This is question I am often asked. My key thought in responding is that these children are often ‘wired differently’ – their brains are not configured as those of a full term infant might be. This does not automatically imply that they will have a learning disability or special educational need, but teachers need to be prepared that that these children may not perceive and deduct from information given, in the ways we usually expect from children.
Indeed, to repeat again the phrase given to me by the mother of a boy born at 24 weeks gestation after observing his first term in school, he is ‘wired differently’ . As a as a Teacher I then have so ask , “so of he is wired differently , in what ways does he learn differently ? And when I know how he learns differently, in what ways do I teach differently?”
Many teachers find the Engagement Profile (http://engagement4learning.com), a useful observational tool to profile neurodiversity in children, particularly as we start a new academic year.
This article may guide and refresh thinking around how we engage children whose learning pathways are different due to prematurity of birth.
Beyond Words has an important role to play in the introduction of the proposed social and emotional mental health framework in schools next year. In order to prepare the way we are undertaking a research project in 21 Special Schools in the North, Midlands and South-East of England. We plan to assess how Beyond Words’ books and other visual materials can help children and teachers to address many of the issues raised in the recent Government Green Paper.
If you are a qualified teacher and you have recently left the profession or you are looking for a fresh challenge we would like to hear from you. Beyond Words is based in Central London but this role, which could be 2-3 days per week, would also involve travel to the partner schools.
If you are interested please forward your CV and letter of introduction to our Chief Executive Nick at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in Special Needs and Disability in Early Childhood then this World Congress in Sydney, June 2019, gives you an opportunity to learn from others all over the globe. If you have an innovation or interesting practice to share, please think of representing your Country, and submit an abstract (details below)
Teachers often need and appreciate brief, teacher-friendly summaries of relevant research in the field of Autism. The University of Portsmouth autism network posts helpful newsletters on different topics, covering research that can inform evidence based practice and interventions that are systematically trialled.