Books on Behaviour in our library

library-booksThis month we bring you a list of the books in our library covering behaviour.

For kids:

  • C0151 – Dont Behave Like You Live in a Cave

Advice for parents:

  • L6377 – Power Parenting for Children with ADD/ADHD: a practical guide for managing difficult behaviours
  • L6350 and L6286 – The Explosive Child: a new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated chronically inflexible children
  • L6420 and L6450 – Calm Your Hyperactive Child: coping with ADHD and other behavioural problems
  • L6416 and L6530 – Help Your Child or Teen Get Back on Track: what parents and professionals can do for childhood emotional and behaviour problems
  • L6364 and L6296 – No Fighting No Biting No Screaming: how to make behaving positively possible for people with autism and other developmental disabilities
  • L6031 – Achieving Best Behaviour for Children with Developmental Disabilities
  • L1611 – Bringing Up a Challenging Child at Home
  • L6460 – Children with Social Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties and Communication Problems: there is always a reason
  • L6180 – Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour for Children on the Autism Spectrum
  • L1610 – Communication-Based Intervention for Problem Behaviour
  • L1664 – The Good The Bad and The Irritating: a practical approach for parents of children who are attention seeking

Especially in class:

  • L6551 – Including Children With Attention and Behaviour Difficulties in the Foundation Stage
  • L1532 and L1608 – A Practical Guide to Solving Pre-school Behaviour Problems
  • L6188 – Getting the Buggars to Behave: advice on behaviour management in the classroom

Anger for children:

  • C0157 – A Volcano in my Tummy: helping children to handle anger
  • C0131 – Exploring Anger with Your Child
  • C0176 – The Red Beast: controlling anger in children with Aspergers Syndrome

Anger for parents:

  • L6421 – Exploring Anger: cognitive behaviour therapy to manage anger
  • L6526 – The Anger Box: sensory turmoil and pain in autism
  • L6437 – Anger Management: session plans using strength based solutions

Anxiety:

  • C0212 – The Panicosaurus: managing anxiety in children including those with Asperger Syndrome
  • L6241 – Helping Your Anxious Child
  • L6422 – Exploring Feelings: cognitive behaviour to manage anxiety

Pairing yourself with a child with a neurological condition

pairing-bellaSleep Practitioner Bethan Roberts gives advice on pairing yourself with a child to help deal with problem behaviour.

Pairing is the process of creating an enjoyable and reinforcing relationship between the child/young person and a given situation/person. Pairing is a very important place to start when trying to create behavioural change, by pairing yourself (as a parent/carer/professional etc) with positive reinforcement, so that you become the reinforcer rather than just the giver of reinforcement, can help achieve behavioural change and enable children feel safer in unknown/unpreferred situations.

Social situations

Every child and young person has the right to be a valued part of their society. The level of involvement is very individual however.  Many adults that children and young people come into contact with have an expectation that children will seek social reinforcement naturally. However many do not and therefore need to learn and experience that these situations can be reinforcing. If we think about school as an example, is there a lesson or activity they’re struggling with? Try to establish what the specific problem is, for example is the sheer length of the assembly and expectation for ‘appropriate behaviour’ too much to be achieved right now? Is there a compromise to be made? Could the time spent in assembly be limited to 5 minutes and increased as tolerance is developed. This would ensure that the young person has access to high value reinforcement in exchange for the desired behaviour for example a magazine in exchange for remaining in assembly and not screaming.

pairing-poppyDay to day activities

Doctor appointments, supermarket shopping, day trips, play dates, going to the bank, dentist – the list is endless and somewhat overlooked sometimes by those who’ve never experienced a meltdown due to unforeseen cues at supermarket checkouts, or the smell of the dentists surgery. But when is this activity necessary? It’s quite common for children and young people to dislike attending appointments with the above professionals, but unfortunately somewhat necessary, and therefore something that could benefit from being worked on. Practice when success is not vital. Would your doctor/dentist be willing to see your child weekly (short term) for 5 mins to work on pairing with reinforcement? Could you call into the supermarket when you don’t need to buy anything, spend two minutes walking up an aisle and then out?

Deciding where to start when tackling these issues can be tricky. There are things that we could begin to deal with today and some that are best left to a later date. Below are a few points to consider:

  • What kind of benefit will they/the family get from this i.e. going on holiday vs supermarket shopping?
  • Is it essential that they are able do this right now i.e. attend a doctor appointment vs attending the school disco?
  • Be mindful of any additional demands that may be inadvertently placed on the child i.e. being quiet, sitting still
  • Try and have a bag of tricks with you. If they are sensitive to noise, could headphones or ear defenders be useful. Keep some high level reinforcement handy that you will only produce when demand levels are very high, these can be produced in exchange for desirable behaviour (perhaps teamed with verbal praise to reinforce what they’re doing)
  • Understanding why the undesirable behaviours happen can help to change them

Work with other agencies such as school, doctors surgery, youth groups, supermarket staff, etc to ensure success there too. It has been my experience that often (not always) people that you come into contact during these times can be important in achieving success. Very often, by sharing with them a little information about your child and what you’re are trying to achieve can help foster an environment of understanding and positivity. Don’t forget, safety is always the most important thing to consider. Never be afraid of admitting things aren’t going to plan. You can always abandon the plan and start again another day!

Minimising the effects of additional learning needs: Part 2

education4The second in a four part series discussing parents’ common worries about education with special or additional needs.

Much is written about systems for identifying and meeting the educational needs of children with the most severe disabilities and learning difficulties, particularly at the moment information about the new system in England.  However, many more children have additional / special educational needs without being at the greatest / most complex level calling for a Statement, Education Health and Care Plan (new, in England) or Co-ordinated Support plan (in Scotland).  This is the second in a series of four articles about the support for this larger group of children. Each article deals with a common worry parents have about their child’s education when they have special or additional needs.

Q.  What can I do if I am told that my child does not have a diagnosed condition, or that the condition is not recognised, therefore (s)he does not have additional needs – (s)he’s just naughty / lazy?

A.  As in the article about meeting children’s needs in school, this touches on the question of “significance”, while also relating to education law.  To take the England guidance as an example – please consult the code for your area of the UK – “A child or young person has a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.”  (Dept for Education England 2014 Social Care, and others).

“Children have a learning difficulty if they:
a) have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or
(b) have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority)”.

Disability is defined in two ways:

“A child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed.” (Children Act 1989); or “A person has a disability for the purposes of this Act if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to day activities.”  (Disability Discrimination Act 1995, later Equality Act 2010).

Therefore, if a child needs educational support in relation to any of these definitions, (s)he has a special educational need, regardless of what might be causing it (except that difficulties with learning relating to speaking a different language are dealt with separately).  This need might be short-term, long-term or sporadic.

Other legislation also affects these definitions.  For example the code in Scotland, reflecting the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act 1989, states for most children:  “A child or young person has additional support needs for the purposes of this Act where, for whatever reason, the child or young person is, or is likely to be, unable without the provision of additional support to benefit from school education provided or to be provided for the child or young person.”  Definitions in Northern Ireland are affected by the Disabled Persons (NI) Act 1989.  In terms of wider learning support, section 1.8 of the code for Northern Ireland describes the five-stage approach to identification which is expected to be used.  The practical actions to be taken under this approach, by teachers and SENCOs, start at section 2.45 of the Code, for example finding different learning strategies for the child, as elsewhere.

References

Code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs, and supplement (1998-2005), (Dept of Education, Northern Ireland).

Dept for Education (2014 England, Social Care), Social care: guide to the 0 to 25 SEND code of practice: Advice for social care practitioners and commissioners.

SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years (2014), (Dept for Education and Dept of Health, England).

Special educational needs code of practice for Wales (2004), (Welsh Assembly Government).

Supporting children’s learning (2010, revised edition), Scottish Government.

Singing to your baby

baby-listening
We take a look at lullabies and singing to infants. Is it an old-fashioned idea worth keeping?

Singing to babies and infants is something that comes naturally to many parents, grandparents and carers, and has carried on through many generations and cultures. Other parents might also want to adopt it as a deliberate routine for an infant who is different in their capacity to enjoy things or respond. A good start – babies can already hear their mother’s voice before they are born (Brezinka C., 1997).

Why not just talk?

Singing bestows added effects, such as:

  • Association and memory, for example a reinforcing effect from hearing familiar tunes, or learning to associate a lullaby with bed-time.
  • Another way of communicating with an infant, and a comforting way of hearing a parent’s or carer’s voice.
  • Engaging patterns of brain processing that are slightly different from processing speech (Ozdemir E., 2006).
  • Something that could extend into a form of communicative play, and into the infant actively making music. This could turn out to be a way they like to express themselves, add to other activities, and share with other children.
  • Entertainment that can stimulate or relax, as a background to other activities.

Why not just play a recording?

Again, singing as well adds elements, such as:

  • Obviously, the communication and relationship occurring between you.
  • Availability and ease of use of shorter, simpler and perhaps gentler bits of music.
  • Possibly, a quick way of lightening things up or providing a distraction.

Having said this, recordings and instrumental music have their uses as well, including for deaf infants who can pick up the rhythms / vibrations of the music. They may also sense you singing if you hold them close to you.

But I can’t sing!

mum-and-babyProbably you can, but some people have difficulty with singing the right note. Try pitching your voice by starting where you are, so if you want to sing a note but the pitch of your voice is not what you want, slide the note up or down to where you want it. With repetition, this should enable you to find the desired pitch more easily. There is a step-by-step ear-and pitch-training video at: http://your-personal-singing-guide.com/ear-training.html (Aaron Matthew Lim). Go on into a tune. If this is difficult, try songs that have the notes close together to start with, such as “Row, row, row your boat” or “Frère Jacques”.

Their singing voice is something that many people are rather sensitive about, so if a baby or infant does not seem to have a positive reaction, or any reaction at all, a parent may be easily put off. However the reason is more likely to be something different. For example, below a developmental age of about one year, it may not yet be possible to copy sounds, show a physical response to music, or use music as a “language” (cf. Center for Parent Information and Resources, Developmental Milestones, US Dept. of Education, 2010/2014). A lack of response may not be the same thing as a lack of impact. As time goes on you may see what calms or stimulates them (cf. UK National Children’s Bureau, Early Support, Information about behaviour).

Resources

For songs to sing, searching on “lullabies”, “nursery rhymes” or “nursery songs” will locate plenty of material, such ashttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtYnT0786SQ, or http://www.babycentre.co.uk/lullaby-lyrics.

The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning publishes suggestions for activities, including musical ones, to go with children’s books and other resources. The ideas could be used on their own or with different books (Vanderbilt University).

Technical informationlullabies

What are discussed in this article are really softer issues like enjoyment between parents / carers and infants. It has to be said that a number of research studies looking for specific technical benefits of music with infants have not found anything. Among those that have done so, though is Arnon S. et al. 2014, Maternal singing during kangaroo care etc.,  (Acta Pediatrica, doi:10.1111/apa.12744).

“Voices” is a journal containing other research articles about singing for and with children, from different parts of the world.

“Imagine” is an annual online magazine about early childhood music therapy. Therapists attempt to support motor development, breathing and skills such as communication for children with special needs.

Why Music Education? is an evidence-based discussion of ways in which music can contribute to children’s education and development, by the (US) National Association for Music Education (2007).

Further references:Brezinka C. et al. 1997, The foetus and noise. Gynakol Geburtschilfliche Rundsch 1997;37(3):119-29 [translated abstract, PMID 9483870].

Ozdemir E. et al. 2006, Shared and distinct neural correlates of singing and speaking. NeuroImage 33 (2006) 628–635.

PenCRU Family Fun Day

The Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit for Childhood Disability Research hold family fun day at Pennywell Farm in Devon.

The Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit for Childhood Disability Research (PenCRU) recently held their annual family fun day at Pennywell Farm in Devon.

The event was organised in order to thank the unit’s Family Faculty which is made up of all the families who have been involved in the research that the unit carries out. The day was a huge success and PenCRU wanted to thank everyone who took part, especially the unit’s very own Chris Morris.

Chris “volunteered” to take part in a cream pie challenge which saw many of the children who were in attendance queue up to make sure he was well and truly covered in pie! The staff at PenCRU even made sure there was video evidence of the challenge which can be seen below. It was all for a good cause however with Chris choosing to donate sponsorship raised through the challenge to Cerebra and our work.

The PenCRU unit aims to carry out research that is relevant to families with disabled children and is there to respond to questions from families about therapies and health services for all children and young people affected by disability.

Accessing Services: The View From a Parent

Alison Thompson

Alison Thompson

Alison Thompson is an author, speaker and mum to Daniel, who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six. This is her heartfelt account of the troubles she has faced when trying to access services for Daniel.
My son Daniel was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when he was six, but I’d known there was something wrong long before that. He was a fretful and anxious baby who rarely slept, and as a toddler he was constantly on the go. We went to a local parent and toddler group and he was the child you’ve all seen, running round the room knocking over the other children’s Lego towers, climbing the shelves to get what he wanted from the top, throwing paint on the floor causing chaos. At story time I had to wrestle him to the floor to get him to sit still, and even then he’d be calling things out and distracting the rest of the group.

Daniel was a caring, funny, quirky little boy, with a charming smile and a wicked sense of humour – though he had some strange obsessions. He had a purple teddy bear called Strum who went everywhere with him, and Daniel could not get to sleep if Strum wasn’t there. One day we left Strum behind at a motorway service station and I did a sixty mile round trip to retrieve him, because I knew what a nightmare bedtime would be without him! For a while Daniel was also obsessed with Only Fools and Horses. He could recite some of the episodes word for word – which was fine until the day he told a friend to “Shut up, you tart!” I was mortified.

Daniel Thompson

Daniel Thompson

But there was a darker side to Daniel too. He couldn’t concentrate on anything for very long and he seemed to drift off into his own little world at times. At meal times I’d have to remind him he was meant to be eating as his fork would stop halfway between the plate and his mouth, and in the mornings I’d leave him to get dressed and come back to find him in his room, one leg in and one leg out of his trousers because some toy or game had caught his attention. But the worst thing was the tantrums. Like Jekyll and Hyde, the smallest thing would set him off and he would turn into a mini Incredible Hulk, lashing out at anyone or anything that got in his way. He’d have several meltdowns a day and they could last for hours. Our home was full of holes in the walls and my daughter and I were constantly covered in bruises.

Daniel started at nursery but he didn’t seem to fit in with the other children, somehow he wasn’t in sync with them, and his domineering personality caused problems. At the end of the year, the teacher recommended I see my doctor because she felt there was more going on than normal toddler tantrums, and I agreed. The GP referred us to a paediatrician who said Daniel was “borderline ADHD” – which meant nothing, really.

Continue reading

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Fashion Show

IMGP6723 mainEdinburgh Woollen Mill host a fashion show for the charity – with Cerebra staff as the models!

The people of Carmarthen were treated to a fashion show by the town’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill store on 7th October.

The evening was coordinated by the store’s manager Tracey Moore and Cerebra Community Fundraising Officer Allyson Silverthorne and treated eager observers to a preview of EWM’s autumn collection of clothing.

Several members of Cerebra staff took part in the event, strutting their stuff on the catwalk along with staff from EWM. Each budding model had three outfits to show off ranging from smart to casual and Allyson even got to wear clothes from the new Christmas range.

As well as having entertainment for the evening, guests were also treated to cakes and a raffle, prizes for which were generously donated.

Allyson said: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended on the day and to everyone who helped to organise the event. We raised £88 for Cerebra and also helped to raise awareness of our charity. A big thank you to Father Pious who allowed us to use St Mary’s Church Hall.”

Nursery Children Become Super Fundraisers

elliott bennett chequeChildren and staff at nursery in Dorset dress up to raise money for Cerebra.

We would like to say a big thank you to staff, parents and children at Scallywags Nursery in Dorset for raising a fantastic £270 for Cerebra.

The children at the nursery had a great time dressing as superheroes and princesses to raise the funds for us.

The cheque was collected by Cerebra Ambassador Chris Bennett whose son Elliott attends the nursery.

Chris is extremely proud of Elliott, who has cerebral palsy.

He said: “We don’t know how much cerebral palsy will affect Elliott’s life, I found it very hard to come to terms with Elliott’s diagnosis but he is working so hard and making his own special journey in life.”

Child of Courage

Josh113 year old Joshua Nurse has been nominated for a Child of Courage award.

We are thrilled that Josh has been nominated for the Child of Courage Award as part of the Carmarthen Journal’s annual Community Hero Awards. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 26th September 2014.

Josh was born with a condition called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, a rare condition.  It means that Josh is missing all the connective tissue that links the right and left hemispheres of his brain, which has resulted in Josh having severe learning disabilities.  He has poor concentration and can be easily distracted, has problems with balance that can often make him sick and, as he’s gotten older, has developed more severe autistic tendencies.

It took a long time before it was recognised that Josh had a problem, but when Josh was finally diagnosed his parents didn’t know where to turn – “Eventually the doctor said ‘your child will be severely disabled.  We came out of the hospital in one hell of a state. But we learned very quickly that we had to cope somehow.”

Josh’s family got in touch with Cerebra and we’ve been there for the Nurse family throughout Josh’s life with advice, support and information. Our grants scheme helped to pay for special sensory toys for Josh to aid and improve his development as well as a touch screen computer; the family have also stayed at our holiday home, Vallecchia, in Pembrokeshire.

Josh has also been a great help to the charity when we’ve needed him – he has drawn the winning tickets in our summer and winter raffles, presented cheques to our lottery winners and posed for photos for charity publicity. Some of you may recognise Josh who helped us celebrate our 10th birthday a few years ago. He is such a pleasure to be with and he has touched the hearts of everyone who has met him.

Josh’s mum Julie and dad Darriel, as well as the rest of the family, have worked hard to give Josh a full and rewarding life and Josh is a credit to them. Josh needs to be kept active and to have a routine that he is familiar with and has a team of people who help do just that – through school, support groups and respite care.

Although he’s limited with what exercise he can do, he enjoys being in the water and is a keen member of the Salmon Club. Josh loves music – especially dance music – and sings and dances to Calvin Harris in his room. He also gets the chance to dance at a Zumba class through school.

Josh has a great fascination with technology and likes nothing better than spending time looking at equipment in Curry’s/PC World. The staff in the Carmarthen branch have got to know Josh and earlier this year took the casing off a washing machine and covered the workings with Perspex so that Josh could spend a happy few hours working out where all the wires and pipes went!

Life has been even more tough for Josh in recent times as his mum and dad have both battled with ill health. Darriel has endured 5 spinal operation, which have all failed, leaving him in continuous pain and his mum Julie has been receiving treatment for a brain tumour. On top of this Josh is making the difficult transition to teenage years and secondary school, where he has settled in well.

All of these circumstances and uncertainties would be difficult for any child but for Josh, who relies on routine and stability, it has been extra hard. He is a sensitive, loving boy who is coping really well and is determined to enjoy his life despite his difficulties.

The whole family are a pleasure to know and everyone at Cerebra is is so proud of Josh who shows such great courage in overcoming the problems that he faces. We are keeping our fingers crossed for Josh at  the ceremony on Friday – we’ll let you know how he gets on.

Minimising the effects of additional learning needs: Part 1

education1
The first in a four part series discussing parents’ common worries about education with special or additional needs.

Much is written about systems for identifying and meeting the educational needs of children with the most severe disabilities and learning difficulties, particularly at the moment with the new system in England.

However, many more children have additional / special educational needs without being at the greatest / most complex level calling for a Statement, Education Health and Care Plan (new, in England) or Co-ordinated Support plan (in Scotland).  This is the first in a series of articles about the support for this larger group of children. Each article will deal with a common worry parents have about their child’s education when they have special or additional needs.

Q.  “If they are not at the greatest level, will my child’s additional needs be met at school”

A.  It is true that in many ways, schools deal with special / additional needs informally.  However the legislation, guidance and codes of practice cover all children with additional learning needs and not only those needing the most concentrated levels of support.  Educational codes of practice are devolved, so that each area of the UK now follows a different code, but the principles followed in each one are similar.

England now has the SEND code of practice 2014, under which children not needing the most concentrated level are given “Settings-based SEN Support”. Under SEND, compared with the previous code in England, there is more of a continuum with the approach that is expected for all children, to identify and deal with anything that is reducing their potential benefit from education.  SEN Support also now applies to young people aged 16-25 and can begin, theoretically, at age 0.  The statutory guidance states the following, and this includes children who are currently on “Action” or “Action Plus” levels of support:  “The legal definition of SEN has not changed so that no child or young person should lose their support simply because the system is changing.  Special educational provision should continue for children and young people who need it because they need educational provision that is additional to or different from, that made generally for others of the same age in mainstream settings. It may change only if:

  • a child or young person’s learning needs have changed, or
  • the educational setting has changed its universal offer” (Dept for Education, 2014).

Parents of children needing Settings-based SEN Support should be involved in “regular review and discussion” of their child’s progress.  The class teacher is a key person in identifying and supporting children at this level, and the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) remains another point of contact for parents.  Whereas, for some children, the changeover from Statements (under the previous code) to EHC Plans (under this code) may take until 2018, the changeover from Action and Action Plus to SEN Support is expected to be achieved by September 2015.  Sections 8.5 onwards of the statutory guidelines (Dept for Education, 2014) describe how a similar system now has to be introduced into post-16 institutions as well.  The complete timetable is in Annex A of the guidelines.

education2The approach to learning needs at every level is described in the new code as a graduated and continuous process of “assess, plan, do, review”.

Each local authority in England publishes a “local offer” describing what SEND-related services are available in the area and how to access them.  At the time of writing, these offers are in a state of transition to the new system.  Some currently mention assessment for EHC Plans without mentioning Settings-based SEN Support, however as above, both are part of the new system.  Each school also has a special educational needs policy / “school offer”.

The new code suggests to me that potentially, there could also be more integration with non-educational services for children receiving Settings-based SEN Support, though not in the same manner as for those with EHC Plans.

In Scotland, the Code of Practice is “Supporting Children’s Learning” (2010), which applies between ages 3 and 18 years.  In this there is a staged approach to additional needs, moving through the support types and levels that might be required in response to concerns expressed by parents, teachers or others, broadly considering first the least extra support that might be needed.  Only some pupils with additional needs will prove to be at the level where a formal Co-ordinated Support Plan (which was the successor to a “Record of Needs”) is required, but this methodology should also identify and seek to meet the needs of the others.  Local authorities go into more detail for parents, for example the Children In the Highlands Information Point, http://www.chipplus.org.uk/index.asp?pageid=331378.  Scotland also has the concept of the Universal Child’s Plan, which is triggered when a child’s learning needs demand more than ordinary classroom teaching techniques (which do encompass additional needs to some extent), so that other services and an Individualised Education Programme (IEP) become involved.

Northern Ireland has the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (which also includes instructions for provision.  Dept of Education, Northern Ireland, 1998-2005).  Northern Ireland and Wales still use the three-level system of Action, Action Plus and Statementing levels of support.

The equivalent code in Wales (Welsh Assembly Government, 2004) approaches assessment and provision along similar lines, described as a “graduated response”, also like the other codes, stressing that any difficulties the child has should be picked up early.  The codes describe when Action and Action Plus are applicable and how assessment, provision etc. should occur, and they apply between the age of 3 years (and the time leading up to that), and an age between 16 and 19+ years.  Anyone with concerns about what provision should be made for a child can find useful details in the sections of these two codes and their associated documents relating to the applicable age-range (early years, primary school age or secondary school age.  There are also sections on transition from school age).

In all parts of the UK, there are local authority / board SEN specialists who can be called upon by schools to assist in respect of identification and provision.

Where there has always been a grey area, is in defining what are “significant” learning needs.  To many parents any learning need, or barrier to learning is “significant”, whereas there are schools and/or individual teachers who consider there are “no problems” beyond a threshold that is not necessarily defined.  For children, consistent difficulties and fallings behind can lead to frustration, lowered self-esteem, further educational difficulties and relationship issues with peers, however educationalists expect children to learn at different speeds and to have different learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, so when does this become “significant”?  In principle, the statutory codes and guidelines would seem to agree that any learning need should be picked up and supported as early as possible, yet they still use the term “significant” in some places.  In Scotland, the code and guidance include a discussion of the term in the light of Tribunal and Court decisions, and gives some examples (Scottish Government, 2010).

References

Code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs, and supplement (1998-2005), (Dept of Education, Northern Ireland).

Dept for Education (2014, England), Transition to the new 0 to 25 special educational needs and disability system. Statutory guidance for local authorities and organisations providing services to children and young people with SEN.

SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years (2014), (Dept for Education and Dept of Health, England).

Special educational needs code of practice for Wales (2004), (Welsh Assembly Government).

Supporting children’s learning (2010, revised edition), Scottish Government.