Recognising and Planning for Special Needs in the Early Years

Books

Chris Dukes & Maggie Smith

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  • Hands on Guide Series

    Written by two Area SENCOs who work closely with pre-school SENCOs and managers on a daily basis, these books are packed with ready-to-use activities, photocopiable worksheets and advice ideal for all those working with the 0 to 5 age range, such as pre-school practitioners, nursery managers, advisory teachers, SENCOs, inclusion officers and child care and education students and tutors.

    Other books in the series are:

    • A Practical Guide to Pre-School Inclusion (2006)
    • Developing Pre-School Communication and Language (2007)
    • Working with Parents of Children with Special Educational Needs (2007)
    • Building Better Behaviour in the Early Years (2009)

    Copyright

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    About the Authors

    Chris Dukes is a qualified teacher with over 20 years' experience. She has worked in various London primary schools as a class teacher and later as a member of the Senior Management Team. Chris has a Masters degree in Special Needs and through her later roles as a SENCO and support teacher, many years' experience of working with children with a variety of needs. Chris has worked closely with staff teams, mentoring, advising and supervising work with children with additional needs, as well as with other education and health professionals. Chris currently works as an Area SENCO supporting Special Needs Coordinators and managers in a wide range of pre-school settings. As well as advising she writes courses, delivers training and produces publications.

    Maggie Smith began her career as a nursery teacher in Birmingham. She has worked as a peripatetic teacher for an under-5s EAL Team and went on to become the Foundation Stage manager of an Early Years Unit in Inner London. Maggie helped to set up an innovative unit for young children with behavioural difficulties and has also worked supporting families of children with special needs. She has taught on Early Years BTEC and CACHE courses at a college of higher education. She currently works as an Area SENCO supporting Special Needs Coordinators and managers in a wide range of pre-school settings. As well as advising she writes courses, delivers training and produces publications.

    Acknowledgements

    This book is dedicated to all the practitioners, children and parents we have had the privilege of working with and learning from.

    Contents of the CD-ROM

    How to Use the CD-ROM

    The CD-ROM contains pdf files of the worksheets from this book organised by chapter. You will need Acrobat Reader version 3 or higher to view and print these pages.

    The documents are set to print at A4 but you can enlarge them to A3 by increasing the output percentage using the page set-up settings for your printer.

    Throughout the book, you will see this CD icon used . This indicates that the material you are looking at is also available electronically on the accompanying CD-ROM.

    Contents of the CD-ROM
    Introduction
    • Five Steps to Recognising Additional Needs
    • Factors which Can Affect a Child's Progress or Behaviour
    • Sample Record of Meeting with Parents 1
    • Sample Record of Meeting with Parents 2
    • Blank Record of Meeting with Parents
    • Reflection on Setting and Practice
    • A Reflective Practice Chart for Setting Leaders and Managers
    • Let's Talk About … Learning styles
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: 0–11 Months
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: 8–20 Months
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: 16–26 Months
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: 22–36 Months
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: 30–50 Months
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: 40–60+ Months
    • Communication, Language and Literacy Development: 0–11 Months
    • Communication, Language and Literacy Development: 8–20 Months
    • Communication, Language and Literacy Development: 16–26 Months
    • Communication, Language and Literacy Development: 22–36 Months
    • Communication, Language and Literacy Development: 30–50 Months
    • Communication, Language and Literacy Development: 40–60+ Months
    • Physical Development: 0–11 Months
    • Physical Development: 8–20 Months
    • Physical Development: 16–26 Months
    • Physical Development: 22–36 Months
    • Physical Development: 30–50 Months
    • Physical Development: 40–60+ Months
    • Using Observations to Help identify Additional Needs
    • Themed Observation Sheet
    • Themed Observation Follow-up Sheet
    • Jargon Buster: Speech, Language and Communication
    • English as an Additional Language
    • Speech, Language and Communication Observation Follow-up Sheet
    • Jargon Buster: Physical Development
    • Physical Development Observation Follow-up Sheet
    • Sample Observing and Recording Behaviour Sheet
    • Sample Observing and Recording Behaviour Follow-up Sheet
    • Blank Observing and Recording Behaviour Sheet
    • Blank Observing and Recording Behaviour Follow-up Sheet
    • The Graduated Response
    • Blank Individual Education Plan
    • Blank Individual Education Plan Review
    • Sample Individual Education Plan
    • Let's Talk About … Individual Education Plans
    • Writing Individual Education Plans – The Planning Cycle
    • Individual Education Plans and Planning – 20 Points for Practice
    • Jargon Buster: Who's Who in Education
    • Jargon Buster: Who's Who in Health
    • Getting the Most Out of Talking to Professionals
    • Top Tips for Communicating with Professionals

    Introduction

    Our starting point for writing this book is illustrated by the following scenario. It is a situation in which many practioners often find themselves.

    It is the end of the day at Wonderland Nursery. Kath and Hollie are tidying up the room ready for the next day. The following conversation takes place.

    Kath: ‘I'm a bit worried about Johnny.’

    Hollie: ‘Why, what's the matter?’

    Kath: ‘I don't know really, I can't put my finger on it but I feel that something's not quite right.’

    Hollie: ‘I know what you mean. Maybe you should have a word with his Mum.’

    Kath: ‘I would but I don't want to worry her, especially if it turns out to be nothing.’

    Hollie: ‘Have you spoken to Sheila? She's an experienced manager, she'll probably know what to do.’

    Kath: ‘Well I did mention it to her, she didn't really say much. Mind you I was a bit vague; I just said I was a bit concerned about him!’

    Hollie: ‘Can you narrow it down to a particular area of his development that you are worried about?’

    Kath: ‘I think it's mainly his language. He doesn't really seem to be saying much and he hardly ever plays with the other children. He usually walks away when they go anywhere near him.’

    Hollie: ‘Why don't you try doing some themed observations – that usually helps. I'll look at them with you, if you'd like.’

    Kath: ‘Good idea. I don't know why I didn't think of doing some before. I'll have a look at a child development book as well.’

    Hollie: ‘That new book Sheila's just bought is really good. It gives you child development information so that you can compare it with the child you have in mind. It links everything to the EYFS and it gives you a step-by-step guide on what to do if you're still worried.’

    Kath: ‘Great, I'd better go and find it! What's it called again … ?’

    We hope that by writing this book practitioners will be provided with the support they need to help young children and their parents move forward in a positive way.

    One of the most exciting things when working with young children is that as practitioners we are constantly learning new things and having our ideas challenged. Every child we meet will teach us something new and change the way we think about their learning. None more so than a child who has or may have an additional need. We don't need to be experts but we do need to have an open mind, a willingness to be flexible and adaptable and to believe that we have something to offer every child.

    A ‘can do’ approach is the single most important requirement for inclusion and the biggest barrier to including all children is not accessibility, resources or equipment but individual attitudes. Just as we see each child as an individual we must also see each practitioner as an individual. This is why reflective practice is so important. It gives us the opportunity to analyse not only our practice but also the thoughts, ideas and perceptions which underpin this practice.

    Many practitioners are either reluctant or feel they do not have the skills to identify any additional needs of children in their care. This could be for many reasons including fear of approaching parents, fear of labelling children or fear of getting it wrong.

    However, a practitioner's role is not to diagnose but to observe and identify where a child may be experiencing difficulties. Strategies can then be put in place to support the child and, if concerns still remain after a period of time, to make an appropriate referral to a specialist.

    Practitioners would rarely do this without support from local authority advisors such as Area SENCOs or advisory teachers.

    Chapter 1 sets the scene and lays out the legal and advisory framework within which all early years providers work. It places the early identification of additional needs firmly within those frameworks.

    Chapters 28 follow the outline of a Five-step guide to recognising and planning for additional needs. This will demystify the process and guide you through the various stages from gathering initial information to writing an individual education plan.

    Pre-School Practitioners

    This book will enable you to identify children with special needs in your pre-school setting. You will be supported by practical examples, developmental guidance and formats to use within your setting. These can be used as presented in the book or adapted or personalised to suit your own needs. The Hands-on activities will provide a starting point for team discussion.

    Tutors and Students

    Through reading this book you will increase your awareness of the steps needed to identify children's special needs. It will give you clear guidance on how to incorporate these steps into everyday practice and planning. The Hands-on Activities can be used as short assignments.

    Advisers

    Use this book to support pre-schools to improve their knowledge, understanding and practice for identifying special needs. Stand-alone chapters can be used as a basis for training.

    A Note on the Text

    The case studies included in this publication are composites of numerous children in various settings, distilled from the authors' many years of experience. They are not specific to any one child-practitioner or setting.

  • Contacts and Useful Organisations

    Bibliography

    Casey, Theresa (2007) Environments for Outdoor Play. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2007) Supporting Children Learning English as an Additional Language: Guidance for Practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage. DCFS.
    Department for Education and Employment (2001) Special Educational Needs: Code of Practice. DfEE.
    Department for Education and Science (2005) Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings. DfES.
    Department for Education and Skills (2007) Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. DfES.
    Department for Education and Skills (2008) Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage. DfES.
    Doherty, Jonathan and Bailey, Richard (2002) Supporting Physical Development and Physical Education in the Early Years, Supporting Early Learning. Open University Press.
    Dowling, Marion (2005) Young Children's Personal, Social and Emotional Development,
    2nd
    edn. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Drifte, Collette (2005) A Manual for the Early Years SENCO. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Drury, Rose (2006) Young Bilingual Children Learning at Home and School. Trentham Books.
    Dukes, Chris and Smith, Maggie (2006) A Practical Guide to Pre-School Inclusion, Hands On Guides,
    2nd
    edn. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Dukes, Chris and Smith, Maggie (2007) Developing Pre-school Communication and Language, Hands On Guides. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Dukes, Chris and Smith, Maggie (2007) Working with Parents of Children with Special Educational Needs, Hands On Guides. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Mathieson, Kay (2007) Identifying Special Needs in the Early Years. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Meggit, Carolyn (2006) Child Development: An Illustrated Guide,
    2nd
    edn. Heinemann.
    Miller, Linda, Cable, Carrie and Devereux, Jane (2005) Developing Early Years Practice, Foundation Degree Texts. David Fulton Publishers.
    National Children's Bureau Enterprise Ltd (2003) Early Years and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995: What Service Providers Need to Know. NCB.
    Paige-Smith, Alice and Craft, Anna (2007) Developing Reflective Practice in the Early Years. Open University Press.
    Roberts, Rosemary (2006) Self-Esteem and Early Learning: Key People from Birth to school, Zero to Eight Series,
    3rd
    edn. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Sharp, Elizabeth (2005) Learning Through Talk in the Early Years: Practical Activities for the Classroom. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Stocks, Sara (2002) Personal, Social and Emotional Development (What Learning Looks Like …),
    2nd
    revised edn. Step Forward Publishing.
    Visser, Jo (2007) Supporting Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Everything Early Years How To … Series. Everything Early Years.
    Wall, Kate (2006) Special Needs and Early Years. Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Warner, Maureen (2003) Physical Development, Foundation Blocks. Brilliant Publications.
    Woodfield, Lynda (2004) Physical Development in the Early Years, Classmates. Continuum.

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