8 Children and Additional Support Needs
Every child and young person is entitled to support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities which Curriculum for Excellence can provide.
Universal support starts with the ethos, climate and relationships within every learning environment. An environment which is caring, inclusive, fair and focused on delivering learning to meet individual needs will encourage all children and young people to meet their learning potential.
All children and young people should have frequent and regular opportunities to discuss their learning and development with an adult who knows them well and with whom they have a mutually trusting relationship. This key member of staff has the holistic overview of the child or young person's learning and personal development.
Additional Support Needs
The Education (Additional support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 places duties on local authorities and other agencies to provide additional support where needed to enable any child or young person to benefit from education.
Children with additional support needs should normally attend a local mainstream school. In order to facilitate this, it is recognised that this may involve provision not only for the child's educational needs but also for their health needs. Circumstances in which a child would need to be provided with an education outwith mainstream should arise only 'exceptionally'.
Additional support may be required for a range of learning needs:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD)
ADHD is considered to be a developmental disorder. It affects about 5% of school-aged children, with symptoms starting before age 7.
Symptoms are characterised by attention difficulties, impulsiveness and, in the case of ADHD, hyperactivity. Boys are more likely to be affected than girls.
Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD)
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or an ASD.
The word "spectrum" is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively 'everyday' lives; others will require a lifetime of specialist support.
The three main areas of difficulty which all people share are sometimes known as the 'triad of impairments'. They are:
- Difficulty with social communication.
- Difficulty with social interaction.
- Difficulty with social imagination.
The National Autistic Society
Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities.
Learners with dyslexia will benefit from early identification, appropriate intervention and targeted effective teaching.
Difficulties experienced by individuals often do not reflect their ability to understand and may not be typical of performance in other areas.
The term dyspraxia covers a range of difficulties in co-ordination which may extend also to speech - typically the 'clumsy child'. This can have impacts on the ability to write legibly (and hence progress at school) and on social inclusion for games etc. Diagnosis may be relatively straightforward, and the condition may be improved by a series of prescribed exercises.
Deaf and hearing impaired
Recent legislation has led to developments in the provision of education for deaf pupils. It places duties upon local authorities to ensure that education is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of children to their fullest potential, and also to raise educational standards.
Deaf pupils are entitled to have their needs identified and met, and to have arrangements for support reviewed regularly. Some deaf pupils may not require high levels of support but still require to have their progress monitored. For others, careful planning and support will be needed to enable them to achieve the desired outcomes.
English as an Additional Language ( EAL)
Bilingual learners are those who function in more than one language in daily life. The term 'bilingual' emphasises that learners already have one language and that English is a second or additional language.
It is necessary to provide support beyond the learner's acquisition of social fluency to ensure meaningful access to the whole curriculum, to enable learning, achievement and social and personal development.
Many learners need additional support to make the most of their education taking account of their individual circumstances and abilities. This includes learners who show particularly high abilities in one or more areas.
Challenge and enjoyment, personalisation and depth are important principles for all learners. Enhanced and augmented provision may be necessary to ensure highly able learners make the most of their education.
Looked after children
Children and young people may be looked after for short or long periods; some return home, some are adopted, and some remain looked after for many years until they reach adulthood
The 2007 Scottish Government report " Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better " (reinforced by the Looked after Children Regulations, 2009) identified the poor educational outcomes for looked after children and highlighted 8 notable messages:
- The importance of the corporate parent role.
- The need to raise awareness of the educational needs of looked after children and young people and improve training for all foster carers, residential workers, lead professionals, support workers and associated professionals.
- The need for clarity regarding the role and responsibilities of the designated person within schools and residential establishments.
- The importance of providing flexible and appropriate support before, during and post transitions.
- The importance of physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing in facilitating positive educational outcomes.
- The need for good quality accommodation, which supports the education, training or employment of looked after children and young people.
- The importance of clear advice and a range of emotional, practical and financial support for looked after young people as they make the transition to adulthood/ independent living.
- The vital importance of stability and continuity within education and care settings.
Pupils with visual impairment can face a considerable challenge. Adjustments are required in teaching a pupil with visual impairment to ensure a curriculum which is delivered in both non-visual and visual ways.
Recent legislation has led to developments in the provision of education for visually impaired pupils. It places duties upon local authorities to ensure that education is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of children to their fullest potential, and also to raise educational standards.
Visually impaired pupils are entitled to have their needs identified and met, and to have arrangements for support reviewed regularly.
The development of children with visual impairment before they reach school may have been limited; therefore teachers need to create an environment in which physical, intellectual and social capacities may be extended.
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