Preterm children need special attention in school

On average a primary school class will have four children born preterm, and many of them will have reduced cognitive capacity, social and behavioural difficulties and learning disabilities. Up to 70% of very preterm babies will require special educational needs services. But according to the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education, reported in an article in the latest issue of Children & Young People Now, few teachers are aware of this.

Barry Carpenter, visiting professor at the University of Worcester, is studying the educational outcomes and needs of preterm children in special schools, in partnership with SSAT and premature babies charity Bliss. He says addressing the educational needs of preterm children has become more urgent as advances in medical science have boosted survival rates – from 23% in 2000 to 63% today.

Vision is one sensory area that tends to get damaged. So teachers need to be aware that these children’s visual processing – the ability to read and decode – can be delayed, as can their language development.

SSAT will share the findings from Barry Carpenter’s studies in special schools for the benefit of mainstream schools, for example with a families workshop to share the strategies schools can use to meet this group’s needs. Stay informed by signing up to SSAT’s SEN e-forum.

The Promise of Neuroscience

We have so much more to understand about how the brain functions. As our knowledge increases, so our insights into the new generation of children with disabilities will grow, and we will better understand how they learn , and how we , as teachers , can better match our teaching styles. Indeed some creative and innovative pedagogy may be required!

A great leader in the area of Neuroscience is Professor Colin Blakemore. As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine , I commend to you this lecture he gave recently at the RSM.

http://www.rsmvideos.com/videoPlayer/?vid=393&class=videoThumb

Through the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education, we endeavour to stimulate a dialogue between Neuroscientists and Teachers working with children and young people with SEND.
There are two forthcoming events which may be of interest.

On November 7th , there will be a Seminar on the Neuroscience of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders .
On February 6th, 2014, the Annual Conference will focus on Mental Health, and the insights neuroscience can bring to this most co occurring of Complex Needs.

Both events will be held in London , and further details can be obtained from Natalie Eccles,

New Autism Research Report Launched

A Future Made Together

A Future Made Together: Shaping Autism Research in the UK

Autism research has taken great strides toward understanding autism, its causes and its consequences. This research has the potential to transform the everyday lives of those with autism and their families. Yet there is still a huge gap between knowledge and practice, which means that, for the most part, the advances in research fail to impact upon those who need them most: autistic people, their parents and carers and those who help support them.

Commissioned by the charity Research Autism, this project aimed to describe the current landscape of autism research in the UK, embedded within an international context, and to compare the nature of the research being conducted with the views and perspectives of key stakeholders.

The resulting Report is the most comprehensive review of autism research in the UK ever undertaken. It also sits alongside a large-scale consultation of autistic people, their families, practitioners and researchers about what the research agenda means to them.

The Report highlights the many strengths of UK autism research. It also suggests that, for the UK to maintain its position as one of the world’s leaders in autism research, it needs greater investment in under-researched areas and in under-served populations, new strategic oversight and coordination and the involvement of autistic people and the broader autism community in decisions about research.

The Report was written by Liz Pellicano, Adam Dinsmore and Tony Charman, supported by members of an Advisory Group: Chris Atkins, Virginia Bovell, Baroness Angela Browning, Barry Carpenter, James Cusack, David Ellis, The Goth,Sarah Shenow, Helen Pearce and Simon Wallace.

http://newsletters.ioe.ac.uk/A_Future_Made_Together_2013.pdf

Download full report

Download executive summary

Statement on Educational Rights of Children Born Prematurely Launched.

On Tuesday 14th May, 2013, as part of a seminar in the Houses of Parliament, Professor Carpenter, co founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education, launched a Statement on behalf of the Forum, calling for  better educational planning , resources and provision. The Statement is intended as a catalyst for debate and informed decision making, and calls for further research into teaching and learning for this group of children, whose numbers rise annually. The Statement was presented to Fabian Hamilton , MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Education Group .Dr Rona Tutt , also a co founder of the Forum , and a past President of the NAHT, also presented at the seminar with particular reference to past SEND legislation , and the current Children and Families Bill.

Prematurity Position statement

Press release on Statement May 2013 FINAL