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Research project help

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by PP1987, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. PP1987

    PP1987 New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    Am hoping i can pick your brains!! I am in my final year of University and am conducting a research project upon the effectiveness of the current curriculum used within Moderate Learning Difficulty schools with a focus upon pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition. I've previously worked in a MLD setting and found that there is a great frustration for teachers in terms of the EYFS curriculum. We discussed how the curriculum doesn't allow the very basic "learning to learn" skills needed to address the so called deficit skills of children with ASC when they first come into the setting. Discussions so far have involved the need to move away from the curriculum however differentiated to utilise the teaching of basic skills required as a pre-requisite to learning such as the teaching of communication skills (PECs etc), attention skills (bucket groups) etc.

    Can i ask if this was just the case within my setting or do other settings have similar difficulties? Am i correct in thinking that all state MLD settings have to teach the NC as a basis but it can be differentiated for the individual needs of the pupil?

    My plan is to question parents, teachers and therapists in order to ask whether they want a focus placed upon these "learning to learn skills" within the Foundation Stage rather than skills such as literacy, maths etc. Depending on my results, i then hope to potentially investigate the idea of a Autism curriculum that address the skills needed for later learning/ living skills. I will mention inclusion issues of course within constructing such a curriculum but the focus will be on whether there is a need for a different curriculum for those with ASC from the ages of 4-7. Thinking along the lines of a Early Autism curriculum that teaches the 'learning to learn" skills as a pre-cursor to the EYFS currently used in MLD schools.

    Do hope i've explained this clearly (i don't think i have- my brain is full of ideas/ questions at the minute!) Its so hard to narrow such a topic down! I'd really welcome any views you have on this topic or any challenges you think i need to address.
    Looking forward to hearing from you all! :)
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I'm not quite sure I have understood your post, but I wanted to clarify that the EYFS does place a focus on the skills for learning. The curriculum for Early Years is split into seven areas, of which three are considered "prime areas": communication and language, PSED, and physical development. These are the areas that should be of primary importance within an Early Years classroom. Some attention should also be paid to children's development in four other areas (literacy, maths, understanding of the world, and expressive arts and design), but priority given to those prime areas which support development of key skills for learning. If the setting you work in places more emphasis on literacy and maths than on these key skills, that is the fault of the setting, not the curriculum.
  3. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    Hi Pippa,

    Are you familiar with SCERTS? That is an educational model designed for children with autism. I have not worked with it myself (you need a full training) but I have seen it in practice.

    Not fit for purpose, an article by Imray & Hinchcliffe might also be an interesting read. It was written for SLD/PMLD learners but nicely describes the problems with having to use the P Scaled while they don't really work.

    Our school (SEN) uses the EYFS for the nursery and reception classes, some of them are ASD as well and as far as I know the freedom that the EYFS gives works for them.
  4. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    full ref. for the really useful article is
    • Imray P and Hinchcliffe V (2012) Not Fit for Purpose: a call for separate and distinct pedagogies as part of a national framework for those with severe and profound learning difficulties. Support for Learning, 27 (4) 150-157.
    sofia_sen likes this.
  5. PP1987

    PP1987 New commenter

    Thanks for the reply :) and well done for reading my waffle!!

    My old setting followed the EYFS and the prime areas however feel more emphasis could be placed on skills such as teaching non verbal children to use PECS etc. It appeared to be "additional" to teach children how to use this rather than built in within the prime area of communication. Agree with you though that this is setting specific and not the fault of the Early Years curriculum.
    jumpingstar likes this.
  6. PP1987

    PP1987 New commenter

    Thanks for the reply! Yes I have heard a bit about SCERTS- currently starting to research it. Is it a replacement curriculum or an add on?
    Thank you for that article- will hunt it out now on the university library!! :)
    Everything I have read so far is fairly positive about the use of a differentiated EYFS curriculum but many practitioners I have spoken to feel that there is more scope to teach life skills/learning to learn within it as a basis for future learning. For example, one practitioner wanted to do lessons on dressing skills however this was contentious as was being done during PE slot. Other staff wanted children in the hall being busy with apparatus rather than spend that time on dressing/undressing. End result- practitioners dressed/undressed the children in order to get to PE. From speaking to parents however, they stated a priority over dressing skills rather than apparatus! I suppose my focus is on life skills and whether we do enough to aid learning in this area.
    Sorry- another wordy reply there!!! :)
  7. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    SCERTS, as I understand it, is a framework that deals with the areas that ASD students find most challenging. It won't give you any specific outcomes for science for example.

    Your example makes sense but I think it's about the choices you make as a teacher. My class goes swimming once a week and they are given as much time as they need for dressing. I also have 10-15 minutes slots for personal care during the day on the timetable because for me learning how to use the toilet and wash hands is as important as story time, for example. I know the same thing happens in the EYFS classes so maybe it's also very dependent on the school?

    I wholeheartedly agree there should be more focus on life skills than academics. Just need to convince the powers at the top :)
    jumpingstar and dzil like this.
  8. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    SCERTS is fabulous! I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone involved with SEN and particularly ASD. It stands for Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support and it is a framework designed to look at those areas across all situations and provide targets for those areas for an individual based on their current skills.

    Emily Rubin - one of the developers - has done a video presentation for the NAS on it that I could find a link for if anyone is interested? And I also found details this morning of a SCERTS course running in Middlesbrough (I think?!) in the not too distant future if you want the details I can get them up tomorrow.

    One of the best CPD I have ever done!
  9. PP1987

    PP1987 New commenter

    Ha- I'll wait for that pig to fly then!! :) You sound like a fabulous teacher- do you need a Teaching assistant by any chance!!? ;)
    Interesting how it all boils down to teachers and their priorities however. I'd love more of a focus on life skills etc but teachers I've spoken to say they struggle to fit in everything in to the school day but I suppose as you say that's where your own priorities as a teacher come in and how you organise the school day. Will definitely check out SCERTS today as it sounds fab! Thank you for your reply- really appreciate it x
  10. PP1987

    PP1987 New commenter

    Ooh yes please if you can find it that would be great. I'm at uni today so going to research away on SCERTS! Shame the course is too far for me- might arrange a visit to a local school that uses it to pick their brains as well! Do you know the government stance on using SCERTS? Are they welcoming it or is it setting driven?

    Thank you for your reply! :)
  11. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    Sorry missed your reply.

    Here is a link - hope it works
    sofia_sen likes this.
  12. PP1987

    PP1987 New commenter

    Sooooooo good! Thank you so much for posting this- much appreciated.
    senlady likes this.
  13. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    ah brilliant - glad you found it useful :D
  14. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    Very useful, thank you!

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