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This case study will discuss and critically analyse whether the ethics and methodologies in place at a secondary school, I worked with, meet the needs of every child. For confidentiality reasons the schools certified name is not revealed instead a pseudonym, X school is used in its place. I observed a student who suffers from autism disorder which the study will be based upon. He is the only student in X school that is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I also observed a secondary mathematics class, who had the same teacher throughout the research which was taken by the student, ABC.
Autism is formerly recognised to be incurable though there are various involvements that can be efficient in increasing the quality of life of those with the disorder. These involvements can support and benefit individuals with behavioural and emotional complications or difficulties with language that the individual is facing. One involvement in specific which is widely known and also used by X school to assist ABC is the Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Pupils (TEACCH). This involvement proposes techniques of constructing the curriculum and the classroom in order to diminish anxiety and helps to encourage learning and support behavioural and emotional struggles (Mesibov, 1997).
ABC is a 16 year old student diagnosed with an autism disorder after countless years of being wrongly identified as "emotionally disturbed." He talks very quickly and without much articulation which makes it challenging to recognise what he is saying. He is in a standard International Baccalaureate diploma curriculum this year and he is assisted by a teaching assistant. The IB Diploma is a stimulating programme of education with examinations which trains students for university and work. It is the equivalent of college education which is considered to focus on the social, intellectual and emotional welfare of students. For five hours every week ABC attends an IB mathematics class where he is required to accomplish the minimum Standard 3 qualification. This is irrespective of attaining a B in his GCSE mathematics at school the year before. He has slight trouble with general mathematical calculations; though he has substantial difficulty with analysis, reading and comprehension which influences his achievement in English and other academic subjects. His vocabulary is considerably lower than age-level, but he can grasp visually represented theories. He is predominantly good at using formulas but struggles to recognise which formulas to choose for solving particular mathematical problems. ABC frequently has trouble finishing assignments because he is extremely particular how they should look. If he makes an error he insists on beginning his work all over again. ABC does not have many friends at school as other pupils find his behavior peculiar. He can frequently be over-friendly with strangers and also individuals he is acquainted with, but when he is speaking to people who are outside of his family, he is not able to hold eye contact. Moreover, in class he is incredibly distracting towards other students when sat next to them and when included in any group activities. As the class has developed over the weeks, ABC's behavior appeared to get worse. He is generally irritated in class, except when he is working on his computer independently. The teaching assistant confirmed that ABC has a passion for computing, although at times it seemed to be a problem; specifically when he does not understand that other students may not be equally fascinated in a computer or attempts to disassemble a computer in class.
To confirm the teaching assistant has had a chance to acquaint herself with the lesson content, and to converse anything she is uncertain of when it comes to assisting ABC, the mathematics teacher usually delivered her with a thorough lesson plan for each period she is present. The lesson plan contains details of whole class work, supplies being used and definite vocabulary which the teacher wants to present through the lesson. The lesson plan includes differentiation for the whole class, as well as precise instructions for ABC. Included on the lesson plans are the objectives which will be covered during the lesson, commonly taken from either the 'IB Curriculum' or National IB Numeracy and Literacy strategy'. Often these aims are not suitable for ABC so the teacher often takes an objective with a similar goal, but she takes it from the 'IB Curriculum Guidance from the Foundation Stage' which has more suitable aims which ABC will be able to accomplish. The teaching assistant seemed to be a great help with ABC and was able to give the teacher detailed feedback and any observations she makes whilst assisting him. This all contributed to the teachers forward planning for ABC and the goals she set for the future.
ABC's parents are regularly being called to meetings regarding ABC and are involved with many different agencies. The family also has a social worker and health visitor who visits them at home. Because of the huge amount of material they receive about ABC, the teacher finds that sending a letter home in his bag is an effectual way of delivering messages. The teacher always told ABC when she had put a letter in his bag but had also already notified his parents that this will be her chosen means of communicating with them and they also know to check his bag frequently. If she required a meeting with them she chose to send a letter home requesting them to get in touch with the school.
This study will continue to research the individual learning necessities of ABC, a student with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and how the application of specific measures based on the TEACCH intervention can increase his knowledge and encourage inclusivity. This assignment will also investigate the concern of inclusivity in Further Education with respect to students who have a disability and the prospects and barriers they may face when gaining entry and contributing in Further Education. The assignment will briefly analysis the past, present and future legislation, and what it signifies to students and staff elaborated in this particular area of education.
While no particular educational or treatment methodology has been revealed to be exclusively effective with autistic students, there are some philosophies, established through the years, which have evidenced to be predominantly supportive in educational support for students. The TEACCH programme has achieved approval and is extensively used in approaches to autism in the UK, USA, and Europe as well as across other small parts of the world (Schopler & Mesibov 1995, see also Fletcher-Campbell 2003).
The TEACCH programme is a university-based development established by Eric Schopler at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Schopler, Reichler, Lansing & Waters 1980). The educational attitude of TEACCH states that the individual is the primacy (Schopler, 1989) and the programme puts importance upon the significance of individuality. TEACCH declares to deliver each individual with their highest level of independence and individuality and to have developed from a number of perspectives including medical, psychological, educational and social. Undeniably a likely reason why it is such an admired intervention could be that it significances to be able to adjust according to any recent research in the field of autism so that it is not ever a static programme, (Mesibov, 1997).
"The primary aim of the TEACCH programme is to help to prepare people with autism to live or work more effectively at home, at school and in the community". (The National Autistic Society, 2003).
The TEACCH perspective supports that education outlines the backbone of the programme. Although it cannot be condensed to a sole procedure it makes use of numerous methods in countless combinations according to each person's requirements and developing competencies. According to Jones (2002) the aptitude to offer this specific technique will vary from one condition to another and is likely to be offered less, in its entirety in typical school situations. The mainspring of the programme is the progression of communication skills by means of education as a way to achieve maximum individuality at adult age for its students.
According to Schopler (1989), above 350 research reviews have been performed by or in cooperation with Division TEACCH since 1965. These associate to the nature of autism, controlled teaching, working with families, assessment, language and communication, individuality, vocational abilities, social and leisure skills, and behaviour controlling. However, this widespread study embraces few peer-reviewed enquiries conducted by researchers not associated with TEACCH and there are several critics. Nevertheless, the mathematics teacher whose class I was observing enlightened that this programme appealed to X school because it was thought that students like ABC would advantage significantly from being assisted by using select characteristics of TEACCH.
It is not likely to recognise an intervention that encounters all the requirements of a student with autism, (Jordan, Jones & Murray, 1998). Though there are a number of involvements specially aimed to support pupils with ASD. The decisions that were made regarding the pupil in this case study were supported by the understanding and knowledge of how a certain intervention would relate to communication, social understanding and flexibility of thought and behaviour. The school specifically studied the potential decrease in interaction and communication connected with TEACCH and the quality of independent work that could be offered to the pupil.
The TEACCH beliefs refer to the physical arrangement as 'the way of arranging furniture, materials and general surroundings of the classroom', (Mesibov & Howey, 2003).
In order to diminish classroom interferences ABC was given his own individual work space to try to escape over stimulation which has been discovered to distract certain students with ASD, (Siegel, 2003). The essentials of this method are that by creating an environment that is more expected the student will be less disordered and problems will be decreased (Mesibov, 1997; Seach, 1998).
ABC has a lot of strong points in several subjects of the IB curriculum. However, he struggles with the numerous class changes he has to do in the high school setting every day. This expressed itself mainly in ABC not being aware of where to take a seat in each classroom consequently triggering anxiety and confusion. After debate it was arranged that ABC should be able to sit in the same position each week in each mathematics lesson; in front of the teacher's desk. This was extended to other lessons by presenting ABC with seating plans which illustrate (pictorially) where he should take a seat in each of his classes. This methodology aids the evidence presented by Short in his 1984 analysis. Astonishingly though this restlessness does not occur during lunchtime in the school cafeteria when ABC does not mind where he takes a seat. This could clarify some of the complications in discovering solid evidence for the efficiency of TEACCH as students tend not to react in the similar way to each situation.
The use of Individual Learning Plans is customary in further education. These regularly take the form of printed sheets which contain smart goals. The most frequent kinds of timetables in the TEACCH approach are objects, printed words with icons, pictures, photographs or written timetables, (Mesibov & Howey, 2003).
When providing a weekly class schedule for ABC the school reflected and changed his current one so that it was better matched for his usage. His reading and writing is not at the age-level it should be so he was stimulated to develop this by writing his individual goals using a combination of words and icons. The school's guidance counselor was aware that ABC could follow an order of activities using the pictorial clues provided in the weekly class schedules as long as it covered key terms like 'firstâ€¦.thenâ€¦..then' and it was not very lengthy or complex. The school thought that this was a good idea to extend this to his timetable.
As optical processing is a strong point of numerous students with autism, (Attwood, 1998) ABC has a separate work structure planned and labeled to take full advantage of his independent operating and benefit from his attraction for routines which will help him to become self-governing.
ABC has also generated a schedule and a timetable on his computer and when the mathematics teacher gave out class instructions he made a reminder of these in Microsoft Word. He then chooses when and in what sequence to do assignments. This arrangement of schedule and computer system is to inspire ABC to grow as independent as possible within the class and the school. He now has the additional motivation of being presented with decision making and selection as he has control of his education. A significance result of this which was noticed has been an increase in ABC's self-confidence and his new motivated attitude. He has queried about shifting his course and this nurtures the issue of whether he was on the correct course to commence with. Did ABC find it tougher than other students when making the changeover from GCSE to IB diploma because of his learning disability?
After speaking with the teaching assistant which assists ABC and has spent the last three and half years as a teaching assistant at X school in the essential Special Educational Needs Department, it was revealed that staff at the school prides themselves on supporting an atmosphere that encourages inclusion through the equivalence of opportunity.
Inclusion undoubtedly seems to be the main focus of educational enviroments of the 20th and 21st century but what precisely does it mean, and what precisely has it intended for the disabled scholar of the past, present and future. It is surely not a new idea. Over the previous few decades or so the arrangement of individual viewpoints has been that the education system should incorporate into the mainstream, learners with special or specific requirements or disabilities. The expression inclusive literally represents, "All of us in school together again." (Stanley 2004)
In 1896 the Education Department established a board on Defective and Epileptic children that situated these youngsters into one of two classifications: those who were believed to be psychologically defective and could not be educated were referred to the asylums; and those who were weak minded were isolated from the mainstream and provided with some educational services by local school boards amongst the ages of seven and fourteen. This standard of education provision remained broadly in the same form until the induction of the Education Act (1944).
In 1944 suggestions were made to restructure the organisation of education provision with respect to disability. The handicapped Pupils and School Health Service Regulations (1945) identified eleven categories of disabled pupils: blind, partially blind, deaf, partially deaf, delicate, diabetic, educationally subnormal, epileptic, maladjusted, physically handicapped, and those with speech defects. These were then divided into two groups: seriously disabled and disabled. The guidelines arranged that the blind, deaf, epileptic and physically handicapped fell into the first group and had to be assisted at special schools, but wherever possible students in the second category should enroll into mainstream schools.
Unfortunately the accomplishment of these commendations was delayed by post war practicalities such as building regulations which merely permitted the formation of schools that would hold classes of between 30-40 pupils. Such classes were too large to permit efficient special education provision and most other suitable buildings had not survived the bombings. However, the 1960s saw a transformation when special classes and units were recognised in mainstream schools and a variety of helpful forms of education were established throughout the nation.
Encouragement for the inclusivity of disabled children in mainstream education showed to go from strength to strength during the '60s and '70s. The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act of 1970 necessitated local education authorities, wherever likely, to provide support for the education of deaf/blind, autistic and acutely dyslexic children in maintained or assisted schools. Since the implementation of the Handicapped Children's Act (1970) and the Mentally Handicapped Children's Act Scotland (1974) all handicapped children no matter how serious the disability, have been involved in the structure of special education. In addition the 1976 Education Act suggested that the application of educational establishment should be offered to expand better integration of children with disabilities into regular schools.
However, in spite of the landmarks concerning the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schools there was little consideration or provision made regarding the further education of these learners once they accomplished the necessary school leaving age; that is until the Warnock Report (1978).
The report examined the need for additional supplies to be delivered for the disabled student with respect to accessing Further Education, predominantly those with Special Educational Needs. They observed the regions of provision for basic skills courses, vocational courses and the complications a disabled student may experience when accessing or contributing in normal courses within a FE institution. As a result many commendations were made such as:
"Wherever possible, young people should be given the necessary support to enable them to attend ordinary courses in FE". (Warnock, 1978)
These commendations have been an enormous influencing factor concerning the inclusion of young disabled students. Nevertheless, despite these distinguished strides the Tomlinson Report (1996) criticised the then FE establishment maintaining that the method to learning, which concentrated on making students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities different from or more 'special' than other learners, had not succeeded.
The report suggested that additional importance should be made on an educational establishments' capability to comprehend and react to specific learner's necessities thus producing a more suitable and inclusive educational atmosphere by not labeling disabled students. Tomlinson states,
"The aim is not for students to simply take part in further education but to be actively included and fully engaged in the learning. At the heart of our thinking lays the idea of match or fit between how the learner learns best, what they need and want to learn and what is required by the FE sector, the college and the teachers for successful learning to take place." (Tomlinson, 1996)
Since Tomlinson, many FE institutions have dedicated themselves to approving the approach that Tomlinson suggested by observing the individual rather than the disability.
Yet regardless of the attempts of educational institutions and subsidiary interventions to try to make this transition from school to adulthood with regard to careers as uncomplicated as possible an article printed in the British Journal of Special Education stated that there are areas of alarm. The article is grounded on a piece of investigation led by Derrick Armstrong and Paul Davies writing on the experiences of 29 young people about to leave special education. In it they believe the assistance offered by specialist careers, advisors and schools, and the opportunities and barriers faced during this transition. It is proposed that, though the advice and support accessible to young people at a school is commonly of good quality, there seems to be a consequent lack of coherence which can make these young school leavers greatly susceptible when they move to employment, training or Further Education. It became obvious during the investigation that the key purpose for this was that the provision network experienced by the students in their final year at school became uneven once they left that institution. Armstrong and Davis (1995) determined that although there is no lack of professional will it appears that an organisation within which individual professionals working in partnership could co-ordinate their assistance, is missing. Unfortunately the opportunity to discuss ABC's transition from GCSE to IB on a one to one basis did not take place with him in detail but his irritation and dissatisfaction with what he was presented when enrolling at X School does point to a lack of consistency within his provision network when contemplating his possible career path.
At X School the responsibility is on potential students to recognise that they have a learning disability which may or may not necessitate extra support. This is given on both the question and submission forms and the following enrolment forms. This evidence is then forwarded to the Additional Support officers, who work with the Learning Support Manager to instigate the procedure of assessment. This may include requests for evaluations from educational psychologists, specialist teachers or other agencies, or gathering information from a range of informants, including previous schools or placements. During this assessment phase, all students and, if appropriate, their parent/guardian or advocates are kept completely updated. Students should also complete a pro-forma, authorised AS1, which is available from the school's reception or their course tutor. A form is also obtainable in the student handbook. This is proposed to notify potential and current students that supplementary support may be accessible, and compromises the chance of self-referral to Learning Support. Specialist staff from the Learning Support Team are also available for guidance and to advise students through the admissions process. The school also offers educational services and support, which are over and above those educational facilities that are accessible for use by all students. These are: academic and curriculum support, expert staff and, technology and equipment.
The school aims to involve everyone by offering equivalence of opportunity in all activities it carries out, and seeks to make sure quality educational provision, irrespective of a student's learning or other disability. It also pursues to react flexibly to the specific needs of potential students, and will endeavor to deliver additional support for those students who may have learning complications and/or disabilities. To do this the school requires training and developing its staff. The roles of tutors and curriculum leaders are fundamental and crucial when encouraging inclusivity. Their role is to ensure that the needs of every individual student are met. The staff at X School demonstrated that they understood the importance of their role very well. All staff should be more conscious of problems that may occur when teaching students with disabilities.
Another organisation recognised by the school is Removing Barriers to Achievement (2004) which presents some of the government's policies for SEN; this approach is what is proposed for the future; it is a move forward to try to give opportunity. Removing barriers to achievement adds into the graduated model, looking at not just everyone but how individuals can be assisted and how to eliminate obstacles for any person, giving youngsters with SEN the chances to prosper. Removing Barriers to Achievement (2004:26) states that,
'We want to see: schools with the confidence to innovate and with the skills and specialist support they need to meet the needs of all pupils successfully'.
For children in the past who had autism disorder their obstacles to learning were that autism disorder was not familiar, but we now have means of assessing autism disorder. Another obstruction is that not every autism diagnosed child is the same, so what could help one child might not help another; it has been problematic to eliminate this hurdle, but there is a benefit to that, because what you would aspect for in autism children is how you can use diverse strategies in teaching. The school identifies that this can actually advantage the rest of the children in the class who are not SEN, by teaching in different ways may help them too.
The subject of inclusivity is very complicated and it contains more than simply applying equality of opportunity and consequent pieces of legislation. Funding, for instance, and the many forms of financial support can immediately affect the authenticity of offering adequate provision of supplies and therefore, opportunity. Even when the finance and construction are in place there may still be times when the school fails to encounter the needs of the learner despite difficult fragments of legislation designed to escape this. I have discovered that the mission of including every student is huge. Possibly the only agreement that a Further Education institution can make is that all of its staff report and act upon any act of discrimination or unfairness they may come across, and that the establishment repeatedly tackles areas of progress.