I find during SENCO training, and conversations with colleagues, that there is still a lack of recognition of the significance of prematurity , as an underlying cause of the changing pattern of childhood disability in the 21st Century.
For those wishing to either revisit, or update on this fact, attached is a position statement I wrote a few years ago, which, combined with the new Report posted on this website on Prematurely Born Children, from Dr Patricia Champion in New Zealand , will give and overview of the developments we have seen in the last quarter of a century .
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.
The article on pages 1 -6 of the Special Education Resource Journal ( Special Issue), documents research carried out in a Primary Classroom, as part of the National DfE funded Project on Children with Complex learning Difficulties and Disabilities. Professor Carpenter presents the work with the Primary Class Teacher, Debbie Wiggett, and two members of the CLDD Project Research Team, Bev Cockbill and Jo Egerton.