Monitoring development through observations, making assessments and targeting interventions can help lessen the likelihood of delays for children who are already at risk and can also prevent children who are not at risk from becoming at risk. Early intervention services include a variety of different resources and programmes that provide support to enhance a child’s development. These services are specifically tailored to meet a child’s individual needs. Services include: ? Assistive technology (devices a child might need) ? Audiology or hearing services ? Counselling and training for a family ?
Educational programmes ? Medical services ? Nursing services ? Nutrition services ? Occupational therapy ? Physical therapy ? Psychological services ? Respite services ? Speech/language Identify and meet any additional educational needs The Education Acts and the SEN Code of Practice provide frameworks for settings to identify and meet any additional educational needs. The Education Act 1996 states that a child or young person has special educational needs if “he or she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her”.
Children with special educational needs all have learning difficulties and/or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most other children of the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age. The extra or different help could be a different way of teaching certain things, some help from an extra adult, or the use of a particular piece of equipment like a computer or a desk with a sloping top. Children may require extra or different help because they suffer from one or more difficulties such as: ?
Physical or sensory difficulties ? Emotional and behavioural problems ? Problems with thinking and understanding ? Difficulties with speech and language ? How they relate to and behave with other people These problems could mean that a child has difficulties with all of their school work or problems could arise in particular areas of their work such as: ? Understanding information ? Reading, writing and number work ? Expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying ? Behaving properly in school ? Organising themselves?
Forming relationships with other children or with adults The law says that children do not have learning difficulties just because their first language is not English, but of course some of these children may have learning difficulties in addition. To help make an early identification of those children who may have special educational needs, schools must regularly measure children’s performance and progress. These assessments can be made by referring to: ? Ongoing observation and assessment monitored by the teacher ?
Standardised screening or assessment tools ? The outcomes from baseline assessment results ? The objectives specified in the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy Frameworks ? The level descriptions within the National Curriculum at the end of a key stage The aim of any intervention is to provide as much help as is required, but not to intervene more than is necessary. The three levels of support that are set out in the Code of Practice are: 1. School Action (or Early Years Action for younger children) 2.
School Action Plus (or Early Years Action Plus for younger children) 3. Provision outlined in a statement of SEN School action Once practitioners have identified that a child has special educational needs, the setting should intervene through School Action (or Early Years Action for younger children). At this level of support the class teacher, the school’s special educational needs coordinating officer (SENCO), a Home Learning College. Learning Support Assistant (LSA) or another member of the school’s staff gives the child extra help.
The child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which gives details of the targets the pupils must work towards and the action/support that is required to help them to achieve those targets. IEPs will usually be linked to the main areas of literacy, mathematics, behaviour and social skills. The parents must be consulted and involved so that they too can help their child at home, in line with what the school is doing. The aim of School Action is to make it possible for the child to progress to the point where they no longer need extra help.
School action plus If the intervention made as a result of School Action is not helping the child to meet his/her targets, the SENCO may need to seek advice and support from external sources, such as teaching support services and other agencies. An Educational Psychologist might be consulted to plan what forms of intervention might best help the pupil achieve the targets set out in his/her Individual Education Plan (IEP). This kind of intervention is referred to as School Action Plus (or Early Years Action Plus for younger children).
The aim of School Action Plus support is to enable a child to progress so that they move from School Action Plus to School Action, or no longer need any extra help at all. Individual Education Children who are recognised as having SEN are entitled to an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as part of the School Action or School Action Plus process. An IEP should record what is different from, or additional to, those arrangements that are in place for the rest of the group or class.
An IEP is written by the class teacher to help the parents and the school identify the child’s needs and to target areas of particular difficulty. Typically they focus on three or four targets that match the child’s needs. This document records the strategies that are to be employed to enable the child to progress. It should also show the steps that are to be taken to support the child’s learning and set a date for reviewing their progress. It will normally include information about: ? Learning targets for the child to reach in a given time ? Who will support the child and how that support will be organised ?
What materials and methods should be used It may not always be possible to set measurable targets for every area of the curriculum, nevertheless, where targets are used, they can help individual pupils to focus energy and resources on raising standards in critical areas of the child’s school life. A statutory assessment In a great many cases, the individual needs of a child with SEN can be met via access to specialist approaches and equipment or to alternative or adapted activities that are available through School Action or School Action Plus.
But there are a few exceptional circumstances, where children require more support than these two processes can provide. If the child does not make the expected advancement despite these measures, the school can ask the local education authority (LEA) to carry out a Statutory Assessment of special educational needs. The Statutory Assessment is a formal process where the LEA seeks advice from a number of different sources, for example: ? Educational advice ? Parental advice ? Medical advice ? Psychological advice ? Social services advice ?
Any other advice which is considered desirable At the end of the process the LEA will decide whether or not to issue the child with a statement of special educational needs. This statement describes all the child’s needs and special help requirements. There are many different types of professionals who can offer support to children who are not following the expected pattern of development, the support is usually coordinated by the schools, SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). If a child starts school with a disability the SENCO will have been informed by the child’s parents prior to the child starting.
The child may already be receiving support from a number of professionals. For example a child with a physical disability may well be receiving treatment from a physiotherapist, with exercises given to strengthen their gross motor skills. The physiotherapist will co-ordinate with the SENCO as to the needs of the child and advise the school on what sort of support is needed in school to encourage development. Whist at school if a teacher becomes concerned about the development pattern of a child, they would inform the SENCO who is responsible for the identification of special needs.
The SENCO would in turn speak to the child’s parents about their child’s development, and depending on the area of development concerned, suggest an assessment by an outside professional. The professional would in turn give the SENCO advice as to how the child should be supported in school in order to encourage development, this may involve the school providing support or it may involve the professional giving direct support.
It is important that any needs are identified so that the correct support/intervention is given in order to prevent the development delay getting worse and spreading to other areas of the child’s development.
Some of the interventions used are explained below. What is early intervention? Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as: ? physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking); ?cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems); ?communication (talking, listening, understanding); ?social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and ?
self-help (eating, dressing). Examples of early intervention services | If an infant or toddler has a disability or a developmental delay in one or more of these developmental areas, that child will likely be eligible for early intervention services. Those services will be tailored to meet the child’s individual needs and may include: ? Assistive technology (devices a child might need) ?Audiology or hearing services ?Speech and language services ?Counseling and training for a family ?Medical services ?Nursing services ?Nutrition services ?Occupational therapy ?Physical therapy?
Psychological services Services may also be provided to address the needs and priorities of the child’s family. Family-directed services are meant to help family members understand the special needs of their child and how to enhance his or her development. Who’s eligible for early intervention? Early intervention is intended for infants and toddlers who have a developmental delay or disability. Eligibility is determined by evaluating the child (with parents’ consent) to see if the little one does, in fact, have a delay in development or a disability.
Eligible children can receive early intervention services from birth through the third birthday (and sometimes beyond). For some children, from birth | Sometimes it is known from the moment a child is born that early intervention services will be essential in helping the child grow and develop. Often this is so for children who are diagnosed at birth with a specific condition or who experience significant prematurity, very low birth weight, illness, or surgery soon after being born. Even before heading home from the hospital, this child’s parents may be given a referral to their local early intervention office.
For others, because of delays in development | Some children have a relatively routine entry into the world, but may develop more slowly than others, experience set backs, or develop in ways that seem very different from other children. For these children, a visit with a developmental pediatrician and a thorough evaluation may lead to an early intervention referral. Parents don’t have to wait for a referral to early intervention, however. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you may contact your local program directly and ask to have your child evaluated.
That evaluation is provided free of charge. If you’re not sure how to locate the early intervention program in your community—keep reading. We give that information a bit further down the page. However a child comes to be referred, evaluated, and determined eligible, early intervention services provide vital support so that children with developmental needs can thrive and grow. The Early Intervention Grant (EIG) replaced a number of centrally directed grants to support services for children, young people and families.