Last updated: February 18, 2019
Topic: EducationSchool
Sample donated:

Describe, analyse and evaluate how psychological theory can support individuals with additional needs within an environment. The wide range of Special educational needs (SEN) , meaning schools have to be adaptable and diverse to cater for the wide range of additional needs. This essay will briefly describe the range of SEN and outline how historical findings, government strategies and different psychological theories have changed the way SEN are approached. Types of SEN: Autism was first described by the American Leo Kanner in 1943’ (Hodder Arnold. , 2002. ,) Students with Autism are known to suffer from social problems and find it hard to understand different social situations so would need consistency and routine in their lives along with extensive group exercises. Asperger’s Syndrome is another form of autism and students with the syndrome will have many of the symptoms of those with autism however they are usually better at holding conversation and are not quite as detached from the world.

As it is an Impairment of social skills so those with the syndrome would need constant attention and social communication. ADD (attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are also very common, although children with ADHD or ADD are easily distracted and can be very hyper ADHD has no relation to intelligence. (NHS Choices) Children with ADHD/ADD need structure and clear communication, along with rewards and consequences for their behaviour to help overcome the symptoms.

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Global developmental affects 1% to 3% of children (www. neurology. org) this condition is a delay in two or more of the learning processes such as speech or social interaction. There are also many types of physical SEN including conditions such as Cerebral palsy which affects the unconscious ability to contract or relax muscle (NHS Choices). Another very common SEN is Down syndrome which is a disorder ‘in which a person has an extra chromosome 21’ (Hodder Arnold. 2002) An Introduction to Children With Special Needs. ) this SEN may require a lot of adaption in an educational setting as cases can vary and differ in many ways and people with Down syndrome usually have delayed development which would require the curriculum to be adapted to suit their learning. The two SEN I have decided to focus on are Dyslexia as well as children who are gifted and talented as I they are very prominent in schools as well as being an area of personal interest to me.

Dyslexia, Dyspraxia And Dyscalculia are all from the Greek language and all affect learning in different areas those with Dyscalculia will have trouble with numbers, those with Dyspraxia will have physical difficulties and those with Dyslexia will have trouble with words. Students who are gifted and talented may not have any difficulties learning but still have SEN as Hodder Arnold highlights ‘the schools inspectorate (OFSTEAD) has highlighted the fact that often the most able children in schools are not receiving satisfactory education’.

Meaning the higher attaining student’s are not being challenged. History of SEN: In the last fifty years many changes have been towards the education of students with SEN many of which have had positive advantages and have given those with SEN more options and learning opportunities. In the early 20th century SEN were viewed from the medical model perspective which focused on those with defects rather than normality and children were given cate¬gories according to their diagnostics emphasising their problems rather than their potential.

In 1944 the Education reforms act split SEN into 11 categories in order to decide the appropriate measures that could be put in place to assist them. The 11 categories were vague and didn’t specifically target any diagnosed SEN, dyslexia would have been under the category of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). The act did not mention those who are gifted and talented. The 60’s and 70’s behaviourists approached children with spe¬cial needs in a very different manner as they rejected the medical model idea and focused on helping children with special needs.

They believed teachers could change the way they approach different SEN and make amendments for those who needed it in order to cater for their needs. In 1978 The Warnock report set out to provide provisions for handicapped children in ordinary schools. The report focused on many subjects that can be seen as important towards dyslexic students such as the proposal to drop categorisation as this would enable students to be seen as individuals rather than a group of students with similar needs meaning IEPs could be implemented to help them.

The report also suggested extra teacher education to enable teachers to understand the need for curricular considerations for certain students. In 1981 the Education act made it a legal requirement to assess children in order to discover the scale of their learning difficulties; this would specifically target student’s individual needs which can be seen as a great advantage. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) was implemented in 2001 to ensure that disabled students are not discriminated against in education or any other learning environments.

The Act included a wide range of opportunities to be made for those with SEN such as field trips, courses and work placements in order for them to socialize with people with equal learning difficulties. Gifted and talented: Looking at the history of SEN it would appear that there is very little recognition of students who are gifted and talented until 2007 when The Young Gifted and Talented programme was introduced. This program specifically aims to challenge students and offer opportunities for them to get in touch and associate with other young people who are equally gifted and talented.

By doing this students should gain a sense of belonging, and in turn make them realize that they have a gift and encourage them to reach their potential. Dyslexia: In many cases dyslexia can be a problem for a learner that remains undiscovered and the learner can go through life believing they have a slight problem spelling or reading, however from 2007-2008 there was a 22% rise in dyslexic students reviving extra time in their GCSE’s. 5% extra time can be issued by any school without government approval. As dyslexic students often have trouble processing information and often need to repeat a process such as reading or thinking extra time is essential as it allows for this to be incorporated into their allocated time. There are many tests to assess dyslexia some tests will simply indicate if you have dyslexia others are much more intricate and will assess the severity and the specific areas of struggle.

The full assessment for dyslexia is a test that would normally take around 3 hours and include a written report with recommendations for the type support that could help the specific student. The test can be carried out by a qualified person who would need to have the AMBDA accreditation, this is a qualification teachers can obtain to give them the right to assess students with possible dyslexia and allows them make recommendations to the government for help to be put in place during external examinations such as extra time for those with dyslexia.

Physiological Theory: A humanistic theorist believes that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs must be met in order for a learner to reach their potential. Maslow states in his hierarchy that a sense of belonging is needed in order to learn. For Gifted and talented students the Young Gifted and Talented programme was implemented which ensures this need is met as it surrounds them with other people with equal additional needs through group activities and meetings.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs starts off with learners physical needs which would include food and water and simple mandatory requirements. The hierarchy then states that the learner should be safe, and more importantly have a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is an important factor for students with SEN as being in groups of people with the same additional needs would give them this sense and allow them to reach their potential.

However on the other hand if a student is diagnosed with an SEN they may feel isolated and different from the rest of their class, this would take away their sense of belonging this would indicate putting students with similar SEN in groups would be an essential part of their learning. Students with SEN as would have belief in their own capabilities and feel they can achieve their goals; diagnosis of an SEN could also become a learning barrier for a child as it could prove to be a Confidence knock and would take away their self esteem.

Looking at other SEN the physical needs of the learner might need to be adapted. A child with a physical disability such as Cerebral palsy would need to have additional support with safety as it can cause them to unconsciously move, meaning they would need to be constantly monitored. A cognitive approach to SEN would include adaptions to the stages of learning as the cognitive theory is based on scaffolding and learning at different stages.

People with SEN learn at a different rate, Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory looked at introducing a new curriculum for different SEN, including children with dyslexia. Gardner’s theory included the assessment of dyslexic children and changing the curriculum to suit their needs. Behaviourists made a change to the way SEN were approached in the 60’s and 70’s as they had a much more positive view and would use operant conditioning techniques such as encouragement and rewards to help and encourage students.

A typical Behaviourist approach to someone who might have dyslexia could involve rewards being given to students after they complete work. This would encourage them to work and achieve as they would associate the work they have done with a reward which could motivate and encourage them to do more and improve on the areas of struggle. In reflection it would appear that it could be a hard task to successfully teach students with SEN however success can still be achieved if teachers are aware of the difficulties implemented by specific SEN.

If schools and teachers combine ideas from cognitive theorists, and behaviourists as well as considering humanistic methods like Maslow’s Hierarchy then students with SEN will be able to reach their potential and learn effectively. With Dyslexic and gifted and talented students most of the theories and methods of aiding them are easy to implement in an everyday classroom. The structure of the lesson would not need to be adapted to cater for their additional needs. Although more sever SEN may benefit from special schools as their needs are too great to incorporate them into an everyday lesson.


TypeIn Text RefrenceSource Website ADHD has no relation to intelligence. (NHS Choices)http://www. nhs. uk/Conditions/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/Pages/Introduction. aspx Websiteaffects 1% to 3% of children (www. neurology. org)http://www. neurology. org/content/60/3/367. full Websitecauses the unconscious ability to contract or relax muscle (NHS Choices)http://www. nhs. uk/Conditions/Cerebral-palsy/Pages/Symptoms. aspx BookHodder Arnold highlights ‘the schools inspectorate (OFSTEAD) has highlighted the fact that often the most able children in schools are not receiving satisfactory education’Hodder Arnold.  2002. , An Introduction to Children With Special Needs, p126 Book‘Autism was first described by the American Leo Kanner in 1943’Hodder Arnold. , 2002. , An Introduction to Children With Special Needs, p59 Book‘in which a person has an extra chromosome 21’ (Hodder Arnold. , 2002. , An Introduction to Children With Special Needs. )Hodder Arnold. , 2002. , An Introduction to Children With Special Needs, p62 Bibliography: SourceReference Website http://www. primarytimes. net/parent_times_parenting_young_gifted_talented_children. hp Website http://www. direct. gov. uk/en/Parents/Schoolslearninganddevelopment/ExamsTestsAndTheCurriculum/DG_10037625 Website http://www. guardian. co. uk/education/2008/feb/12/schools. uk3 BookHodder Arnold. , 2002. , An Introduction to Children With Special Needs. BookJoy Pollock, Elisabeth Waller and Rody Pollitt. , 2004. , Day to Day Dyslexia in the Classroom Second Edition. Website http://www. guardian. co. uk/education/2008/feb/12/schools. uk3 Website http://www. bdadyslexia. org. uk