Friday 9 December 2016

David Coleman: Current model for getting special needs help is flawed

Published 14/11/2016 | 02:30

'I don’t believe professionals have corrupted the system for resourcing children with special needs. It was flawed from its inception' Stock Photo: Depositphotos
'I don’t believe professionals have corrupted the system for resourcing children with special needs. It was flawed from its inception' Stock Photo: Depositphotos

The special educational need services, within schools, are a scarce and hard-to-access resource. As a practising clinical psychologist I frequently meet children in real difficulty, socially, emotionally, academically and/or behaviourally.

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I'm well aware that any one of these kinds of difficulties could impact negatively on a child's education unless they get targeted, additional help in school. I know they need extra resources and I am part of the system that determines if they are eligible to receive them.

At the moment, the only route to getting such help is to have a clear and unambiguous diagnosis from a professional like me (usually a psychologist or psychiatrist depending on the issue). That diagnosis must fit very strict criteria in order to unlock the educational resources.

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