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Case studies

Additional Support for Learning - Case Studies

These case studies below relate to real children and their experiences. However, their names have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Case study 1

A Gypsy/Traveller family's additional support needs

A Gypsy/Traveller family recently arrived in a new area. The family's three children have additional support needs which stem largely from interruptions to the children's learning but also from the parents' concerns about sending their children to school, arising from their own bad experiences at school.

The family's high level of mobility, which contributed to gaps in their children's learning, was first addressed by the area's designated support for learning teacher who began by building a trusted relationship with the family at home. This helped improve communications between the family and school staff and helped to build mutual confidence.

The school's confidence in welcoming the children was supported by their increased understanding of Gypsy/Traveller cultures. The designated teacher supported conversations about each other's different cultures and adapted the school's traditional timetable to fit with the family's timetable.

The teacher also carried out an initial rapid assessment of each child's learning needs so that the school could quickly place each child in appropriate learning groups, and worked to address gaps in their learning through sensitive classroom-based support.

Case study 2

Pupil who is registered as blind

'James' is a secondary school pupil who is registered blind due to a specific visual impairment. This has a significant impact on his schoolwork, the greatest challenges being - accessing materials, working independently and coping with a slower rate of working.

He accesses the curriculum by using a variety of large print, audio materials and technology. The school receives advice and support from Visiting Teaching and Support Services and the pupil is supported by the Support for Learning department within the school.

James enjoys school, is enthusiastic and is making good progress.

Case study 3

Profoundly deaf child of deaf parents

'Jane' has received regular specialist support since diagnosis and has attended the local child and family centre, nursery school and primary school.

She has a cochlear implant and her parents have always sought mainstream schooling, where her environment has been suitably adapted acoustically to meet her needs. Meanwhile, regular deaf awareness training has been made available to all staff.

Jane uses BSL as a primary mode of communication and visiting support staff have a high level of sign skills to enable her to gain the most from her learning experience.

She is also a part of her own community, has her own group of friends and is relatively successful at school.

There have been significant issues over the years that have been addressed through a solution focussed, partnership approach, enabling Jane to make best use of the resources available. All agencies have worked together to try to ensure a positive outcome for Jane. The next challenge will be her transfer to secondary school.

Case study 4

Accessing Curriculum for Excellence through Assistive Technology

'Malcolm' is a boy with Cerebral Palsy who attends a mainstream primary school. He is a particularly able pupil academically. The challenge for him, his parents, and those involved in his education, is to find ways to help him overcome the barriers to learning which arise from his physical disability.

Malcolm cannot hold books and has difficulty using a pen or pencil so he needs to use a computer to access learning materials and for writing. The local authority referred him to CALL Scotland, a national centre working with Assistive Technology for pupils with disabilities, part-funded by the Scottish Government.

With help and the loan of equipment from CALL, he now has independent access to a laptop computer, can read electronic books on the laptop and can use an 'on-screen keyboard' for writing. Recently he has started using some new digital interactive maths workbooks which were developed and provided through the 'Books for All' project. These have enabled him to complete the digital worksheets himself rather than trying to dictate his answers for a helper to write down.

Malcolm uses his speech to communicate with familiar people, but finds it harder to make himself understood with people who do not know him. He has been evaluating a sophisticated voice output communication aid, on loan from CALL, for some months. This has worked well and the local authority is intending to purchase one for him.

Malcolm drives an electric wheelchair supplied by the NHS and has equipment, support and therapy from Speech and Language, Occupational and Physiotherapists.

Through co-ordinated working, and the use of appropriate Assistive Technology, Malcolm is able to access Curriculum for Excellence and on the way to becoming successful learner, a confident individual, a responsible citizen and an effective contributor.

Further information on CALL Scotland.
Further information on Books for All