How up to date are you with special educational needs?

If you are a teacher, a SENCO, a parent or another type of supporter of a child with special educational needs, then this article is for you.

In this article, you will be challenged to consider how you go about keeping yourself up to date on the latest knowledge regarding Special Educational Needs.

First and foremost, I am a parent of two daughters with special educational needs, one dyslexic, one with ADHD. We have generally experienced good support for our daughters but the ball has been dropped along the way through ignorance mainly.

In the case of our youngest daughter, an education psychologist assessed her and diagnosed dyslexia. Then the Ed Psych went onto making recommendations for support in school. Unfortunately, the SENCO at the school, made some recommendations that, were not based on the report and as a result the recommendations didn't work. With further discussion with my wife and I, we were able to get the SENCO to set up the original recommendations. The SENCO was doing her best, but she was not up to date on Dyslexia and this had a confusing effect on my child.

In the case of my other daughter, she went through the whole of sixth form wondering why she was not able to get as good marks as she did in her GCSE's. Something was not quite right as her effort in, didn't correlate with the results that she achieved. It just didn't make sense. My daughter went to one of the top sixth form colleges in Cambridge and the atmosphere there was all about pushing for results rather than stopping and finding out why some of the students were struggling. For me, it is clear that the staff in this college, simply did not know enough about SEN in order to pick up on what may have been going on for my daughter.

I am passionate about inspiring and informing supporters of dyslexic learners and this is because of the countless stories that I have heard about how kids with learning differences who are so often misunderstood in an educational setting and how this leads to terrible academic outcomes.
By not understanding and thereby making assumptions about students behaviour we run the risk of not meeting the needs and thus causing long term detrimental problems in the life of that student.

So it is really important that we take advantage of meetings that are taking place across the country that focus on specific learning differences so that we can keep ourselves informed but more importantly that gained knowledge might make us stop and listen to a child rather than make the wrong decisions about about how we relate to them or what educational intervention is required.

I would like to recommend two events that are taking place next month that would be useful for parents and teachers alike.

The first is the British Dyslexia Association's International Conference.  This conference is taking
Click here to find out more.

place in Telford, UK and brings together the latest research on dyslexia.  There are some great speakers at this event and I know that I am certainly looking forward to attending.  For more information just click here.

Secondly, if you are looking to find out more about dyslexia and other conditions that come under the banner of Special Educational Needs, then I am co-organising the SEN Jigsaw Conference that is taking place in Stoke-on-Trent on April 21st.

Click here to find out more.
Click here to find out more.
What I am particularly looking forward to are the talks from our plenary speakers who will be exploring SEN and classroom behaviour and how SEN affects communication.  So often it is poor behaviour and communication that triggers emotional reactions in us as we work with children. So easily we can forget what could be happening behind those behavioural displays for the child involved.  Psychologist Sally Goddard-Blythe will be sharing her research on classroom management and Libby Hill, speech and language therapist, will be sharing her experiences about communication and SEN.
Added to this is a selection of SEN focused workshops that cover topics such as literacy, dyslexia, mental health and how to get finding for an EHCP.  We will also have an exhibition of services and products that are currently used to support the education of young people with SEN.

The Studying With Dyslexia Blog lists events that are taking place around the country and if you do know of an event please do get in touch and let me know.  To see our events listings please click here.

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