia Addy (2003, p.7) states that ' the term dyspraxia is taken from the Greek dys meaning ill and praxis meaning doing, acting and practice'. Another definition suggested by Tassoni (2003, p205) 'dyspraxia is a developmental disorder that affects children's control and co-ordination of movement. Dyspraxia foundation (2011) identifies dyspraxia has 'an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement which leads to associated problems with language, perception and thought'.

Statistics show that boys are more likely to have dyspraxia than girls but when girls have this condition they are worst hit than boys. According to Macintyre (2001, p.12) 'boys: girls are affected 4:1 but when girls have the condition, they tend to be more severely affected'. It is estimated that dyspraxia affects at least 2% of the general population to some degree. Macintyre (2001, p12) states that 'eight to ten per cent of children have some degree of dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is difficult to diagnose which is complex situation for teachers to recognise. The reasons for this are that it may get confused with other condition. Macintyre (2001, p.12) point out 'there is often overlap with another syndrome'.

Some of the characteristics of children with dyspraxia are they may have difficulty walking, hopping, skipping, throwing and catching a ball, riding a bike. Delay in using spoken language and speech that is difficult to understand. The child may bump into objects due to lack of ordination. Addy (2003, p.11) states that 'frequently bumps into things'. The child may have difficulty in doing fine-motor skills activities such as tying shoelaces or buttoning clothing. They may have difficulty with handwriting. Poor sense of direction and they may find it difficult to organise themselves and their work.

The affects of dyspraxia on the child are that speech difficulties can interfere with casual conversation, which can result in social awkwardness and unwillingness to risk engaging in conversation. Writing difficulties such as poor letter formation, pencil grip and slow writing can make school work frustrating. Tassoni (2003, p206) states that 'older children may find it difficult to produce legible handwriting'. The child may have low self-esteem Tassoni (2003, p.208) argues that 'children with dyspraxia can develop low self esteem. The child may have emotional and behavioural difficulties according to Tassoni (2003, p206) children may show inappropriate behaviour this can be a result of frustration'. Other factors that affect children with dyspraxia, the condition can make it difficult for children to develop social skills, and they may have trouble getting along with peers. While they are intelligent, these children may seem immature and some may develop phobias and obsessive behaviour. However many young people with dyspraxia may also have the added stress of dealing with coordination problems which may be problematic in physical education classes and other sports activities. Addy (2003, p.11) argues that 'difficulty in physical education relating to hopping, jumping and balancing'. The child may have weaknesses in comprehension; information processing and listening can also contribute to the difficulties experienced by people with dyspraxia. Children with dyspraxia may have difficulty planning and completing fine motor skill tasks.

There are two vital pieces of legislative frameworks which have been put in practice to improve the opportunities of those with special educational needs. SEN & Disability Act 2001 this act gives disabled children the opportunity to go to mainstream schools and be educated. The local education authority will provide information to the parents and children. This has helped because the child has the opportunity to be educated in mainstream school and work with other children without disability. Another document which contributed towards the right of child with special educational needs is the SEN Code of Practice 2001 which should be followed by every school in the UK. It is aimed to strengthen the right of the disabled child to be educated in mainstream schools where it is appropriate. Although there will still be vital roles for special schools. This can be practiced in schools by the teacher giving information to parents if they believe that their child may have difficulties and may need additional support in school, which the parent should confirm if that is fine with them. The teachers should not discriminate the child who has a disability by underestimating their achievement because they are able to achieve anything that the other children can achieve so it is important not to stereotype. The quote that has been used is "educators to inform parents when they make special educational provision for children". This has helped because it has given the opportunity for disabled children to go to normal schools also the teacher must ask permission before taking any action such as putting a child on IEP's.

Another issue can be the strategies for supporting children with dyspraxia and removing the barrier to inclusion. The child can be put on IEP plan which describes the goals the staff have set for the child for the school year, as well as any special supports that are needed to help achieve these goals. A child who has difficulty learning and functioning and has been identified as a special needs child is the perfect person for an IEP. The identification and assessment depends on the child's needs, a number of specialists may be involved in the assessment plan. These specialists could include a resource teacher, reading clinician, speech-language pathologist and psychologist. Different professionals are qualified to assess different areas of the child's development. For example, a psychologist assesses a child's cognitive ability or potential. A classroom teacher or resource teacher can assess children's learning skills or how they learn. An assessment may be done for the following reasons to find out whether the child has a special learning need, to identify the child's current capabilities, skills, and needs finally to find out how those special learning needs affect the child's ability to learn and function in school.

Statementing is a recognised procedure of intervention amongst the local education authority and the parents it plans to spot the areas of need and find a treatment. The SENCO will take responsibility for this a statement of special educational needs is a document that sets out the child's needs. The child may have a statement for his or her whole school career, or for just a part of it. Through their annual reviews of the child's statement, the LEA may decide that your child can continue to make good progress with the extra help that an ordinary school can provide within the resources generally available to them.

The 3 stages leading to statementing are Early Years Action take places if the child's rate of progress is well below what is expected for children of a similar age and it becomes necessary to take some action which is additional to or different from that usually used. The cause for Early Years Action are when a child makes little or no progress even when different teaching approaches have been tried, continues working in certain areas at levels well below that expected of children of a similar age. Early Education Action Plus occurs when, after talking with parents at the meeting where the Individual Education Plan (IEP) is looked at again, a decision is made to ask for help from outside society. When Early Years Action Plus takes place, advice should always be asked of specialists. The cause of Early Years Action Plus are when a child continues to make little or no progress in certain areas and continues working at Early Years Curriculum levels well below that expected of children of a similar age. Statutory assessment a statutory assessment becomes necessary when the nursery class or school is not able to provide all the support your child needs.

But some parents may worry about their child with special educational needs, education and concerns about schooling, including whether special schools or mainstream education are the best option for their child. According to SENDA 2001 this has set out changes to education for children with SEN in England. It also brings access to education within the responsibility of the Disability Discrimination Act, making it unlawful for education providers to discriminate against disabled children. Support groups can help parents who have special needs children because they will have the opportunity to meet people and socialise with them due to their child having special needs condition which will help the parent to rise self esteem and self confidence.

Inclusion this is when the children mix freely with each other and are taught in same groups. There are three types of integrations which are location, social and functional. Location integration children are taught on the same site or schools, social integration children meet at lunch time, playtimes, school plays and assembly's finally functional integration the children are mixing freely with each other and are taught in the same groups. More children with disability have the opportunity to go to mainstream school because the SEN and disability act states that "the right of a disabled child to be educated in mainstream schools".

Teachers and TAs can help to provide inclusion for children with dyspraxia by being sensitive to a pupil's limitations and considering how to provide the best chances of success. In PE, for example, positioning can make a big difference. In the classroom, it is often writing that presents the most obvious problems, so the teacher should think about: the pupil's sitting position: both feet on the floor, table and chair height appropriate, sloping writing surface may help. Anchoring the paper or book to the table to avoid slipping, providing a 'cushion' (an old magazine, used paper stapled together) to write on. The writing implements - the grip (try different sizes of pen and pencil and various types of grips available from LDA); avoid the use of a hard-tipped pencil or pen. The teacher can provide children with opportunities for practising handwriting patterns and letter formation. The teacher can also provide guide-lines to keep writing straight. The teacher can limit the amount of writing required by providing ready-printed sheets or alternative means of recording. Teaching keyboard skills and providing alternative keyboards. Macintyre (2001, p.45) state that 'opportunities for oral reporting or using a computer are often the best ways to prevent good writing'.

On the other hand the teacher needs to be careful not to discriminate the child by not providing for their needs. This can occur if a child is disabled and the teacher has lowered the child's ability due to his or her condition and not involve the child fully in group discussion. Which can affect the child by losing self esteem and they will feel that he or she has the ability to do much harder work also be upset and feel left out. This can be avoided by the school having a strong equal opportunity policy.

There are number of classroom support strategies for helping children with dyspraxia to succeed in schools. Handwriting difficulties the child can practice using multi-sensory letter formation e.g. sandpaper letters, sky writing. The use of pencil grips will help, writing lines, stencils. Difficulty walking in straight line bumps into people and things another problem may be difficulties running, hopping, jumping, catching/kicking balls. Strategies to support the child the teacher can provide balance or wobble boards, walking on the line and hand to hand throwing using bean bags or water-filled balloons.

The role and responsibilities of the SENCO is to be responsible for seeing that all children with special educational need are being helped appropriately, ensuring contact with parents and other professionals. Talking to and advising any member of staff who is concerned about a child. Tassoni state that 'to be able to lead, motivate and inform other member of staff in matters relating to SEN'. Ensuring relevant background information about individual children is collected, recorded and up-dated. They should act in a professional and ethical manner with due regard to confidentiality, data protection and human rights.

In conclusion dyspraxia is very difficult condition to identify because it may be confused with other conditions. Schools can provide inclusion for children with dyspraxia as long as they change the way they teach children. In my opinion I think that children with dyspraxia are capable of studying in a mainstream school. Whilst doing this assignment it was difficult to find resources on dypraxia.

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