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As part of my SENCO role I have to attend so many days training each year and I went on a course yesterday entitled "Inclusion of children with medical/physical needs"

 

I was talking to practitioners who had children in pre-school with naso-gastric tubes, one child was totally oxygen dependant, another had sever anaphylaxis to name but a few. The course I am currently studying for my Foundation Degree is INclusive Education and i would be interested to hear any views on how you interpret the term "inclusive"

 

I personally think that wherever possible a child should be included in mainstream early years settings but I also feel that in making such a decision there are several issues that need consideration. One of these is the effect on the other children. whilst I do not necessarily agree, I can understand parents who want to protect their very young children from some of the severe illnesses and difficulties some children may have to face. ( I am trying to be political correct here on a sensitive issue and no offence is intended)

 

Whilst I applaud the lady I spoke to yesterday who tube feeds a child at snack time I can also understand those who would say other children could be distressed by this.

 

At the moment as far as I can see the onus of consideration is on the child with the medical/physical problem almost to the extent that they must be fully included at all costs. I think it is a much broader issue and just thought I would start this topic and see what everyone else thinks.

:o

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Hi Geraldine,

 

Inclusion:

 

Next assignment in my course (EY foundation degree) covers this.

 

This is inclusion in the broadest sense: not just SEN and disability issues. It needs to cover race, gender, EAL, family/background, ability, left/right preference, interests ..... in fact, everything.

 

I am finding this very difficult. I need to plan, execute and evaluate an activity around 'inclusion' (suggestions are sand, water, role play, etc).

 

Any tips when you get to grips with this will be more than welcome.

 

Diane.

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Hi Geraldine -

Thanks for the post. This post isn't intended to offer any help on it, but is solely intended to offer suggestions on moderating your responses.

 

Geraldine is obviously aware of the political sensitivities of the subject. This is one of those areas where people sometimes fall strongly into a particular camp, and won't entertain the idea that there can be any other acceptable points of view. I would urge anyone who feels tempted, to resist an outraged or sarcastic response to anyone else's point of view.

 

People need to be able to voice their fears, ideas and points of view on subjects like this, and the fastest way to shut down a conversation is to post an indignant response on either side with such absolute crushing conviction that anyone else entering into debate feels that they are accepting a challenge to fight! :o

 

I'm sure you all know this, and you're all such a good bunch of debaters here that I don't think it will happen, but my little flag was raised when I read this starter topic and I wanted to make sure the discussion was conducted in a way that ensures we all get the most from it! It's much more difficult to pacify people once they've started to fight ferociously than it is to persuade them to argue, persuade and contribute in a civilised way :)

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Ooops! I did think carefully before starting the post and tried to illustrate the sensitvity of the subject but am a little concerned now that I may have 'opened a can of worms'

 

At the course I was on we were talking hypothetically about a child with a specific medical problem and one of the people on the course actually had a child with this condition which understandably made things somwhat difficult for her.

 

Good luck Diane, yes inclusion is a very broad issue and does not just relate to children identified with special needs. It includes for example,the shy child who needs help and encouragement to join in any activity - all children being fully included in all the setting has to offer, quite a task really.

 

Sorry Steve, :o with hindsight maybe I should have asked you before starting the post? If you think it's not a good idea please delete it

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I agree geraldine that this is a very sensitive issue and we are covering some of the issues at the degree i am doing. However reading all the post so far it has supported something my friend and I were discussing recently. Inclusion now is part of every day life, any good teacher, nursery nurse, childminder does it at some level in their every day practice. I feel that the problem is it is seen as a taboo issue that shouldn't be discussed amoungst circles incase of as steve rightly said some strong responses. I don't have half as much experience as most of the people who post on the website however i am very intersted in the subject and question that if it not discussed (in the sensitive way steve suggested) how are we going to tackle and correctly support the more difficult 'cases' of inclusion'. this is my opinion only but I wonder whether if it is not discussed more are we not at risk of sweeping the problem under the carpet. Anyway I will shut up now and get off my soap box as steve said it is a very emotive issue but a very important one.

 

Jay :o

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Absolutely not, Geraldine. It's a great subject for debate and I'm looking forward to following it.

 

I just wanted to pre-empt some of the possible responses. What we've found (only very occasionally) is that some visitors will read a post like this which may be a hobby horse of theirs (from whatever point of view). They then get off the hobby horse, and onto a high horse, join up as a member and start hurling brickbats around (apparently under the impression that no-one else is entitled to a point of view).

 

And I wanted to make sure that with a subject as important as this, people know that they can disagree and argue without fear of it degenerating into a row. You were the first to recognise that it was a sensitive subject and I was just backing up your plea for sensitivity!

 

And Jay too has made the point that we need to talk about these things - or the children themselves will be worse off. Sorry if I wasn't clear. :D

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Great topic so far, and I think it was important to get that stuff said.

In terms of inclusion generally, my current "bee in my bonnet" is the constant feeling that the SEN services in my area are always on the lookout to withdraw any 1-1 funding, and we are made to virtually beg for it. The last course I went on really came from the angle of "Don't just think about asking for funding for 1-1 care, try and sort it out yourselves!" This absolutely infuriates me, and I really am beginning to believe that we will all be expected to accept children with all sorts of special needs, ranging from physical to emotional to developmental, with no funding for the extra staff we will need. Of course I believe in inclusion, and truly see the value in all children attending mainstream provision, but ONLY when it is supported financially by the education authority.

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I clicked send accidentally on the last message!

 

I was going to add that I think every single case for inclusion has to be looked on its own merits. Two children with the same medical diagnosis may have very different needs and when it comes to children with special educational needs it is a very broad spectrum. It covers eveything from a mild speech impairment to profound and multiple difficuties. What is right for one may not necessarily be so for another.

 

I have little practical experience of inclusion with regard to children with special educational needs. We did have a little boy with a severe sight impairment but his specialist came to see us and was very helpful. It was practical things really, like making sure natural light was always behind him and artificial light in front. Any paper he used had to be very brightly coloured and big bright felt pens were the best medium for him to use. He was fully included and totally accepted by the other children.

 

From what I have read so far the powers that be seem to think that inclusion in early years settings is the answer to getting rid of "isms" in our society. Young children are so accepting and perhaps resilient maybe we could all learn from them. Introducing a disabled child to mainstream education at 11 is far more of a problem for all concerned than if they are introduced at a young age.

 

On my course the other day we watched a video of a severely physically disabled child in a mainstream nursery class. Her mother was thrilled with how well it was all going and her main hope was that her daughter could continue in mainstream education along with her peers.

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Sorry steve I was not aiming my comments on you, just voicing my general thoughts. So I apologise if you felt under attack! :o This year I was lucky enough to be involved with a school that was very inclusive and the nursery teacher happend to be the senco for key stage one.

What suprised me was it seemed to be her main job was applying for funding and sorting money issues, very little to do with integrating the children themselves. However we were lucky that the older children could effectively access the nursery which seemed to really encourage their development. i.e the concept of play is just as important to 10 year olds as three year olds.!! now theres a suprise !!!!. I must admit untill this year I had felt very intimidated by the prospect of working with children with severe learning difficulties but through working with such a positive team I do feel slightly less worried.

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This is a very interesting topic. We have an inclusive nursery two seconds walk away from us. It is purpose built and has lots of lovely equipment. It is not LEA however but a charitable group, with Sir Cliff Richard as one of its patrons.

I agree that some children will be able to cope with inclusion into main stream better than others. I also feel that parents need the support and the chance to make choices. Some years ago there was a lot of decision making going on in Stockport with a view to closing some of the special schools. There was a great push towards the majority of children being fully integrated into main stream. But there was quite a lot of resistance to this by parents of children with learning and medical needs. Some actually wanted their child in a secure, purpose built environment and some felt that their child would get left behind in a main stream school.

There are pluses and minuses for both ways but they both need to be available.

Linda

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Wow, what a fab discussion.

 

I had to add my bit as a teacher of SEN.

 

I feel that how totally inclusive one can be depends upon the child, severity or otherwise of any condition if medical, behavioural or physical and the support that the LEA will provide. Often not much.

 

One thing that we as a staff have noticed, and I am talking from an SEN perspective here, is that with the government policy upon inclusion, the needs of our clientele have changed as a consequence of the intake. We now have children of mainstream ability, but severe behaviour problems. Now, as a school for children with moderate learning difficulties, we are not trained for this...any more than some staff in a mainstream school. Yet we have been told that we have to take them or we could be out of jobs. This is fine for some staff who don't mind or can tolerate the spitting, hitting, biting, kicking etc, but some are extremely shocked and feel afraid of these children. These are not the children they got a job to work with.

 

Another element of children we are getting more of are those in wheel chairs which has severe implications upon staffing and resources and the activities that we can/ can't do because of the in accessibility of places for trips etc. We have had to get special minibuses, a physio room, extra assistants and these children are not getting the right level of support because we have a building that is not built to accommodate wheel chairs etc. Whist we make every effort to be fully inclusive, I question how we can be when we have to fight for every penny for every resoure, human or otherwise.

 

I don't quite know what I'm trying to say here...just waffling I think and definately not soap boxing.

 

But I do wonder if the government really though through the policy of inclusion and the effects upon children, staff attitude and training awhich in turn affects the children.

 

I've started to teach using the integrated day again, as we now have gov. permission to be more creative in our teaching. I wonder when we will have the policy of inclusion reversed?? <_<

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Do the government ever think much of anything through before they foist it onto schools, nurseries, pre-schools etc? It was the same with the national curriculum, self management for schools, the desirable learning outcomes. They seem to make decisions and want them implemented immediately without due consideration and its the staff working at the grass roots who have to sort it all out!!! I'm not saying that these things are all bad and have failed but they needed too much changing and tweeking, things that should and could have been sorted out before implementation!

Linda

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Hi Linda

 

I think the answer is no!!!

 

I am currently writing an assignment for my inclusive education course on the topic of traveller education.

 

Nearly every local council has a TES (traveller education service) I actually worked for my local one for a short while and it was a real eye opener but thats another story ( I only left as the work was with children 11yrs and upwards and my heart is with early years!)

 

What my research has found to date is that the government is ploughing financial support into local services to ensure all traveller children have full access to mainstream education,but and it is a big BUT

every web site I have visited has horror stories of the travelling communities being ostracised by society in general. One of my resources for my assignment is a statement by a local council entitled "THE Gypsy Problem!!!" He is up in arms about the lack of support from police and bailiffs to enforce the law and move them on. He appeals to the local people not to employ travellers to do jobs around their homes etc etc some pubs and shops have "No travellers" signs outside. Yet the same council has a TES trying to get them into schools. To me it doesnt add up!!

 

This is just one small area of inclusion and its a real minefield. I am sure there are many more.

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Your right it doesn't seem to make sense. Talk about being stuck in the middle why is it that the government who devise these ideas seem to lack common sense in seeing how their policies can/ can not be realistically implemented.

 

By the way does anyone know what is meant by the term social justice? It was brought up in my lecture today and wasn't fully explained. :o

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Hi Jay

 

I will try!! Whether or not it will make any sense remains to be seen!

 

I would say in summary that it is the oppositie of discrmination of any sort.

 

It is related in some way to the latest amendment to the race relations act which came about after the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

 

In terms of SEN children are for example being discriminated against because of their ethnicity. For example an african child whose native tongue is not English is being discriminated against because of her origin. He/or she could have SEN that has nothing to do with the language issue. The way the child is seen is now considered socially unjust.

 

Its an attempt to socially accept ALL regardless of socio- economic background or anything else, to move away from pre-conceived ideas of certain groups and not make assumptions.

 

If this doesnt make any sense give me a shout and I will try harder!

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Thank you geraldine,

Correct me if I am wrong!!

Is it true to say then that social injustice is when you take account of a child's abilities or inabilities without seeing all the implications surrounding that issue such as their ethnic background. :o

Thanks again.

:DxD:D

 

Jay

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In a word I would say "Yes!" but I am no expert it is just my personal undestanding of it!

 

When considering a child I would consider everything and that has to include background. it's seemingly a case of not honing in on the race issue and using it as a cause of learning difficulites. I was unaware this happened really but apparently it does and over time it has created fuel for those with prejudices and resulted in the marginalisation of members of ethnic minorities. Of course this is going in the wrong direction towards the promotion of inclusion hence this new social justice idea.

 

 

To be honest it is probably just another term just as "inclusion" is now the in word and "integration" is out of date. By the time we fully understand the connotations it will probably be replaced with some new fangled one!!!

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Got it! so basically it means seeing the child and the background for what they are and not making assumptions on the links between the two. I can now see the distinction between this and inclusion which is where I was getting completely confused! Phew, it's not easy is it!!

Thank you very much Geraldine I suppose I best return to my essay I have to sum up in 500 words what is inclusion!!!! :o

Thanks again :D:D

Jay

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Thanks geraldine :D and very true Kate!! I am qualifying this year so i have all this to come and it is frightening some of things I am going to have to implement as it is without having to worry that they might not even be reasonable requests!! :o

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Just wondered if anyone saw the programme on education on Ch 4 tonight. I didn't realise it was on and only caught the last half. It wasn't specifically on early years but the little I saw set me thinking on the subject of inclusive education.

 

My perception of the term inclusive used to be that it related to including children with special educational needs into mainstream settings. I now realise the implications are far more wide reaching.

 

The programme showed children excluded from schools on the grounds of religion ( church schools giving priority to children attending church) and on the grounds of sex ( single sex schools in some areas) then there is the question of the 11+ and the existance of private schools which exclude to pupils by the parents financial position.

 

I do know of a nursery attached to a girls private school that caters for 21/2-5 yrs but only takes girls!

 

Not quite sure why I am writing this but never mind! :o

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Any opiniions would be very welcome as I think my brain is addled!

 

With regard to including chidlren in all that the setting offers we recently did hand painting. One child with a severe skin disorder on her hands was, from a medical diagnosis not allowed to put paint on her skin. We made no big deal of this but provided a pair of small latex gloves. The child was thrilled, had a whale of a time and was fully included in the activity. One other child asked if she had 'poorly hands' but if anything the other children were generally particularly nice and supportive to the child.

 

However after the activity (and away from the children) adults raised differing points of view. One was that by providing gloves to allow the child to paint we were in fact excluding her by highlighting her as "different" from the other children. The answer would have been to change the activity so that all the children had gloves.

 

MM! I can see where they are coming from but am somewhat on the fence so to speak. I thought the idea of inclusion was to instil at an early age that we all have differences, and to foster an understanding that we are not all the same and to work towards an acceptance of and respect for all.

 

Apparently when working towards inclusion it is the setting/activity that should be changed to include a particular child and not an attempt to change the child.

 

If so then in practical terms such as providing access for wheelchairs etc it is easily remedied. With specific activites maybe not quite so straightforward.

 

So for all you lovely people the question of the day is was the child wearing gloves included or not?? If not how could we have done things better!

 

Any ideas greatly received!

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A long time ago I had a child that was allergic to the dough so as not to exclude her we let her wear latex gloves. When the other children saw her wearing gloves they wanted to wear them also. We provides gloves for anyone to use. Sometimes they are still used by certain children who do not like the feel of certain things e.g.goop or compost. They normally choose not to wear them when they familiarise themselves with the activity.

We have a large climbing frame in our pre-school if I had a child that could not use it would I be expected not to use it at all.

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Thanks Bubblejack

 

I simply didn't think to put the gloves on general offer though if another child had expressed a wish to wear them I would of course have said yes. What you suggest is ideal, not deciding all wear gloves but giving them the choice to do so if they wish.

 

I am just having a day of "stop the roundabout I want to get off!" I undestand what you say about the climbing frame but hypothetically if a child is unable to access it for whatever reason isn't having it out of action then denying the other children?

 

I really hope I dont sound argumentative as I certainly don't mean to be. :o

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I think we are in danger of stifling everybody in our settings, including the staff, if we take things too literally! Bubblejacks idea of giving all the children the choice is a good idea but there will be certain activities which will mean that some children cannot be involved, such as the climbing frame. Surely, in this case, there should be an alternative available for all the children to use, another piece of more suitable equipment-quite what I don't know. We have a session in our group that we call mini-gym-we have a trampoline, tunnels, balancing bars etc. If we had a child using a wheelchair they wouldn't be able to use any of these. So we would have to think around this problem and perhaps use bars for them to go under, cones to go round, otherwise they would be totally excluded. But the other children could still use these so it wouldn't look as though the equipment was out for one particular child. It is a very difficult one.

Linda

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Yes a difficult but very interesting one.

 

First as a latex allergy sufferer myself, can i remind everyone to be very careful with the use of latex gloves. A reaction is horrid, so please look out for this. We use non latex gloves in my setting because of my allergy.

 

Onto the other point Geraldine made

I dont think I would stop using something just because 1 child cant access it, but would try to provide something else that the children can use as Linda suggests. We have deaf children at our school and there are things (eg music) that are difficult for them to access because they cant hear. But I wouldnt then not let other children use them. But we do have sessins when we focus on the vibration rather than the sounds so that everyone can be involved. We also have wheelchair users but I wouldnt take out the fixed climbing equipment from the playground, nor would I expect to be asked to.

 

Geraldine, I agree with you that inclusion is not about everone being the 'same' but about everyone being 'different' (at least i think that's what you were saying!!). Therfore, we dont have to treat children the same in order to treat them equally. In my own case, with the latex allergy, we used to have the latex free gloves just for me, and the children did sometimes ask why i had blue gloves, when I explained, they take it all in thier stride. But since I have to help chldren put on gloves if they want them for messy activities, we now all use 'blue' gloves.

I guess that none of us really has all the answers (wouldnt we be rich if we had), but it is great that we can air our views and think things through in a place like this. :D:D

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Now that's a great conversation!

 

Haven't got anything anywhere near as interesting as what's already been said, so I just wanted to suggest to Geraldine that she shouldn't get too hung up on the idea of pleasing all those adults. Whenever you get a group of grown ups thinking their way through a problem like this, there will always be a different point of view.

 

If you'd made the decision that all children should wear latex gloves, someone would have insisted that the children were not being given the freedom to decide for themselves.

 

So as long as all the children enjoyed it, and the little girl who had to wear gloves was thrilled, by all accounts, then you've done a great job! :)

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:D Thanks Steve

 

I was soert of looking restrospectively at the glove incident to gain alternative views that may be of use in the future perhaps in relation to other "inclusion" situations (does that make sense :o

 

Overall the little girl concerned is great example of strength in the face of adversity. As Mum collected her she jumped up and down and said " I painted and I wored glubs!!" :D:D

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