WHAT ARE SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS?
Definitions of special education needs taken from section 20 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
A child has special educational needs if he or she has learning difficulties that call for special educational provision to be made.
A child has learning difficulties if he or she:
Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age.
Has a disability which prevents or hinders the child from making use of educational facilities of a kind provided for children of the same age in other schools within the Local Authority.
Homefields Primary School values the abilities and achievements of all its pupils, and is committed to providing each pupil with the best possible environment for learning.
THE SEND INFORMATION REPORT
The governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools and the proprietors of academy schools must publish information on their websites about the implementation of the governing body’s or the proprietor’s policy for pupils with SEN.
See below for a link to our SEND Information Report. This report is part of the Derby City Council Local Offer for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
For more information about how to get help and support your child, see "Special educational needs and disabilities: a guide for parents and carers".
SENDCO – Special Educational Needs Coordinator
Mrs Debbie Rollerson Tel:01332 691351
Mrs Gail Heald Tel:01332 691351
Mrs Ceri Holmes - 01332 691351
The videos aim to develop teachers’ knowledge of SEND and to introduce them to helpful resources and tips for the classroom, but they are great helpful videos for parents to watch too. The following suite of videos cover ADHD, Acquired Brain Injury, Autism, Down’s Syndrome, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Hearing Impairment, Physical Disability, Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Speech, Language and Communication Needs and Visual Impairment.
Speech, Language and Communication Needs
What are Speech, Language and Communication Needs?
Speech, language and communication are crucial for reading, learning in school, for socialising and making friends, and for understanding and controlling emotions or feelings.
A child with speech and language needs or SLCN:
- might have speech that is difficult to understand
- they might struggle to say words or sentences
- they may not understand words that are being used, or the instructions they hear
- they may have difficulties knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation
The term speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) encompass a wide range of difficulties related to all aspects of communication in children and young people. These can include difficulties with fluency (stammering), forming sounds and words, formulating sentences, understanding what others say and using language socially (Gascoigne 2015). Children with eating and drinking difficulties can also be referred to speech and language therapists where there is a physiological problem with a child’s swallow. Much research has been devoted to looking at the at risk groups for children with SLCN. The main at risk groups are:
- Summer born children
- English as an Additional Language
- Socially disadvantaged
- Family history of speech, language and communication disorders.
Speech, Language and Communication Needs, or SLCN, is quite common. It is estimated that around 10% of children starting school have SLCN – that’s approximately 2-3 in every classroom.
Causes of Speech and Language Needs
Speech, Language and Communication Needs can occur as a result of hearing loss, general developmental needs or as part of a disability or medical syndrome, such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or Autistic Spectrum Condition.
Difficulties with talking can also present as a child’s main area of need but without an obvious cause. You may become aware of this if your child is late to talk.
The majority of children, who are late to talk, do not develop persisting difficulties with talking. It is important to distinguish late talkers who go on to ‘catch up’ from children who go on to have persistent difficulties so that appropriate help can be put in place as soon as possible.
The risk factors for persisting problems include:
A family history of difficulties with talking or reading and writing and
A child having difficulties understanding what others say.
You might find these websites useful:
What is Selective Mutism?
Selective mutism is a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they do not see very often.
It usually starts during childhood and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood.
A child or adult with selective mutism does not refuse or choose not to speak at certain times, they're literally unable to speak.
The expectation to talk to certain people triggers a freeze response with feelings of panic, like a bad case of stage fright, and talking is impossible.
In time, the person will learn to anticipate the situations that provoke this distressing reaction and do all they can to avoid them.
However, people with selective mutism are able to speak freely to certain people, such as close family and friends, when nobody else is around to trigger the freeze response.
Selective mutism affects about 1 in 140 young children. It's more common in girls and children who are learning a second language, such as those who've recently migrated from their country of birth.
Causes of Selective Mutism
Experts regard selective mutism as a fear/phobia of talking to certain people. The cause is not always clear, but it's known to be associated with anxiety.
The child will usually have a tendency to anxiety and have difficulty taking everyday events in their stride.
Many children become too distressed to speak when separated from their parents and transfer this anxiety to the adults who try to settle them.
Some children have trouble processing sensory information such as loud noise and jostling from crowds – a condition known as sensory integration dysfunction.
This can make them "shut down" and be unable to speak when overwhelmed in a busy environment. Again, their anxiety can transfer to other people in that environment.
There's no evidence to suggest that children with selective mutism are more likely to have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma than any other child.
Another misconception is that a child with selective mutism is controlling or manipulative, or has autism. There's no relationship between selective mutism and autism, although a child may have both.
Signs of Selective Mutism
The main warning sign is the marked contrast in the child's ability to engage with different people, characterised by a sudden stillness and frozen facial expression when they're expected to talk to someone who's outside their comfort zone.
They may avoid eye contact and appear:
- nervous, uneasy or socially awkward
- rude, disinterested or sulky
- shy and withdrawn
- stiff, tense or poorly co-ordinated
- stubborn or aggressive, having temper tantrums when they get home from school, or getting angry when questioned by parents
More confident children with selective mutism can use gestures to communicate – for example, they may nod for "yes" or shake their head for "no".
But more severely affected children tend to avoid any form of communication – spoken, written or gestured.
Some children may manage to respond with a few words, or they may speak in an altered voice, such as a whisper.
You might find these websites useful:
What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.
Autistic people have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Many have a very literal understanding of language, and think people always mean exactly what they say. They may find it difficult to use or understand:
tone of voice
jokes and sarcasm.
Some may not speak, or have fairly limited speech. They will often understand more of what other people say to them than they are able to express, yet may struggle with vagueness or abstract concepts. Some autistic people benefit from using, or prefer to use, alternative means of communication, such as sign language or visual symbols. Some are able to communicate very effectively without speech.
Others have good language skills, but they may still find it hard to understand the expectations of others within conversations, perhaps repeating what the other person has just said (this is called echolalia) or talking at length about their own interests.
It often helps to speak in a clear, consistent way and to give autistic people time to process what has been said to them.
Autistic people often have difficulty 'reading' other people - recognising or understanding others' feelings and intentions - and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard for them to navigate the social world. They may:
appear to be insensitive
seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
not seek comfort from other people
appear to behave 'strangely' or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate.
Autistic people may find it hard to form friendships. Some may want to interact with other people and make friends, but may be unsure how to go about it.
Over the years, different diagnostic labels have been used, such as autism, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), autism spectrum condition (ASC), classic autism, Kanner autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), high-functioning autism (HFA), Asperger Syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). This reflects the different diagnostic manuals and tools used, and the different autism profiles presented by individuals. Because of recent and upcoming changes to the main diagnostic manuals, 'autism spectrum disorder' (ASD) is now likely to become the most commonly given diagnostic term.
You might find these websites helpful:
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more noticeable when a child's circumstances change, such as when they start school.
Most cases are diagnosed when children are 6 to 12 years old.
The symptoms of ADHD usually improve with age, but many adults who were diagnosed with the condition at a young age continue to experience problems.
People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders.
Many children go through phases where they're restless or inattentive. This is often completely normal and does not necessarily mean they have ADHD.
But you should consider raising your concerns with your child's teacher, their school's special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or a GP if you think their behaviour may be different from most children their age.
It's also a good idea to speak to a GP if you're an adult and think you may have ADHD, but were not diagnosed with the condition as a child.
What causes ADHD?
The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but the condition has been shown to run in families.
Research has also identified a number of possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD when compared with those without the condition.
Other factors suggested as potentially having a role in ADHD include:
being born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
having a low birth weight
smoking or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy
ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability, although it's more common in people with learning difficulties.
How ADHD is treated
Although there's no cure for ADHD, it can be managed with appropriate educational support, advice and support for parents and affected children, alongside medication, if necessary.
Medicine is often the first treatment offered to adults with ADHD, although psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may also help.
Living with a ADHD
Looking after a child with ADHD can be challenging, but it's important to remember that they cannot help their behaviour.
Some issues that may arise in day-to-day life include:
getting your child to sleep at night
getting ready for school on time
listening to and carrying out instructions
Adults with ADHD may also find they have similar problems, and some may have issues with relationships or social interaction.
Here are some helpful websites:
What is Attachment Disorder?
Attachment disorder (AD) arises when a child under the age of three suffers an early life trauma like abuse, separation from a parent, or illness. They miss out on the love, comfort and nurturing that they need, and fail to form normal loving relationships with their primary carers. This is turn can delay their cognitive and social development, affecting their behaviours and their ability to form relationships later in life.
AD is just one strand of Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD), which covers all issues and developmental problems resulting from early life trauma, including attachment disorder.
There can be an assumption that AD is only associated with adopted children or children in care. While there is a strong correlation, many other children without this background are affected.
Children with attachment disorders are often misdiagnosed as many of the characteristics are also seen in conditions like autism, ODD and ADHD.
The long-term impact is hard to predict as children have different levels of resilience to trauma in the womb or neglect after birth. However, the overall prognosis is good; children can fully recover from AD with the correct care and attention.
Causes of Attachment Disorder
If, during the first three years of their life, any of the following occur, children are at risk of attachment disorders:
- Mother smoked, drank alcohol or took drugs during pregnancy.
- They are the result of an unwanted pregnancy.
- They suffer physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
- They have been neglected. This can be anything from not having a nappy changed when it is dirty to not being fed when hungry.
- Their primary carer suffers from depression.
- They were separated from their primary carer through the illness or death of a parent, or through being taken into care.
- They suffer from persistent and chronic pain.
- Their primary carers split up or divorce.
- Inconsistent parenting.
- They are raised in an emotionally empty or negative/abusive environment.
Signs of Attachment Disorder
Children who have experienced early trauma develop strategies or behaviours to help them to survive. These may include:
- Lack of expectation of care and comfort, known as the inhibited form of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
- Inappropriately affectionate and familiar towards strangers, known as the disinhibited form of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
- Become distressed when separated from carer but also resist contact when the carer returns. Known as anxious-ambivalent attachment.
- Poor eye contact.
- Difficulty showing affection. An aversion to touch and physical affection.
- Overly demanding or clingy.
- Lack of cause/effect thinking.
- Problems controlling and expressing anger, sometimes violent.
- A need to be in control.
- Erratic eating habits.
- Failure to show remorse or regret after behaving badly.
- Abnormally sociable or superficially charming.
- Tell lies or steal
- Ask persistent nonsense questions or incessant chatter
- Pseudo maturity
- Low self-esteem
What Is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.
It's a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing.
Unlike a learning difficulty, intelligence isn't affected.
It's estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work.
You might find these links helpful:
Click the link to see a short informative video about dyslexia
Working Memory Difficulties
What is your Working Memory?
Working memory is one of the brain's executive functions. It's the ability to hold on to new information so we can turn around and use it in some way. Working memory allows us to hold information without losing track of what we're doing. Working memory is a cognitive system with a limited capacity that can hold information temporarily. Working memory is important for reasoning and the guidance of decision-making and behaviour.
What is a Working Memory Difficulty?
Poor working memory affects approximately 15% of children. It is characterized by inattentive, distractible behaviour that is accompanied by failures to complete everyday activities that require focused or sustained attention.
Typically, children with poor working memory have normal social integration, normal levels of emotional control, and self-esteem. They may appear reserved in large group situations. Over 80% of children with low working memory struggle in reading and mathematics, and it has been suggested that they are likely to be those children who make poor academic progress.
Causes of Working Memory Difficulty
It seems likely that the inattentiveness of children with poor working memory arises because the children lose the crucial information needed to guide the ongoing activity, and so shift attention away from the task in hand.
Signs of Working Memory Difficulty
Poor working memory profile
- Normal social relationships with peers
- Reserved in group activities
- Poor academic progress in reading and maths
- Difficulties in following instructions
- Problems with learning activities that require both storage and processing
- Place-keeping difficulties
- Appears to be inattentive, to have short attention span, and to be distractible
You might find these websites useful: