The field of SEND is a very broad area, it embraces a wide range of specialists and perspectives: therapists, educators, regulators, parents, carers – and the young people themselves – all have a role to play, each with their own unique experiences and knowledge.
It is very easy these days to become too wrapped up in our own subject areas, with the insights and knowledge held by those around us failing to break into our own awareness and practices. This issue of SEN Magazine includes a number of articles which aim to break down these unconscious barriers, to share and expand knowledge and working practices based on the experience and expertise of others. Cheryl Smith describes the LightBulb programme (p38), an initiative which seeks to share insights gained from treating child mental health in complex and difficult situations. Konstantinos Rizos calls for a deeper relationship between therapists and educators, to fully integrate therapies into the personalised curricula of each child (p74). Tessa Philbert (p18) considers the interactions which take place between professionals and parents/carers, presenting a powerful case for inclusion of all perspectives in the decision making process.
Perhaps some of the most overlooked voices can be the children and young people themselves. Sarah Johnson (p40) presents the findings of a pupil-led survey which provides valuable insights and actionable views, directly from those most affected by the issues. Alex Robinson, Nicola Williams and Dr Rebecca Docherty (p26) shared their knowledge and experience to address the concerns raised by one pupil with autism, and describe the approach taken to help him develop a sense of self.
Going beyond the classroom, the theme of sharing experience and knowledge continues as students prepare themselves for the world of work. Renee Flourentzou (p44) describes how the establishment of a community based co-operative trust has enabled a breadth of knowledge and experience to be available for students as they move into the world of work. Peter Gaskell (p48) describes the inspirational effect of the establishment of a college digital news agency, staffed and run by pupils, with the support of local industry.
Elizabeth Holmes (p87) describes how looking outside of one’s narrow fields of experience can pay dividends when it comes to SEND recruitment, and whilst Alex Grady (p84) presents the case that well designed and structured development and training programmes for those already in work can have a positive effect by broadening the experience base of all professionals involved in the field.
If you have something to say about the topics raised in this issue, have ideas for areas we should be covering, but aren’t – or just want to let us know your views and opinions – then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally the SEN Team would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year.
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