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Episode 15 – Special Educational Needs: Insight, Support, and Inclusion

Welcome to the Kids Planet podcast, where we explore the complexities and advancements in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

Emma Pawlowski from Kids Planet marketing team interviews Sue Asquith, an award-winning early childhood consultant from the UK and abroad. Alongside her are Becky Eckersley, Rachel Brady, and Lauren Wilson from the internal Kids Planet SEND team, who bring their rich experience in early year’s education to the discussion.

They explain the complex and often misunderstood world of SEND, and help parents and educators understand better.

Before jumping into details, these are the main points of discussion:

  • What was Sue Asquith’s journey into SEND and supporting that part of the industry?
  • How have SEND practices changed or developed in the past years?
  • What is the biggest misconception about SEND in educational settings?
  • What has been the main effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with SEND?
  • What is the best way to demonstrate inclusive practice in early years settings?


Supporting Diverse Needs: Addressing SEN in Children and Young People

A child or young person with Special Educational Needs (SEN) may face challenges ranging from visual or hearing impairments, emotional and mental health issues, to behavioural difficulties. These young learners, including those with learning difficulties and disabilities, require an educational approach that recognizes and adapts to their unique needs and abilities.

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) provides a comprehensive outline of the required support for children aged 0 to 25 years. This plan helps children and young people with difficult challenges. It guides the support they get from early years to further education and training.

Evolving Special Education Provision

Over the years, Special Educational Needs practices have significantly transformed, moving from a generalized approach to one that prioritizes individual needs and inclusivity. The modern SEND framework in early year’s education now focuses on creating environments where all children and young people, regardless of their abilities, can learn and grow together.

This evolution from segregated to integrated settings not only benefits children with special educational needs, but enriches the entire learning community, fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding. In mainstream schools, this integration has made classrooms more inclusive. Teachers have the tools and knowledge to help all students learn, which promotes a system that values and supports every child.

 Challenging Special Educational Needs Misconceptions

One persistent misconception is that accommodating children with SEND is overly burdensome or requires complex interventions. Many good strategies involve understanding children’s sensory and communication needs, which can be addressed with simple adjustments in the classroom.

Each child’s behaviour is a key to their inner world. When educators recognize this, they can provide more effective and empathetic support. This ensures that every child’s potential is nurtured.


SEND in the Wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely affected children with SEND, highlighting the importance of consistency and routine in their development. As families and educators navigated the complexities of remote learning and disrupted routines, the need for innovative and flexible approaches to support became clear. This period has underscored the importance of community support and the need for robust systems to ensure that children with special educational needs and disabilities continue to receive the education and care they deserve, even in challenging times.


Demonstrating Inclusive Practice

Inclusive practice is the cornerstone of effective SEND support in early years settings. It’s about more than just meeting legal requirements. It is about creating a nurturing environment where every child is seen and valued.

Inclusive practices involve collaborating with families, understanding each child’s unique way of interacting with the world, and adjusting the learning environment to support a diverse range of learners. This approach ensures that all children, not just those with identified needs, benefit from a richer, more diverse educational experience.


Looking Forward in the area of SEND

Looking towards the future, there’s a strong emphasis on continuous improvement in SEND practices. This includes ongoing training for educators, embracing new research and methodologies, and fostering strong partnerships between schools, families, and health professionals.

The goal is to create a dynamic, responsive educational system that not only addresses the current needs of children with special educational needs but also anticipates and adapts to future challenges and opportunities.


Special Educational Needs Practices at Kids Planet

At Kids Planet, the approach to Special Educational Needs is rooted in personalized care and an inclusive ethos. Understanding that each child’s journey is unique, Kids Planet nurseries embrace a holistic approach to SEND. This includes early identification of individual needs, collaborative planning with parents and professionals, and implementing tailored support strategies within a nurturing environment.

Educators at Kids Planet are not only trained in specialized SEND techniques, but are also deeply committed to fostering a culture of understanding and empathy. By integrating inclusive practices across all day-to-day activities, Kids Planet ensures that children with SEND are fully supported in their learning and development, while also enriching the experience of all children in their care.


About Sue Asquith
Sue Asquith, an award-winning early childhood consultant with extensive experience in the UK and internationally, is renowned for her expertise in Special Educational Needs (SEND). Her practical and insightful approach to early years education has significantly shaped inclusive practices in the sector. With a career dedicated to enhancing learning for young SEND children, Sue is a respected and influential figure in early childhood education.




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