Children with special needs require close attention and tailored instruction by specially trained professionals.
SEND teachers are there to help their class strive for progress beyond their limitations, and this is exactly why they are so important.
But we don’t need to tell you this – we’ll let the parents tell you themselves…read on to see exactly why SEND teachers are so important to children with special needs.
Julie’s son, Alexander, 11, has attended a SEND school since 2009. Alexander has severe autism, severe learning difficulties, severe anxieties and challenging behaviours due to SENDsory needs.
Sarah’s son Thomas is 11, and has attended a SEND school for around six years. He’s transitioning to a specialist High School in September.
Mel’s daughter Ellie is 14, and has been in SEND education for nine years.
1. What were your child’s behaviours/personalities like before they began attending a SEND school?
Julie: “Alexander was only five when he started SEND school. His behaviours were very much like that of a baby before school – he was pretty much non-verbal, still used nappies and was very unsettled. He only got a small amount of sleep, was very hyperactive and impulsive, and was awfully clingy towards me. He either had moments of complete happiness or lots of crying, and he would scream for no apparent reason. He had a lot of meltdowns.”
Sarah: “Limited speech, limited effective communication, a passive child not interested in interaction.”
2. What does your child’s teacher do that inspires you?
Julie: “The teachers Alexander has been with have been so helpful with communication tools. His latest teacher has used reflexology and she has piqued my interest to look in to this further in view of the impact on Alexander. The teachers are always available for advice and guidance.”
Sarah: “The teachers have made the time to see the world through my child’s eyes. They have supported his literary needs and now in Year 6, have helped him learn to read.”
Mel: “They do their job properly, and understand the learning/sensory needs of the child completely.”
3. Why do you think it’s important for SEND teachers to play a part in your child’s development?
Julie: “Children with profound and complex disabilities need these teachers as they understand the learning and nurturing needs of our children. They understand the strategies needed to engage with Alexander, and they understand not just his learning abilities, but how to provide him with that information within his capabilities.
They understand when he is becoming sensory-overloaded and how to de-escalate this too. His teachers will also communicate to him without words, as he has many different methods of communication due to his limited verbal skills. They not only teach him about the world he lives in, but they teach him how to live in it safely, and most importantly, they make sure he has fun.”
Sarah: “Their depth of knowledge, patience and ability to adapt the curriculum is vital to suit my child’s needs.”
Mel: “It’s important to facilitate every part of learning and development for the child – not just the curriculum.”
4. How do you think attending a SEND school has helped your child to grow as a person and in education?
Julie: “Alexander would never have been able to attend a mainstream school. This school has given him a chance to learn life skills. They have continually observed and pushed Alexander within his capacity and developed his skills. The school/home relationship is excellent. As Alexander reaches his targets they ensure he is always challenged to stay motivated, making sure he is learning through what he enjoys whilst incorporating social skills.”
“Without SEND provision he simply would have had to stay home, he would have been totally excluded from having a chance to experience stuff the way his peers are able to.”
Sarah: “By providing opportunities to succeed despite his disability and helping him connect to the world. He is on the school council and they allowed him time to go horse riding and do tai-kwon-do after school, which has built his confidence and helped him to achieve.”
Mel: “SEND teachers make a difference every day by teaching the kids who need it most – the complex needs, the learning difficulties and the ones who struggle to make sense of our society.”
5. If you had the chance to thank your child’s teachers, what would you say to them? Why?
Sarah: “Keep going the extra mile with our children it makes a difference they are worth your effort and we will always be grateful, especially because it requires dedication.”
Mel: “I think I would say thank you for your investment. SEND teaching is different from mainstream as the approach is more problem solving; inclusive; inventive; individualised; energetic and supportive. It’s a joy to teach someone who learns easily but it’s a vocation to teach someone who learns with difficulty.”
Julie: “Thank you for having my child’s back! Thank you for wanting to do such a hard job! Please, please, please share your skills with mainstream teachers, and thank you for knowing just how difficult it is when Alexander is screaming because his body is aching through sensory anxieties and not just wondering what the hell is going on.”
“Thank you for caring for my little guy nearly as much as I do. Thank you for having fun with Alexander through all the hard work and tears. Thank you for keeping him safe and making his school his haven.”
So there you have it…thank you, SEND teachers, for everything that you do for your pupils. It certainly doesn’t go unnoticed…
Is there a teacher you’d like to thank? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Maybe you know a fantastic SEND teacher and would like to recommend them? Well, you can do just that if you click here.