Whether it’s an amazing ability to make people smile or a gift for composing music with a soundbeam, children with complex needs often have an extraordinary talent.

The challenge is to identify the strengths and abilities of every child, from painting to remembering numbers. Use detailed observation and offer a range of opportunities to find out what interests them, then make the adaptations that will help them explore their talents.

It’s important that parents share knowledge of any special gifts so they are encouraged at school. By focussing on a special interest, teachers can also help a child settle into a new environment.

In every field there are examples of disabled adults who have achieved success. Their stories can be used to inspire pupils to find their own area of expertise and to achieve their dreams. Some schools and settings work with artists, authors, actors or dancers to encourage and inspire pupils. Occasionally there is specialist funding to enable children to pursue their interests or to attend a regional event.

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Learning Together

A guide for teachers and special educational needs co-ordinators

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