I am no expert in children with “special needs”, “learning difficulties” or whichever “label” you wish to use and my own children have grown up and passed school age.
Yesterday’s phone-in on 5Live Breakfast was ‘Are we too quick to label our kids?’
I didn’t manage to catch the whole programme, but the bits I did hear made me question the way we approach children who need help, especially with, or at, school and were worrying in the least.
The callers told of their experiences with their children, whether a label would help etc. This ranged from the school picking up on a learning problem I.e dyslexia straight away and dealing with it, to league tables being more important and ignoring the problem and batting the parents calls away.
The numbers of children needing help appears to have risen. In my opinion this is because detection is a lot better, hence the rise.
Sometimes, I’ll agree we are too quick to label and some children are slow starters, does this mean we ignore them?
Regardless of whether it has a label, or not, (the consensus I think is that the label is good because it channels the child in the right direction), in this day and age it is scandalous that it depends on which school your child attends dictates how (or whether) a problem is detected and how it is dealt with.
When a parent knows there is a problem but is ignored by Heads, there IS a problem. One caller told of a history of dyslexia in the family and how the youngest child’s showed signs of it, but had to wait until that child was eight and a half before tests were done.
Another to told of how they told the school about their child being called a ‘retard’ by another child. Only to be told by the school that they would look into it, but as they didn’t witness, it would be hard to prove the child didn’t make it up, oh and that bullying doesn’t start until the age of 10.
Whether this is a SATS or league table problem etc. should not prevent the minority of children who have ‘learning difficulties’ getting the care they clearly need, whichever school they attend.
I’m sure it’s not a simplistic as it seems, but pure common sense tells us this just isn’t right.
(examples given are as I remember them and not verbatim)