Including a child with special educational needs in a classroom takes planning and preparation, but with the right information and support the whole class can contribute to a positive culture where each child is understood and accepted.

While children are naturally curious, about different communication and mobility aids, for example, they are likely to be extremely supportive once they understand their peers’ needs. Each case is different so staff and parents should consider together what information can be shared with the class to ensure that each child is valued.

What can teachers do?

  • Use projects and discussions to help the class understand why one child may look different or be treated in a different way.
  • If a child uses different communication methods, give the rest of the class some training. They will quickly pick up key signs and familiarity with a touchscreen tablet.
  • Make use of the many story and picture books designed to help children understand about special needs – check the In the Picture booklist.
  • If there is a risk to other children from one child’s behaviour, maybe biting or hitting, be prepared and avoid situations where that child may become anxious or distressed. Read more about challenging behaviour.

Learning Together

A guide for teachers and special educational needs co-ordinators

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