Inthis part of the assignment I will be looking at the current legislativeframework for children with disabilities and analyse the approaches needed tocreate an early years environment which is fully inclusive for children withSEN and disabilities. The aspect that I will be mainly focussing on is Autism.Within this essay there will also be a discussion about the current legislativeframework and policies and current and past legislations that have developedinclusive practice for children with SEN and disabilities.
Inclusion is aprocedure through which schools and local educational authorities develop theirprinciples, policies and practices to include pupils. By providing the righttraining, strategies and support all children with special educational needscan be positively included in mainstream education. Over the years, people’sbeliefs and attitudes have changed and many people believe that inclusion isone of the most important aspect that can form and develop a society’s attitudetowards SEN and disabilities and getting rid of any inequalities that exist. (DfES,2001).Inthe UK today, there is no interrogations over the right of pupil with SEN to beincluded within the educational system. However this was not the situation backin the 1800s. When compulsory schooling began in the late 1800s many childrenwith disabilities were deemed to be ‘uneducable’ and were denied the right foreducation. After one hundred years later before there was any significantchanges The Education Handicapped Children’s Act 1970 was introduced to ensurethat all children with SEN were entitled to education despites their needs ordisabilities.
After this act there were many series of acts, legislations andstatutory guidance’s that have been followed up and aim to promote theinclusion of pupil with SEN in the educational system. This included theSpecial Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 the outcome of this act wasto ensure that there was no discrimination for individuals with disabilities intheir access to education. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2001was a code that provided a vibrant framework for identifying, assessing andmeeting the needs of the children with SEN. By 2011, the SEN system which wasin place for 10 years was no longer as necessary hence why the new legislationact was introduced in 2014. The Children and Families Act 2014 expands theprevious system for SEN and covers children and young people with SEN right upfrom birth to the age of 25.
This act enables children, young people and theirparents to have control over their child’s education and make decisions thatthey feel would be essential in meeting the needs of their children. (Packer,2016, Chapter1).Adisability is an on-going condition that restricts everyday activity. The main kinds ofdisability are physical, sensory, psychiatric, neurological, cognitive, intellectualand learning. The Disability Service Act 1993 outlines disability as asense which results in significantly reduced capacity of the individual forcommunication, socialinteraction, learning or mobility and a requirement for regular supportservices. (What is disability, n.d.).
Between1900 and 1945, many children had a physical disability or sensory impairment,this was mainly due to poverty and disease. There were no vaccinations, andmany working class families couldn’t afford high-quality equipment ortreatment. Before 1970 many children with SEN and disability were considered’ineducable’ now deemed ‘educable’. In the past children whoare now referred to as SEN were labelled with more offensive terms such as’handicapped’ and ‘retarded’. Before 1975 children with SEN or disability werenot always given the option of mainstream schooling this is because mainstreamschooling had obligations to children with disabilities. This is why a bigpopulation of children, especially those with severe disabilities, were keptout of public schools and even those who did attend were segregated from theirpeers that were non-disabled or were educated in hospitals or institutions. Althoughit is taken for granted that students with disabilities are allowed to attendpublic schools, it was only in 1975 this changed and became law with thepassage of The Education for All Handicapped Children Act 1975.
The Education of allHandicapped Children Act of 1975 was the first legislation to protect theeducational rights of students with disabilities. This act meant that allmainstream schools that were receiving state funding would need to providehandicapped children equal admission to education and authorised that they belocated in the least restrictive educational environment. (Moody, 2012). This law was later adjustedand was known to become the Individualswith Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In1944, The Education Act made it the responsibility of the local educationalauthority to make a decision on whether a child required special educational treatment.
If a child was considered ineducable then that child became the responsibilityof the Department of Health and Social Services and that child was not eligibleto receive legislative education. Under the 1944 Education Act, children withspecial educational needs were characterised by their disabilities in medicalterms. Many children were considered to be uneducable and pupils were labelledinto groups such as maladjusted and given special educational treatment inseparate schools away from children that did not suffer from any forms of SENor disability. The Warnock Report in 1978, followed by the 1981 Education Act,significantly improved the conception of special educational needs. Itintroduced the idea of special educational needs (SEN). The report waspublished in 1978, which changed the perception of inclusive education. Theterm inclusion was becoming recognised into mainstream schools, and childrenwith SEN were given the right to learn along with other children that wereconsidered to be ‘normal’.
Within the report, the aim of the inclusion for SENchildren in mainstream schools was underlined along with the need forprovisions to be put in place to make this a potential outcome. Warnock claimsthat the concept of inclusion, which is also known as the right of each childto be educated in a mainstream school established a not so well legacy in whichit has resulted in many children being physically included, but emotionallyexcluded from a common project of learning. According to Warnock this wasobvious in the cases of children with autism, as well as for children withneeds arising from social disadvantages.
(Warnock et al, 2010, p.1).In recent years, there hasbeen a lack of awareness from people in mainstream society about the problems andissues that individual’s with learning difficulties face. For example, anindividual’s disability might mean that they find it hard to adapt socialnorms, and therefore they would find it difficult socialising and buildingrelationships much harder than other people. However,recently the government has set out stages that they expect local authoritieswill take to support people with learning disabilities. Although someindividuals with learning disabilities need extra care, if given that extrasupport beside the care, they may be able to find ways to live moreindependently and be involved in making choices and decisions for themselves.
(Debenham,2012).Anact that links in very closely in relation to children with SEN is theDisability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995legislation stated that it is against the law for services and institutionproviders to discriminate against disabled people by treating them lessfavourably due to their disability. However, The DDA 1995 did not outspreadenough facts in relation to education providers. This is when The SpecialEducational Needs and Disability Act 2001 was created to tackle discriminationand extend the DDA 1995. Under these two acts schools, colleges, universitiesand any educational institutions or local education authorities are required tomake reasonable modifications and changes for individuals with a disability asspecified in the DDA 1995.
(Debenham, 2012).Furthermore, there are manylegislations that have supported the development of inclusive practice. The Codeof Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needssets out a five-stage framework for meeting the needs of children with SEN. Thefirst three stages are school-based, with an education plan for the child atstage two and the institution usually considering for outside support at stagethree. Stage four carries out the relevant local agencies to regulate whether achild with SEN requires a statement.
The fifth stage is when the LEA creates astatement and arranges, monitors and reviews provision for the child. This iswhen the parent has the option to disagree with the decision of LEA about theirchild’s SEN, they have the right to appeal to for special educationalinstitutions. (From Exclusion to Inclusion, 1999).Sincethe late 1970s there has been substantial development in special education.There has been major changes in thinking about how to provide education forchildren with special education needs and disability (SEND). The Warnock Report(1978) and the Education Act (1981) made ultimate changes in approaches to theeducation for children. The Report (1978) changed the terminology of childrenbeing called handicap which was offensive to the term special education needswhich was more appropriate.
The Warnock report 1978 was an important milestonetowards inclusive education. This report did not only suggest the concept ofspecial educational needs but also encouraged the principle that children withSEN could be educated in mainstream schools or non-special institutions. Thekey recommendations of the Warnock Report 1978 included the acknowledgment thatroughly 20% of children will experience some form of special educational needsat some point in their educational career. The report specified that whereverit was possible children’s special educational needs should be met in amainstream school. There was also a recognition that 2% of children mayexperience severe learning difficulties that would require there special needsto be met in a special needs institution. (Gates and Anderton, 2007, p.138).
In1989, The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the child stated theright of SEN children to be educated in mainstream environments, to achievesocial interaction and individual development. It gave children the right toprovision in their own learning. (Chalmers, 2016, P.37-39)Inclusionhas been supported positively by schools and the inclusive programme aschildren are now benefiting from the learning they are receiving after barriershave been removed reported by the Ofsted. According to the Ofsted report recentlegislations for developing integrated children’s services, encouraged by theEvery Child Matters programme has started to take a more holistic view ofservices for all children.
However the report stated that the work was not asplanned to the expected level. However, now there has been many changes thathave been made over the past five years. (Ofsted, 2006). Accordingto the Ofsted report The Special Needs and Disability Act 2001 reinforcedparent’s right to seek a mainstream school for their child and maintained theirright to ask for a place in a special school. Furthermore, the DisabilityDiscrimination Act (DDA) 1995 was extended to cover education, urging schoolsto take practical steps to ensure that SEN pupils are not disadvantaged in anyareas of their school lives. The law is intended to support pupils with SEN inattending a school of their parent’s choice and to promote fair and equaltreatment of those pupils while attending it.
(Ofsted, 2006). With reference tomy setting visit which was in a mainstream school, the institution had many newpupils coming with their parents to see the setting as parents wanted to checkif the setting was right for their child and whether they felt that the settingwould be able to meet the needs of their child before they enrolled them.Practitioners were showing every department to the parents and they were alsoshowing them key policies and procedures within their setting which gaveparents reassurance that the setting was fully professional. At the end, theparents had the choice to decide what was best for their child and thepractitioners settled on what the parents overall decision. Inmy setting visit all practitioners that are working within the institution requirequalifications that are essential for them to be able to work with thechildren.
All the practitioners are required to have either BA or BSc with QTS,school-centred initial teachers training or a minimum of Level 3 qualification.With these qualifications practitioners would have a better understanding andknowledge of the pupils who require additional need and support within theirsetting and ensure that SEN pupils are getting the support that would help withtheir learning and also assuring parents that their child would be able toachieve in their school lives. Anexample of this would be, with reference to my setting visit, as it wasmainstream and special department centre they ensured that all the childrenwere given a certain time to play duringthe day as well as learning something educational, the same applied to childrenin the special department centre who are autistic. The special departmentcentre had Makaton and PECS which was used throughout the setting, this enabledthe autistic children to communicate with both practitioners and other childrenin their setting. PECS was very useful for the children as they had no way ofcommunicating so they would use the pictures on their card e.
g. when theywanted to eat or play with a particular toy they would communicate with thepractitioner by showing the practitioner the specific card. This enabledpractitioners to be able to interact with the children and they were aware ofhow to respond back to the child in a specific way so that the child also got areply. Autismis a term used since the 1940s to describe a different developmental patternthat emerges in early childhood. It can have a major impact on how childrenlearn, interact and behave. Meeting the needs of an individual lies at thepoint of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Every child is worthy ofachieving the best possible in life, and support to fulfil their potentials. Itis essential for all early years’ providers to have an effective policy forensuring equality of opportunities and for supporting children with learningdifficulties and disabilities.
Environment is a very important factor for achild with ASD. A well- planned early year’s environment that is based in theprinciples and practice of the EYFS will be very effective towards meeting theneeds of a child with autism. (DfE, 2009, p.2-7).Allearly education settings and childcare settings registered with Ofsted arerequired to have the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (DfES,2001). One of the requirement is that asetting should elect one person that would be responsible for controllinginclusive practice this person would be called a SENCO. The SENCO should beable to provide ideas for planning appropriate activities that would bebeneficial for children with ASD.
Some of the strategies that are required tobe included for a child with ASD is positive relationship. It is essential forthe practitioner to build a positive relationship with the parents once thechild starts to attend the setting. This because the parents are relying on thepractitioner to meet the needs of their child so they would need to bereassured by the practitioner that their child would be safe and happy.
(DfE,2009, p.2-7).TheRole of the parent is very important factor for a child with ASD. Having achild with ASD can be very challenging for parents. However parents can learnto apply skills to changing their child’s behaviour by the use of effectiveteaching methods, support from within the family and the community, and accessto information about ASD.
It is vital that information is available to parentsto ensure their active role in advocacy of their child’s education. It isrecommended that parent’s participation should be supported in educationthrough regular presentation of information by the local school system.(Educating children with autism, 2001, p.4).Overthe years there has been many legislative framework that have been put in placefor SEN children. The children’s Act 1981 is still a current legislation thatis very effective it combined together many legislations that related tochildren and was based on the idea that children had rights.
The EducationReform Act 1988 is an act that introduced the National Curriculum into allstate schools, including special schools in England and Wales. This act allowsschools to modify the curriculum or even not to use if it was not consideredappropriate. It was a big step as many SEN and disabled children were notfulfilling their academic potentials. (Tassoni, 2003, P.17).
Additionalcommitment from the Government towards improving expectations and outcomes forall children and young people and overcoming the barriers to learning of SEN,through early intervention and improved partnerships which came through theEvery Child Matters (ECM) and Together from the Start in 2003 and the revisedChild Act 2004. The Disability Discrimination Act defined the duties ofemployers and suppliers of goods and services to the public, schools and localauthorities and community education to promote inclusion. Under the guidance ofthe EYFS, early years practitioners have to recognise every child as a capablelearner, confident and self- assured and to ensure that each unique child hasthe entitlement to fully inclusive practice. (Chalmers, 2016, P.
37-39).Inconclusion by creating a fully inclusive early years setting and environmentfor children with SEN and disabilities shows that the individual needs of thechild and their families are being met. There are many legislations that havebeen put in place to ensure that SEN children are being treated equally withregards to education. It is also clear that SEN pupil benefit holistically if inclusivepractice is implemented effectively in mainstream schools. The Warnock Report(1978) was very effective and impactful in relation to SEN pupil’s education.
The report helped to understand that certain children would need differenteducational provisions to be made for them in order to achieve inclusion. Thegovernment has put many legislations in place in order to provide children withSEN and disabilities with the best possible services available e.g. the EYFSwhich has a very essential impact on the learning techniques for children. An Inclusive setting will give all children a chance to perceivethe differences and be aware of and accept diversity.
Inclusion in settings canbenefit the communication skills and sense of agreement among pupils with andwithout disabilities. Althoughmany settings are not yet fully inclusive by having the drive to achieve it isa positive factor which can enhance a child’s holistic development.