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Changing the 'refer them' culture...

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by languageisheartosay, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    This is an interesting post. As a specialist myself, I sometimes get late referrals and think how much better it would have been if I'd met a child terms (if not years) before! However there is a great need for teachers nowadays to be prepared to be more flexible. It's no good doing it how you've always done it when the intake has changed. With a wide range of abilities, aptitude profiles and children with SEN in the mainstream classroom, it's vital to have many 'tricks' up your sleeve and be able - as in your example - to introduce 3D equipment and/or visuals to support some without it seeming a criticism. Chances are there are others who will benefit anyway.
    The move away from Statements where I am means there has been no point in asking for one unless the school has thrown absolutely everything within its repertoire at the problem and there has still been no progress. Schools often have really experienced people with excellent skills they could share - but do they?
    Could you find a way to make videos of your best using their special skills and have discussion groups with other teachers? So often, a real push to improve ones own skill range is to see someone using what you have available better than you do - and getting results!
    Good luck in your new post - you may not be popular but there's lots of scope for satisfying work and helping adults and children feel 'upskilled'.

     
  2. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    Thanks for your thoughts and it is interesting to hear your point of view about wishing you had seen kids earlier. I am not against referrals - far from it. After all, you are all specialists for a reason. Having some frank discussions with the specialists we use it has also emerged that they feel similarly to me and get frustrated at times that they are seen as some sort of 'magic pill'. Also it is hard for them when they have parents or teachers asking why a child is still struggling with language when they have had therapy for a term or something similar. What specialists do is currently seen as a separate entity and its not explicitly supported or continued in the classroom.

    I like the idea of the videos though so thanks for that :)
     
  3. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    Ah! Well, I won't work on language skills with a child in a school (at parents' expense) unless the school releases a TA to work with me AND do sessions of back-up during the week. I also ask for the current curriculum and do my level best to tie my language targets to it (because I soon sussed that the back-up was unlikely to happen if it didn't manage to coincide with classroom targets in some way). That is why you will see the majority of my resources on TES have close links to curriculum topics and targets even if the level has been simplified.
    A term to improve language would be a drop in the ocean by the way! (And I'm sure you are aware of this and it was just an example.) If a child with marked language delay is not referred until Y1, the scaffold on which the entire school input is added can be so shaky that the poor kid is not able to follow much of what goes on unless someone is providing all possible extras in the way of 'permanent trace' solid equipment, pictures etc. as we mentioned before.
     
  4. This made me smile . I recently took on a truly gifted teacher who grafts too! Her results in my own subject (I became HT and had to replace myself in the classroom) were frankly humbling. To the extent that quickly staff formed an orderly if slightly shamefaced queue to ask her how she does it. We have all picked up a few new tricks.
    Teachers can be remarkably resistant to change but also sometimes they really just don't know what to do and are paralyzed by the fear that they will do more harm than good, so empathise.
     
  5. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    Thanks for all these thoughts - definitely some things to think about and tryto implement. languageisheartosay I definitely agree with your policy of not doing any work with a child unless a TA is released to go with them etc as well - sadly that isn't really going to be an option very often at my school I don't think as TAs are a rarity - but I am looking into my options there. And yes your are quite right - I am obviously aware that a term is nothing in terms of language development and to be fair most of our parents are happy to pay for a year or more... they just sometimes have unrealistic expectations after 3 months (as do some of the teachers it has to be said!)
    I like the sound of some of your resources, I will be doing a search through now as our S&L therapist is lovely and has said to me she is happy to try and link in what she does to whatever else the child is doing in school - so thanks.
     

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