Special Education Needs (SEN) refers to that extra or different wants of children will have due to the fact that such experience unusual learning difficulties something which lead to such children to experience difficulties not only in learning but also having an equal access to education, training and even work opportunity. Besides, language difficulties such children experience, numerous challenges, difficulties in cognitive process, and behavioral difficulties as well as psychomotor difficulties.
By addressing SEN main goals, every child who experiences SEN, would be guaranteed a chance to develop. Professionals in SEN increases the chances of such children of becoming into productive adults with increased chances of accessing and receiving quality and well deserved training and education as well as getting meaningful employment.
In achieving the above goals, children with SEN depend largely on their parents or caretakers who are overly responsible for making decisions affecting the children directly. The teachers as well as other professionals with whom children with SEN interact with also contribute to determining what kind of transition the children will have. The other group which plays a critical role in the process of transition is the SEN facilitators and the schools where children attend school. The government is mandated to deal with policy issues which affect the lives of children with SEN.
Good policies will empower those with SEN while bad policies may make it even hard for such children to make it to school.
Those who are tasked to work with SEN children need to have a positive attitude towards their job as a negative attitude can bar a parent, teacher of a facilitator from being effective in executing functions directed towards helping out a SEN child.
Teachers, facilitators, caretakers, parents are the people who mostly are left to help children overcome difficulties. Therefore there is a need for the above group of people to be well versed with the main SEN needs which include; communication and interaction, children with SEN are more likely to experience difficulties in communication (Lee, & Dickson,1999.10-46). Such children delay in their ability to develop speech. Such a delay takes a quality care taker, a dedicated parent, and a committed facilitator to handle. The fact that the caretakers may fail to be patient with these children may make the task in of assisting SEN children an uphill one.
However with the right attitude and predisposition, helping out SNE proves to be just a task like any other. It is even made easier by the fact that, the difficulties in speech development is only a temporary one, in fact it entails a delay which costs no more than patience to solve. Therefore parents of the SEN children should assist children with speech and communication by assisting the children with assignments and schoolwork, by helping such children to read, write as well as understand puzzling information, the facilitators, the teachers as well as parents accomplish are a very critical people in assisting such children to meat their learning needs.
Communication difficulties experienced by the children makes it very hard for them to play with their peers, this is an area where by teachers need to constantly assist SEN children. As McCabe, (1985.89-100) notes, play forms a very important role in children’s’ growth and development, therefore teachers and parents can assist by patiently helping the children to learn self expression as well as learning to fully understand meanings from others.
Speech and language difficulties may cause SEN children to misbehave in school or at home Lewisham Languages Team (1991.56-78). Therefore, such children need assistance to learn and develop positive behavior and attitude towards their environment. Such misbehavior causes strained relations with other people especially those who are ignorant of such children’s predicaments. It is in situations such the ones above whereby parents and caretakers, as well as teachers usually come in to assist SEN children.
Learning how to relate well with the outside environment and especially other human beings is a need amongst SEN children. Growth and development is incomplete for such children if they do not get assistance. Therefore it is the role of caretakers to patiently teach such children to develop positive relations. SEN children have a need for friendship and warmth and due to the difficulties they face in learning, they are unable to achieve that by themselves hence the need for outside assistance. SEN children may have some impairments and disorders. The disorders make such children to function differently albeit with difficulties. Schools as well as other concerned parties are obliged to empower SEN children with all materials and psychological support necessary in order to assist the children overcome difficulties and mature into becoming self sustaining adults capable of working and living independent adult lives. It is through empowerment that SEN children will be assisted.
There is a need for the relevant professionals to understand and see the big picture of helping the children today, for the sake of children to have an enjoyable and happy future. Impairments and disorders make it very difficult for some children to meet their physical needs such as bowel emptying, feeding. This is an area in which SEN professionals are supposed to come in and assist. Identifying changes as well as sensory complications will be instrumental in helping out SEN children and this should always comprise of the first step in helping out SEN children. These problems affect the children learning abilities negatively in spite of the academic abilities such children may posses. This calls for a great deal of assistance from teacher and caretakers as failure to do so will mean that such children may never realize their full potential in life. When such children are helped to overcome their difficulties they regain self confidence and end up being self sufficient in the future. That achieves the goals for SEN children by making them grow normally and enjoy all learning the process.
The role of teachers and schools in general can not be overstated. Being the custodian of the national Education curriculum, schools and teachers are responsible for ensuring that children achieve learning objectives as outlined in the curriculum throughout the different stages until they are at par with their counterparts without special needs. Teachers influence the process of learning for SEN children in that, it is them who are tasked with directly interpreting the syllabus for the SEN children. How teachers organize and execute the lessons, how they prepare for the lessons, the classroom environment, the facilities available and equipment available at the schools as well as the learning materials all play a very crucial role in ensuring that SEN children are not stopped from realizing their full potential.
The above factors are supposed to aid the learning process and make it as enjoyable as possible for SEN children. Teachers particularly need to exercise greater skills than the guidelines offered in the instructional materials as the situation on the ground may call for the teachers to make some differentiating in the process of curriculum implementation (Hansford, 1993.123-137). Such extra measures required may include the teachers taking their extra time to identify and categorize the learners into different categories depending of their ability to learn. For first learners, the teachers should provide means to ensure that they fit in the same class as the average and slow learners. Since facilities at teachers disposal may not enable for division of the class into categories teachers are left with only the option of making remedial classes for the slow learners by giving such children remedial classes at their free time.
Helping SEN children is not easy at all teachers only responsibility, caretakers and parents as well needs to contribute in the task. For example, it is the responsibility of the parents and caretakers to facilitate the children to go to school. Apart from the educational needs identified above, SEN children will have other special needs which doctors may point out. Any suggestions prescribed by doctors are a responsibility of the caretakers or parents. Therefore in this way parents and caretakers also contribute to the development of SEN children (Laverick, 1992.80-90). Therefore a collaborative effort is needed from all; teachers, parents and policy makers so as to empower SEN children. Leaving the task to one party or group will not help matters and can only serve to undo the progress so far?
To help SEN children achieve both cognitive and learning needs is also a considerable effort from parents, caretakers, teachers as well as professionals. Cognitive needs are quite intriguing to handle as they are mostly invisible and are only manifested outwardly through behavior. To identify and deal with cognitive needs of the SEN child calls for teachers to be aware and well prepared (Kormos, (200.234-256). There is a need for teachers to be well used with the current research findings so as to make the most use of all information available. Making the most use of all information available will ensure that the SEN children receive the best external assistance possible and therefore will be well prepared to overcome the difficulties. In order to be effective, facilitators will need to be keen in identifying the cognitive needs of the children. As noted by Marsh, (2004.23-45) there is several categories of needs; which include moderate cognitive needs. This refers to a situation whereby the learning of SEN children is not as complicated and therefore is easy to solve and handle with the least efforts.
SEN children with moderate cognitive difficulties are able to group issues faster they are faster in communication and are less likely to misbehave in addition such children have better addition such children have better relations and easily establish friendships (McColl, Hewitt, & Baldry, 1996.45-68). However children with severe and profound cognitive difficulties are a bit hard to take care of.
The other category of SEN children which require the full attention of caregivers and professionals in special education are those who unfortunately suffer from multiple learning difficulties. The above have implications for SEN professionals in that they require more assistance, more expertise in terms of knowledge and skill. Besides more patience and commitment is required in order to deal with them as they are not very fast to respond even to the best teaching effort. Therefore just as their case is a multiple condition, they need a more advanced and mature approach which entails the use of professional skills to deal with. Such children deserve care and attention and are entitled to be helped into becoming self supporting citizens as well as to bring out the potential in them.
Finally it is good for; special education professionals to recognize the challenge of dealing with SEN children who are identified as having special learning needs such as dyslexia. Children who suffer from conditions such as dyslexia exhibit conditions of not being able to memorize a lot of information. In a class room setting a teacher needs to adjust the content taught so as to avoid confusing those children suffering from the malady. Although this is not a major condition, it can pose great challenge to the SEN children in the early and foundational stages in school. This is mainly due to the fact that such children depend on memorizing information taught. Therefore imparting a lot of information to such a child will mean that the child will not remember the things learnt in class. This condition can lead to disillusionment and therefore complicating matters for SEN children.
SEN children are entitled to learn no matter the circumstances and difficulties they are in, as a professional in SEN one is very likely to be confronted with many needs and difficulties which affect the way learners are able to cope with learning (Kretschmer, & Kretschmer, 1997.123-143). The most commonly observed form of sensory and physical difficulties is that which affects the body senses such as hearing impairment. For children with hearing impairment they usually exhibit difficulty in learning therefore there is a need for parents to learn how to deal with such challenges. Such measures to help the SEN children may include measures like equipping the children with hearing devices where such a step is prescribed by a doctor. In cases of partial hearing impairment, aiding the hearing capability of the learner through gestures and signs is critical and it goes a long way in ensuring that such children do not miss out on learning opportunities due to the fact that they can not hear.
For the SEN children who have difficulties regarding to visual impairment, there is a reason for need for teacher and parents to offer assistance such as Braille materials usage as well as the use of the guiding stick. To ensure a well rounded growth and development for such children, they should be taught how to play and therefore over come their difficulties. IT is un-wise for SEN professionals to overlook the need for physical activities in bringing out a well rounded learner. Therefore efforts should be made to ensure that each child is given an opportunity to engage in physical activities.
There is a need for the government, professionals in SEN, schools, policy makers and researchers to ensure that they deal with the challenges facing SEN. The government should ensure it provides the necessary infrastructure needed in meeting the needs of SEN children. There is a need for more collaboration for all parties involved in special education. Finally special education professionals should have a positive attitude towards their job so as to ensure that not a single SEN child will fail to achieve their dreams due to their position.