The Legal and Regulatory requirements that are in place for children with disabilities.
Legal and regulatory requirements are in place to help children with disabilities or special educational needs against discrimination. The specific laws and regulations in place are; The Equality Act (2010), Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (SEND)(2014), The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC) and The united Nations Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main principle of the Equality Act (2010) is to ensure children with disabilities or special educational needs have access to public settings and services. Therefore reasonable adjustments must be made to enable this to happen such as changes in the environment.
The SEND code of practice (2014) promotes the value of an individuals needs. The main principle being the child has their needs met as well as having access to the core provision available to their peers. Children with (SEND) should be given full access to education in an appropriate delivered curriculum, to enable them to reach their full potential. The United Nations Convention on The Rights of persons with Disabilities ensures disabled people enjoy human rights as a non-disabled person would. The code of practice states that parents must be included in any decisions or support given to a child and where appropriate the child’s views should be sought. It outlines measures that can be taken to reduce barriers and promote the rights of disabled children so these children can participate equally with other children. They ensure the child’s best interests are in consideration and they are given chance to express their own views and opinions. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a generic document that gives children rights regardless of their individual needs and circumstances. It highlights the importance of the voice of the child, their individual needs, adapting the environment so they can learn, play and rest and to give them the rights to all of the 54 articles.
Why it is important to work inclusively with children with disabilities.
It is important that practitioners work inclusively with children with special educational needs or disabilities so these children are given the same amount of opportunities as children without special educational needs or disabilities. They have the right to be educated in mainstream schools with other children. It is statutory that all children’s needs are recognized and met.
All children are individuals and unique therefore they will have specific strengths and weaknesses. Practitioners have the responsibility to provide a non-discriminated environment, and to accommodate all children’s strengths and weaknesses, which will be facilitated in the curriculum and planning through differentiation.
A child with special educational needs, or a disability, needs to feel welcome in a setting and to feel at ease and not to feel different to others. It’s important to make the child feel confident. This can be achieved by promoting a child’s self esteem by including them with decisions regarding their interests and by allowing children to try new things and to encourage them to try again using lots of praise.
Practitioners are responsible to plan and set up activities based on the child’s interests and hobbies in order to make the child feel at ease and confident.
Children with individual needs may require activities or environments to be adapted to meet their needs. Therefore practitioners need to plan with consideration and knowledge of all the child’s specific needs. Activities which may be too difficult or too simple should be adapted to meet the child’s level of understanding or be age related to meet their needs. However it is still important that these children are still challenged and stretched to reach their full potential. Practitioners and senco can work together to create individual educational plans (I.E.P). Individual educational plans are not required within the SEND but practitioners must make record of the provisions put in place. It is important to have in place specific resources to meet their needs to be able to complete activities. The child should never be made to feel inadequate or unable to access activities set, as this would impact and effect their self esteem. A child with a disability should be able to have access in all areas of their setting. Adaptations should be made, for example, ramps at entrances, ground floor classroom use and furniture layout changed to give access.
The benefits of working in partnership with parents and other professionals.
Working in partnership with the parents/carers of a child with special educational needs or disabilities is very important and is good practice. Most parents/carer’s know their child best. Unless in situations where the parent has a disability themselves. The parents/carer’s also have the most understanding and experiences of the child. The parents/carers can give professionals information that is important to give the child the support they need. The parents need to feel supported and comfortable to discuss their childs needs. The parents/carer’s feelings need to be taken into account as they may find it emotional or stressfull to talk about their childs additional needs. The parents of a child with additional needs may also have some additional needs, they may find talking about their child’s needs difficult to understand and may need support with this. Therefore it is important for practitioners to be aware of this point and provide these parents with home support such as Action for Children to explain certain terminology that they will understand. The parents/carer’s views and contributions help professionals to work more effectively to meet the childs needs. Parents/carer’s need to be given as much knowledge as possible about their child’s entitlements within the SEND framework. They should be given time and support to understand and complete any documentation or procedures. This will ensure an effective two way communication process and will deliver a robust support package for the child. Everyone involved should clearly understand the aims and goals for the child. Behavior and progress needs to be reported to parents so they feel included. Parents may need support with their child’s well-being and behavior at home so settings should offer them family learning sessions that may be available. A good relationship with parents is vital so they can work closely with professionals for the best of the child and their needs. A child may be experiencing a good or challenging day and so effective communication in sharing this information will be of great benefit to the child and practitioner knowing what best support to deliver that day. The working partnership between other professionals and the school/setting and the parents/carers is important so everyone can have a good understanding of the childs needs and the best ways to give them what they need. For example speech and language therapists may set activities and work for practitioners and parents to carry out to help the child. This is the same for physio therapists, health visitor, peadiatricians and social workers. They play important roles for the child. Multi agency work is so vital. All professionals working with a child and the family must understand and be fully aware of each others roles, goals and strategies. A childs education, health, development and well-being are interlinked and impact on each other. Regular reviews amongst multi agencies must take place in a timely manner to ensure all those are made accountable for their input, to discuss any improvements or deterioration in a child’s development and to move the child on further. Children with disabilities are vulnerable and all those working with them must ensure they are kept safe from harm, neglect and abuse. Regular reviews and close working together will highlight any signs of potential concern and early strategies can be put into place to ensue the best for the child.
Describe how practitioners can adapt their existing practice to support children with disabilities.
Practitioners must be aware of their legal duties underlined in legislation, understand how their role fits into this and to carry this out on a daily basis. Practitioners must make others aware of their duties to include children with disabilities and challenge and negative remarks or practice.
Resources must be readily available to adapt activities for individual children. Children’s interests, ability and safety must be met when planning their education. A child should be willing and eager to participate in an exciting and appropriate activity to best support their learning and achievements. Resources must be easily accessable to the child to promote their independence and self esteem that they can do things for them selves and can achieve. A range of real resources should be available to choose. Practitioners must be aware if a child has difficulties in making choices and being independent. If so a visual timetable and providing two choices will be of better support. A child with sensory difficulties may find it difficult in a large classroom and may benefit from a smaller and quieter environment. Health and safety must be a priority so a child cannot injure themselves or others when moving around the classroom. Here it is important that the layout of a room, storage of resources and their location is kept the same so a child can learn where things belong. Children experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties will require a sensitive adult and an environment that allows them to express their feelings be it positive or negative and still feel valued. A child may need support during crisis and therefore an area to go that is safe from causing themselves or other harm. They may need support in choosing an activity, visual aids such as photographs at activities or holding up real objects may be useful.
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It is essential that records are kept and observations are recorded of additional support and activities that are put in place as extra help for children with disabilities. This can be in the form of an Individual Educational Plan, which details specific targets and timescales for professionals to work on with a child. Plans of how professionals are going to achieve those targets e.g. what resources will be used, what activities, who will be involved, for how long and how often and notes on how it went and observations on a child accessing and using the resources and their learning and development all should be recorded as evidence and used as support in moving the child on further. A successful record keeping system needs to be established in settings that works for them and the individual child and that parents and other professionals can add to regularly; such as half termly and can understand.
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