If you have children in school, chances are you have come across the term special educational needs, or SEN. When you hear that term, your attention may focus on the impact on the child, and our lives as parents, but do we really know?
When people think of children with special educational needs, or SEN, they often think of learning disabilities and behavioral issues. SEN children require special education and care due to mental, physical or learning difficulties.
While teaching them is more challenging than their peers, SEN has many benefits for the teachers and students. The key to successfully integrating this education into your lesson plan lies in understanding its benefits and how to use it to help everyone in the classroom.
What is SEN in education?
SEN in education is a form of support for children with special needs. These include physical disabilities, such as blindness or deafness, developmental disabilities such as autism, and mental health issues like ADHD and anxiety.
Some schools have specialized programs to help students with these difficulties. For example, the school can provide extra time for tests, reduced homework assignments, or lessons tailored to individual needs. Some students may need more one-on-one help from teachers who understand their condition best. A tutor can also be helpful for these students, to provide individual attention outside of school hours.
You can gain the skills to provide this support by pursuing an MA education program at the University of Exeter. This program will help you acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work in this competitive field. During the program, you will learn teaching strategies and develop your professional skills and identity.
The importance of SEN in education
Awareness of special needs in education is growing. More and more parents are becoming aware of their children’s SEN and seeking help to address it. Here are some benefits of SEN in education and why it is necessary:
SEN can help children learn better
When a child has a disability, they often need assistance to help them learn. Some disabilities include ADHD, dyslexia and autism. SEN can help these children learn better and succeed in school more easily. It includes interventions like specialized teaching or specific services.
The right intervention for a particular student depends on their learning needs, age and grade level. There are lots of great programs that use different types of approaches, including:
- Applied behavior analysis (ABA)
- Special education
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy (OT)
- Vision therapy
- Physical therapy (PT)
With proper utilization of the resources and an understanding of what works best for each individual, children with disabilities can achieve success in both educational attainment and personal fulfillment.
SEN can make children more independent
We all want to see our children thrive and be able to grow and develop on their own. But what happens when they need some extra help? With SEN, this is possible.
Specialists can teach them the skills they need for daily living, like hygiene, dressing, and cooking, as well as other skills necessary for independence. Starting early, and giving them the opportunity for independent behavior by using furniture like Montessori Shelving, gives them the possibility to self-regulate. They will also teach them the life skills they need to live independently once they leave home.
For example, parents may have to make sure that their child knows the location of the important documents that they need daily. Learning such things will go a long way in ensuring that your child has an easier time living outside of your care.
It can boost the social skills of children
Children with special needs are often initially separated from the rest of their class to ensure they get the attention they need to keep up with the curriculum. However, this means that sometimes these children do not have the opportunity to socialize and make friends outside of school, which can hurt them later in life. They may find themselves left out, misunderstood, or unable to cope with being around others, and develop social anxiety or depression.
Including children with special needs in mainstream classes allows them to learn alongside other children and foster relationships that may not otherwise happen. It is also crucial for those students who might be struggling socially to be included so they can still experience the camaraderie and interactions in a classroom environment.
SEN can improve communication
Children with special needs can get a lot out of having their needs met. One way is through improved communication. When children are not getting what they need, they may act out and refuse to communicate, and this can lead to problems down the road. With the right help and support, children learn to express themselves better and are not afraid to speak up when something bothers them.
For example, if there is an issue with bullying or depression, a child might stay quiet if they do not feel like they have anyone to talk to about it. Once the issue is addressed and resolved, these children are more likely to open up about other things going on in their lives so that it does not build up again and become worse than before.
SEN can help reduce stress and anxiety in children
When children are diagnosed with a disability, it can be stressful for them and their parents. However, SEN can help reduce stress and anxiety in children because they have an outlet to express themselves without being judged or teased by others.
They also know exactly what they want and how to get it, which means less worrying by parents on behalf of their child. Students can work at a pace where they feel comfortable, rather than having someone else make them move faster than is comfortable for them.
Tutors and institutions must meet the needs of these students with special education programs and support. As we have seen here, there are many benefits of including children with SEN in classrooms — it benefits the children and those around them.
Special education programs are necessary for kids who need extra attention and many learning tools for success in school. It will help the child academically and allow them to feel confident enough to share ideas with others, which is an important life skill.