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Why is there a separate section for special needs in Education?

(166 Posts)
depankrispaneven Wed 01-Jan-14 16:07:11

Wouldn't it just be simpler to include something referring people to the more active SN section further down the page? And indeed to put that section immediately underneath the Education section?

colditz Sat 04-Jan-14 11:47:33

It's not negative. My older son does have special needs. My younger son does not.

Everyone, everyone on the face of this planet, has slightly different need than everyone else. Ds2 does not have special needs because he self administers his medication when he needs it and it impacts on nobody. It stopped being a special need when he was about four.nSame with me. I don't have special needs because I don't need ANYONE ELSE to do something for me.

Ds1 needs someone else to intervene and support him with some aspects of his life that children his age are expected to be able to cope with alone. That is a special need.

I would say that SEN is different to SN in education, but that SEN could still be classed as SN in education, if you wanted one topic (I don't think that SNinE could come under SEN)

SNinE could include, to use the examples above, how a school has to provide accommodation for asthma or epilepsy, but they wouldnt imo come under SEN.

Personally for SNinE I would call it "Disability and health requirements in education" though, i think?

zzzzz Sat 04-Jan-14 11:56:32

The fact you are dependent on a drug/equipment rather than a person is not the point. SN is not about the impact you have on others it is about what is required to even the playing field.

CatherineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 04-Jan-14 11:56:41

Thanks for the comments and please keep them coming.

colditz Sat 04-Jan-14 12:00:47

That's your opinion and you're welcome to it, but my opinion is different. I disagree with you.

nennypops Sat 04-Jan-14 12:03:02

I think most people would understand special needs in children to be special educational needs. Do parents of children with disabilities but no learning difficulties normally describe them as having special needs? I can't say I've come across it.

But to bring this back to the initial issue, the fact is that most people wanting to discuss SEN ultimately migrate to the special needs group, and on any interpretation there is a BIG degree of overlap; whereas people posting in the thread under education often don't get the responses they need because it is relatively much more inactive. It does seem to me more logical to keep them all in one group, and to show it on the page near to the Education stuff.

I see where you are both coming from zzz and colditz, but I guess that if you counted everyone that had any medical need whatsoever as "special needs", it would water down the impact that disability has the people at the difficult end of the scale?

For instance, using an adult example, my mum has high blood pressure, my dad has hypothyroidism, I have inflammatory arthritis and my sister has PTSD. We are all medicated daily, but I am the only one that is "disabled", and that is measured on a purely physical level, because my medication does not solve the problem, just allegedly help it

zzzzz Sat 04-Jan-14 12:10:16

Well I think that to be a "disability" the impact on your life has to be "substantial". (I think on going too or everyone with a broken leg would be disabled rather than "injured")

Beccadugs Sat 04-Jan-14 12:10:23

Perhaps it is helpful to have a seperate place to post about educational things for SN families.

I work with lots of families who's SN/SEN children find getting the right school place/help in school very very difficult. Perhaps it is useful to have a specific place where "education" people who can help are more likely to see the topics.

I could be wrong though!

bruffin Sat 04-Jan-14 12:16:03

My ds has spld and a few other mildish health issues. Most of the help i need i get from the secondary boards. I get the impression the SN boards are cliquey and i dont like the bullying of those who dont follow the party line

StripyPenguin Sat 04-Jan-14 12:20:26

*Beyond said: SNinE could include, to use the examples above, how a school has to provide accommodation for asthma or epilepsy, but they wouldnt imo come under SEN."

I would agree with that, though I'd prefer it to be called 'additional needs' rather than special needs. All children are special and so are all their needs, just some have additional ones. That goes way beyond what an area on MN is called though!

bruffin Sat 04-Jan-14 12:22:07

Meant to saybuse the allergies boards for allergies , and his epilepsy problem is incredibly rare and i havent com e across anyone on these boards who has it

hazeyjane Sat 04-Jan-14 12:25:46

I get the impression the SN boards are cliquey and i dont like the bullying of those who dont follow the party line

Bruffin, slightly off topic but I am getting tired of people accusing the posters on the sn boards as being cliquey and bullies, I would hate people to be put off because they see one of these posts and believe it to be true - if you believe you are being bullied, then you should take it up with mnhq.

KatyMac Sat 04-Jan-14 12:41:40

I get tied up in knots about this so if I offend please forgive me

I like "additional needs"; as a practitioner I consider additional needs this could be:
A substantial physical difficulty
A learning difficulty
A sensory difficulty
A food allergy

but it could also be:
Parents going through a divorce (or indeed a marriage)
Moving house
A broken leg
A bereavement
Potty training
Starting school/Nursery

as they are all times when I alter my practise (practice?) in order to make life a little easier (more accessible?) for the child

For me it's about treating the child as an individual and knowing the family; I feel (perhaps wrongly) that in school (for example) the groups of children are larger and the closeness that I can develop in my setting wouldn't be possibly (eg 1 teacher 30 children) plus I have a wide age range so I can easily alter my provision for that child with the equipment & skills I already have.

When DD was 'disabled' (visually impaired with a psychological issue) I was shocked at the wide range of accommodation that could/couldn't be made in school & the attitudes of the teachers to her problem.

She now has asthma which she doesn't consider a disability, but I do - because when she gets a 'cold' it can mean 3-10 days off school depending on the severity and how it hits. The asthma isn't her disability it's how her body reacts to minor viruses due to the asthma (if that makes sense?)

Again no intent to impose my views - just to explain how I feel

zzzzz Sat 04-Jan-14 12:45:48

bruffin I'm really sorry that you find the SN board cliquey shock. I post there a lot but am following my own line for my children. I have found people to be very tolerant of that, so can't identify with your characterisation. What is it that makes you feel that way? I've heard it said before and it would probably help everyone if we addressed it rather than just kept plodding on. (As a total aside my youngest has epilepsy in very unique way. [wave] )

bruffin Sat 04-Jan-14 12:57:02

I have taken it up with MN Hazeyjane. It wasnt me that was being bulied but other carers have been and i reported it because Mn was condoning it. They did seem to understand the points i made. But i do get the impression they listen to those who shout and swear the loudest.
I do think many posters are put off by what goes on MN

JadedAngel Sat 04-Jan-14 12:58:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JadedAngel Sat 04-Jan-14 13:00:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I agree with SNinE being renamed "Additional needs in education" and with KatyMacs list, and then keeping SEN separate, but linked to in ANinE smile

zzzzz Sat 04-Jan-14 13:48:52

Perhaps what we need is a sort of anti-room to the SN boards for people who have questions that are "borderline" and to dabble in IYKWIM.
For example you won't find a better place for ideas on how to make a hospital stay easier, or get medicine into the intransigent.

PolterTurkey Sat 04-Jan-14 13:56:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKingsThree Sat 04-Jan-14 14:58:16

Bruffin, the SN board doesn't have a party or a party line. All views, perspectives are challenged regularly which is what most people think is it's main value.

The only vague 'party line' I can think of is that it is assumed that each poster is seeking the most effective strategies for their child, their family and their relationship with their child's school or LA, which is WHY whatever your stance you will face alternative perspectives.

moosemama Sat 04-Jan-14 15:15:31

Well, I started out venturing into SNinE when I first had concerns about my eldest ds. Yes, it was quiet, but I was listened to, advised and ultimately directed to the SNChildren board - which is where I suddenly found immeasurable support and understanding.

The folks on the SN boards have helped me navigate both the assesment and educational sides of identifying what the issue was with ds and from there helped carry me through making sure he is properly supported.

He is another one who doesn't struggle academically, in fact he is extremely capable academically, but without additional support he simply wouldn't be able to access the curriculum and achieve what he is capable of.

Conversely, a year or so ago I discovered ds2 had a disability that we had been unaware of, but increasingly causes him lot of pain and distress. Again, the folks on the SN boards helped me work out what the problem was and seek out the right referrals for a formal dx to be made.

Ds2 is not on the SEN register at school, but, he does have a care plan and the school keeps some of his medication to administer when necessary. He has also had medical professionals visit the school to advise staff on things like appropriate seating and equipment. Without that equipment (albeit fairly minor in the big scheme of things) and his needs being taken into account on a daily basis he would struggle to achieve - in fact his grades rapidly improved once his disability was identified and properly supported. Yet for some reason he is not considered to have SEN or SN according to school records, but is dealt with under a different heading, so-to-speak. confused

So I have both a child who has a neurological condition that requires a lot of support in order for him to meet his potential and another who has a physical disability, also requiring support and consideration by the school.

Essentially they both have a disability and they both have SNs, by my reckoning, based on the fact they both need support to access learning effectively they both also have SENs - apparently the educational system disagrees though.

Personally, I think the system we have works - it did for me. For those who are only just starting to realise their child may have issues (regardless of what they are) that need education support the SNinEducation board is probably where they would head first. If they're anything like I was, they might not be ready to jump headlong into the acceptance of their child's condition that comes with opting into the SN boards. The SNinEducation board is quiet, perhaps that's where we could make a difference, if we all made a bit more effort to check the board and reply to some of the threads, especially as we would then be more able to help gently redirect some of the posters to the SN boards if needs be.

As for the comments re bullying and cliqueyness on the SNBoards, it's something I have never experienced, having been on there for several years now. There will always be differences of opinions on every board and by it's very nature, the SN Board has a lot of exhausted, stressed parents on there who at one time or another may be feeling very sensitive, so it's never going to be plain sailing. I have to say though, that the vast majority of posters are genuinely lovely, caring people who give up their (often extremely precious) time to support others. Newcomers are always welcomed and whilst many of us have different beliefs and approaches to the care of our dcs, that doesn't get in the way of the genuine support on offer.

I would hate to think that someone might read one of the posts accusing the board of being cliquey and bullying and choose not to post, thereby missing out on such a wealth of knowledge, advice and support and would encourage anyone with any concerns about their dc/s to give it a try. I have never regretted it for a second.

StarlightMcKingsThree Sat 04-Jan-14 15:21:14

We coukd moose, but I've been on MN for 7years and as you know a daily poster on the SN boards and yesterday was the first day I learned of the SN IN Education topic.

zzzzz Sat 04-Jan-14 16:06:54

Just reread bruffins post

"But i do get the impression they listen to those who shout and swear the loudest."

I don't think there is much shouting and swearing on MNSN????? Have I entered a parallel universe? Why would HQ condone people being bullied on the SN boards? shock

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