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too young to label


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Hi all, we have a child in our early years setting with suspected sen although she is going through various tests and referrals, she has no diagnosis. It is very early days for the family. She needs to be monitored at all times for the safety of other children which obviously impacts on staffing levels. Although we feel we are making some progress behaviour wise, we are very aware that the other children have picked out that she is different (and you know how tales go home with them) so we are concerned that

  • The family does not end up alienated and labelled (through the children's tales to parents)
  • The children in the setting deal with the fact that we do need to treat her differently but don't see it as unfair(?)
  • We maintain safe staffing levels despite needing to give almost one to one attention at times-I am right to think there is no extra help avail until a child is statemented?
  • We maintain Eq ops & we are totally inclusive and accessible for all families.

Or am i being over sensitive?

Thanks in anticipation, AA

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There should be no negative stories for children to be passing on to their parents if you're managing the situation effectively within the setting so there should be no reason for the family to be alienated. If this is happening, perhaps you need to review the interventions you use to keep all of the children safe and also monitor the language used by staff that may be repeated by the children.

Your setting ethos should be about celebrating diversity and understanding that equality isn't about being treated the same. If this is an issue maybe consider doing more work on identifying and celebrating all the diverse views, cultures, customs, needs and experiences throughout the setting. Make it meaningful to the children by identifying small differences, perhaps in what everybody has for breakfast or how their bedtime routines differ rather than just looking a different cultures in the wider world. Children tend to be accepting of differences if the adults around them are. I've only been aware of children raising things as being unfair when there is an adult around who thinks that too.

You need to speak to your early years advisor about what your LA could provide in terms of additional support or funding. The child's parents should also speak to their local Parent Partnership Service who can advise them on their child's rights and who to approach to ensure they are met.

"We maintain Eq ops & we are totally inclusive and accessible for all families."

What, in particular, is it that you are finding challenging?

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Great reply from Upsy Daisy! Not much to add except that I too have found that young children are incredibly accepting of children with additional needs, however, the same is not always true for their parents. Be careful to always be aware of confidentiality and ensure that your equal opps/inclusion policy makes it clear that parents must also adopt /adhere to the policy when on the premises.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great replies as usual. What are the behaviours that need monitoring? Is it because she is at a particular stage in her development in terms of how she reacts to her peers? I've been guilty in the past of expecting particular behaviours from a child but when I've looked at their developmental profile, they were at a much younger stage and my expectations were completely unrealistic. Are the activites you're offering appropriate to her stage of development, sensory experiences are usually best. There are lots of ideas at http://theimaginationtree.com/tag/sensory-play

 

Different authorities work differently in terms of additional funding, it's always worth asking but I'd also look at why you need an additional member of staff, what would they do that you can't do, what have you tried already? This is the type of evidence that would be needed to apply for funding. Have you got a Play Plan or Individual Education Plan (IEP) and have you made contact (with parental permission) with the other professionals involved for some advice?

 

I'm always in awe of how accepting children are of differences, they put adults to shame! As Upsy Daisy said, explain that this child needs help to do ..... and this child needs help to ...... and you need help to ...... because everyone is different. It's about giving children what they need (I realise this is easier said than done!) and if you plan and adapt your experiences to meet each child's needs, children won't even realise what you're doing differently.

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