NEURO-ATYPICAL CHILDREN AND MAINSTREAM EDUCATION – ARE THEY READY FOR EACH OTHER?

“You really are asking for trouble with this article, aren’t you” read one of the comments to the Guardian’s Secret Teacher section latest instalment. And I have to say I couldn’t agree more… The Secret Teacher deals with all aspects (and sometimes perils) of a teacher’s life and this week’s it was the turn of a SENCO to vent about over-concerned parents who present her with diagnosis to explain their children’s shortcomings in the academic world.

The author was making the point that we are a bit too keen as a society to stick a label on individuals often to the detriments of real sufferers. Fair enough. She also said that she has found herself having to pander to increasingly farcical theories from parents and carers as to why things aren’t working out for their offsprings. Now in my experience and from what I’ve heard from parents in similar situations it is almost impossible to get any educational help without a diagnosis from a professional and even then in most cases the fighting isn’t over. Access to support is often discussed in our Helpp coffee mornings and for a lot of us it has been a struggle. I also doubt that in today’s economic climate and squeezed budgets many SENCOs have the luxury of time to “pander” to parents’ theories and ideas without a solid professional back up.

For me this article highlighted far more. We are the first generation of google parents and we have come to expect that the solution to all our educational woes are a click away. We are then looking for validation from teaching staff that according to the National Careers Service are only expected to complete limited SEN training unless they choose to become a dedicated SEN teacher. I would say to teachers that it is ok to share that they don’t know or are unsure and redirect parents to the traditional avenues. But please don’t dismiss us, our approach may be misguided but our concerns are real.

To the read the full Guardian article click here

Helpp organises a series of coffee mornings where parents and carers discuss various issues including access to support. Our next coffee mornings will be held on 3 July and 4 September 2015. For more information click here