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Developments in SEN )Special Educational Needs - Essay Example

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Name: Tutor: Course: Date: University: Developments in Special Educational Needs Introduction In the early part of the 20th century, the provision of education to children with special needs relied heavily on the medical model of defects. This was provided on the 1944 education Act, where children with special education needs were identified by disabilities defined in medical terms…
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Download file to see previous pages This approach concentrated on difference rather than normality, on sickness rather than well being, and specifically on the problem affecting the child. In doing so, children acquired medically diagnosed groups, which emphasized on deficit rather than potential (Jones 2003, p.9). Therefore, in the early 20th century education for children with special needs used the strategy of separate, special schools for children thought to need such schools. In addition, psychometric analysis by early psychologists supported the use of special schools. In 1944, a number of reforms were done on the education system. The majority of the reforms were towards the mainstream education and the availability of free education for all. In addition, the 1944 education reforms also addressed particular aspects of education for education for children with special needs. However, the approach, and definition of children with special requirements was not as sufficient as its requirements for education in general (Hodkinson & Vickerman 2009, p.23). The 1944 Act still relied on the medical model of disability. Under this Act, eleven categories of handicap were identified, and children belonging to those categories were identified based on their desired treatment. The use of unique schools to educate children with special needs remained the most desired approach, although less recognition was paid to the provision of education in mainstream schools. The 1944 Act continued to refer to children with a disability of mind or body, and focused on special schools to cater for handicapped children (Jones 2003, pg 13). Through the 1960s and 1970s, education for children with special needs shifted towards an approach favored by behaviorist psychologist. An example of psychologist who played a crucial role in shaping education for children with special needs was Lois Malaguzzi who spent much his time understanding how children learn. This approach focused on the need to apply operant conditioning techniques. Experts refused the medical model and campaigned for an approach that applied only what that could be observed. The approach was criticized by some behaviorist terming it a significant weakness. However, the reforms were very vital because they emphasized on the possibility to modify the problems of children with special needs. In addition, the reforms placed the responsibility to the teacher as one way of ensuring that the reforms became effective (DfES, 2004). The behaviorist techniques appeared very effective in dealing with particular difficulties such as self help skills. On the other hand, they were seen as less effective in assisting children with duties that required more understanding. It is evident that the 1960s and 70s created a way for new approaches to special needs. During this period, attitudes towards special education started to change, and in some sections the behaviorist initiatives caused the teaching of children with learning problems appear more accessible to teachers in mainstream schools. In connection to this, Vygotsky who was a renowned education theorist, once pointed out that most essential learning by a child happens through social interaction with the help of a skillful tutor. Similar sentiments were put forward by John Dewey who argued that learning and education are interactive and social processes, and the school remains to be a social institution whereby social ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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