Thursday, 7 October 2010

Naughty children or SEN

When carrying out study for my degree I gained a particular interest in special educational needs (SEN). After three years and two fantastic lecturers I can honestly say my perspective on 'naughty children' has changed.  Naughty child has never been a phrase I am particularly fond of and I tolerate the term even less now.  I feel that if a child is not behaving then we should look at why instead of giving them a label that is unfortunately carried through their whole education process and often becomes a self fore filling prophecy.  I give you an example:
I have a lovely friend who's son 'suffers' with Aspergers Syndrome.  I say "suffers with" loosely as I feel its not the AS that causes the suffering but sadly those around him.  AS is a condition, more common in boys (a ratio of 4:1) that comes in varying degrees, with various combinations of difficulties but its main effect is on interaction and communication with others.  My friends son is a recent diagnosis despite the fact that she has always felt his development differed to that of other boys when she finally got him a diagnoses the battle begun to have him excepted by others.  Unfortunately he is one boy that others look at and think naughty, I have been to his defence many a time with other adults who simply do not understand his condition- If I hear one more person say "he's got to learn to conform" I may well scream.  Why does it have to conform? To make it easier for you?  What about making it easier for him?  Anyway, this is outside the classroom where knowledge is limited on all areas of education at least he surely must be getting help inside the classroom.  Well....it seems NOT! His mum is fighting daily to get him extra support whilst teachers, who often have no training or experience in these areas, fail to understand him which is in effect causing them to fail in educating him. 
I wonder when the status of cognitive disabilities will ever reach that of physical disabilities.  Don't get me wrong all areas of disability are greatly misunderstood but if its physical at least most people will try to adapt and accommodate (not always in the best way) but for many with cognitive disabilities I suspect the attempt is not made.

I hope when I finally get into the teaching profession (Tories permitting) I am understanding and accommodating.  I hope I have the thought and inclination to research conditions effecting children in my care...on top of this I hope I use my time and energy to understand the children in my care as individuals.

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