Children with additional support needs
Do you have concerns about a child or how you are managing yourself, your environments or your staff?
Rebecca can visit to observe all the aspects that may impact the success of a child's inclusion and role model on the spot.
This service is $75 per hour and does not include travel or accomodation. We have a number of long term contracts running with services who benefit from ongoing inclusion support. Long term professional development is highly beneficial. 3, 6 or 12 months is available and can be paid by the month.
Here's what one Director had to say ~
"There is no stone left unturned with Bec. Her ability to see things from the child's perspective is remarkable. Her technical training in additional needs is something we could never have known. Our place is richer, stronger and well equipped after having this beautiful human around us for 6 months".
Inclusion ~ A perspective.
Modes of care and education for children with disabilities or
developmental delay vary between contexts and have evolved
over the years. ‘Inclusion’ has become a dominate mode of
service delivery in recent times, bringing to mind attitudinal
change in the present day. Whilst we still struggle to define
‘inclusion’, the notion currently asks stakeholders to embrace
human diversity and the right to access and participation in
early educational programs, free of ableism (Cologon, n.d.,
p.6). The right to access education is constituted by law (DDA,
1992) however does this mean that inclusion is the law thus
every child with or without a special need should be enrolled
in mainstream education?
Historically, children with disabilities were viewed as
discomfiture to society. Allen and Cowdery (2012) describe this
as the ‘forget and hide approach’. They continue to suggest
that modes evolved i.e. ‘screen and segregate, ‘identify and
help’ and finally and more recently ‘include and support’.
(Allen and Cowdery, 2012, p.7). Having involvement in many
‘inclusion support programs’, I often hear language such as;
‘you can really help these kids’, ‘…but the children must be
screened for eligibility’, ‘Who should pay for the support?’. I
am beginning to question our understanding of the term
‘inclusion’ and wonder if we are simply led by policy (Corbett
and Slee, 2000 cited in Petriwskyj, 2010).
There are also instances where children were only allowed to
access services for part of the day, due to a ‘lack of resources’
or the child’s needs being ‘too high’ or ‘complex’ to cater for.
Challenging the notion that children who attend services with
disabilities or a delay are not part of a ‘program’ is no mean
feat. Evoking attitudinal change about our current views that
inclusion is an isolated program and needs it to be overseen
separately by a special needs teacher is not a simple task. If we
value diversity as a rich resource, is there any need to see if a
person is eligible to walk through our door and do we need to
‘help’ them? Physical attendance at a service is not inclusion,
the way in which the community interacts, values and supports
the child and family’s full participation is the key (Allen and
Cowdery, 2012, p.5).
Educators and directors alike know the benefits of inclusion however raise concerns that they will not have the skills or physical resources toinclude children with disabilities. This can be a daunting prospect when barriers such as; the impact on typically developing children and teacher time and resources consistently reappear on the staff meeting agenda. Additionally, the ever pressing issue of cost (Allen and Cowdery, 2012, pp.13-15) and the question of ‘if we allocate funding, will it even work’. It’s not a matter of if it will work, or if students will get the ‘help’ they need, it is the law. It is a child’s right to access participate and belong, to be included as stated in the Convention of
the Rights of Persons with a Disability (CRPD) (Article 24, UN, 2006).
Similarly Petriwskyj’s (2010) study found that teacher’s response to diversity is evolving and a barrier to change could be the limited access to in-servicing and professional learning. It seems there is a willingness to invite children in to services with additional needs, however willingness to bring about pedagogical change in response to diversity is surprisingly absent. In my current role as an EarlyChildhood Intervention advocate my focus would be to educate and empower teachers to reflect upon not only interactions with children but full systemic structural changes could make inclusion an everyday
part of human environment and interactions (Petriwskyj, 2010, p.210).
Finally, I believe every child should have access to regular education, with inclusion as catalyst for social justice and attitudinal change (Ashman and Elkins 2005 cited in Petriwskyj, 2010).
Inclusion is not a ‘hot word’ or a new teaching strategy, nor is it a mode of service delivery. As the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) so eloquently suggests, it is recognising and upholding the rights of the child to feel safe, secure and most importantly a sense of belonging as an everyday part of our interactions with ANY human that walks through the door
(Australian Government Department of Education and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments [DEEWR], 2009).
In order to promote a culture of inclusion (Cologon, n.d.), we must empower and inform entire communities about the richness of diversity not just the benefits of inclusion. Furthermore a shift in attitude to a place where diversity is embedded in philosophy rather than perceived as separate ‘practice’ or ‘program’(Allen and Cowdery, 2012, p.3).
Director Stone & Sprocket
What is INCLUSION SUPPORT?
At Stone & Sprocket we are committed to the inclusion of every child and community member in to early childhood settings. The support we offer includes observations, data collection, individual education program (IEP) assistance, referral information, support communicating with families, behaviour guidance support and policy and procedure review.
With permission from families we can model responses to behaviour and build educators capacity to consider environmental impacts on behaviour. We also act as an advocate to the child and family in school, IEP or paraprofessional meetings.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
Class Teachers and Primary Caregivers are best placed to enact inclusion however with the support of early intervention specialists and other paraprofessionals the chances of quality and outcomes are higher.
Rebecca spends time with services and schools building capacity to:
• Collect data using functional behaviour assessment
• Work with peers to build advocacy
• Inform policy makers of responsibilities
• Communication with families about concerns
• Adjustments to the physical environment
• Set a rhythm that evokes harmony and pace
• Collaborate effectively with colleagues
HOW DOES THE SUPPORT WORK?
Whilst many educators and services already work toward improving access for children and increasing meaningful participation, the specific outcomes are often overlooked.
Rebecca can take technical data on a child’s current skills and demonstrate how to move to the next step with the child. This is not always the e.g. language used in response to
behaviour or how to set up an activity but often a full perspective change on our expectations of children and what they are capable of.
The support offered comes in the form of:
• Observation ~ collection of data using the correct sampling tool for the behaviour or skill
• Coaching in context ~ role modelling reasons to behaviours or increasing a skill
• Mentoring ~ reflective practice conversations about interactions, environments and rhythms
• Observation feedback ~ formal planning sessions and recommendations for quality improvement including Individual Education Plans and goal setting
• Workshops and facilitated staff meetings for building
THE IDEA OF
BE CONSIDERED A
PRIVILEGE. IT SHOULD
BE CONSIDERED A. . .
B A S I C H U M A N
R I G H T .