It is important as more children born prematurely enter our school system, (and that is some 50,000 per annum) that their story can be shared with their peers.
The Champion Centre in New Zealand has been a pioneer in developing evidence based interventions to enhance and enrich the development of children born prematurely.
Now their Founder Dr Patricia Champion , MBE , has collaborated in developing this beautiful and poignant story for all children, ‘Earlybird’.
As she says:
“As a children’s story about premature birth, it is unique internationally. Parents of premature babies frequently told me that they did not have a good, or a special story to share with their growing children about their early birth. So, we decided to create a beautiful picture book that would help parents support children born as ‘earlybirds’ to make sense of their early experience,”
Champion Centre Founder and book co-editor, Dr. Patricia Champion, MBE.
For many years I have spoken about the need for teachers to be aware of children born prematurely, and the range of learning needs these children present in all classrooms in all settings at all ages and stages.
Indeed, evidence for the Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project ( Carpenter et al 2011,;2015) showed that children born prematurely, were presenting profiles of learning need the likes of which we, as teachers , had never seen before. They were re-writing the Special Needs Registers of our schools.
In training I always advise teachers and school leaders to ask on the admission forms of every school (secondary included!)
“Is there anything in the birth history of this child that we need to know?”
This new resource for educational professionals, developed by Professor Samantha Johnson and her colleagues at Leicester University, now articulates through easy to access , high quality research and practice evidence, why we need a fuller and deeper understanding of how children born prematurely will learn and progress in our school system ,and what some of their learning challenges may be.
The e-learning resource can be accessed online for free here:
Some years ago I worked with a brilliant Architect, Christopher Beaver, to create new learning spaces for children with Autism and Complex Needs.
The information I used drew on two PhD’s I had been involved with, namely those of Dr Diana Pauli and Dr Tamara Brookes.
Linked below are a series of articles that reflect those discussions, deliberations and developments. These may be helpful in the context of the current expansion of specialist provision
To download these articles, please visit the below website link and click the blue ‘Download’ button.
Health Education England has funded the development of a new autism core capabilities framework for health and care staff, and staff in organisations with public facing responsibilities. The framework will span all ages.
To register for more information, go to the link below:
These are the briefing sheets on the neurodiverse conditions – Complex Needs- the DfE funded CLDD Project, (directed by Professor Barry Carpenter), originally compiled.
These are available to download free of charge. There are three sheets in each set, for each Complex Need, (e.g. FASD, Attachment, Prematurity etc)
They are particularly valuable for Teaching Assistants, NQTs, and for Teachers encountering a particular type of Special Need for the first time. They contain essential information, some teaching ideas, and signposts for finding out further information.
These briefing sheets were originally hosted on an SSAT website which has recently been taken down, but teachers are still asking for the sheets, which is why they are being made available.