Specialist SEN Solicitor
1st June 2021
Don't let it sound like criticism...
It's very easy to criticise, isn't it? Sometimes, even if we really mean well when we say something, the other person who we are speaking to, may feel as though they or another person you have referred to, are still being criticised, directly or indirectly.
I have actually noticed that a lot of criticism is delivered in an unconscious way much of the time. The person speaking does not think that they are being critical, but the person that they are speaking to, hears it that way, rightly or wrongly. In fact, I could spend a lot of time here discussing the intricacies of interpretation (I am a solicitor, aren't I!), but the simple truth is that, no matter that you may say something with no intention of meaning it to sound critical, another person may not take it that way and believe that you are criticising them or another.
They may even take it worse than if they thought that you had criticised them directly, as they may then think even worse of you, because they may feel that you have tried to criticise in an indirect (at best) or underhand (at worst) way.
As such, in my humble opinion, you should always first think before saying anything and, if you do choose to say something, you should then choose your words very carefully, knowing that they may be misinterpreted or misconstrued.
And remember the wise saying: "If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn..."
In this week's SEN Update, you will find sections entitled:
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YOU'RE SOMETIMES TOO YOUNG
For some years now there has been ongoing debate about whether summer-born children should be allowed to delay the year of their admission to primary/infants school.
This week, the Department for Education released a report entitled: 'Delayed school admissions for summer born pupils (2020)', which comprised of surveys of local authorities and of parents and carers of summer-born children requesting delayed admission to reception.
The report's summary states:
"This report provides findings from 2 surveys designed to understand:
This research provides an update to research published in 2018 and 2019, providing trends in the number of requests received since 2016.
Guidance on school admissions for summer born pupils is available."
You can read the full report here.
Although I drew attention last week to a news article about it, this week I want to highlight another report, the parent's survey conducted by the 'Disabled Children’s Partnership', entitled: 'No End In Sight'.
The summary on their website says:
"On 14 May, we published the findings of the third survey of our “Parent Panel” on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their families. Our report reveals that, despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, a high proportion of disabled children and their families are still experiencing severe levels of social isolation. Although there has been some improvement for families in terms of accessing support via school or the health service, the difference between current and pre-pandemic levels of support is vast. More than half of families are unable to access therapies vital for their disability. Sixty percent are experiencing delays and challenges with accessing the health service appointments they need. These figures in isolation are concerning, but to an even greater extent alarming when considered in context. A large proportion of families with disabled children have multiple diagnosis culminating in multiple appointments with a variety of services.
Lack of support and its impact on parents’ mental wellbeing has been well documented in our two previous survey reports. This survey confirms that anxiety, stress and mental wellbeing levels experienced by our panel are significantly worse than the general population. Consecutive surveys demonstrate that this is an ongoing problem for families rather than a short-term response to the events of the pandemic.
The lack of access to multiple services across education and health has been detrimental to the mental health of parents as carers, with their disabled children and wider family persistently isolated. Disabled children and their families are at risk of developing additional long-term health problems, ultimately culminating in adverse outcomes for their future goals and aspirations."
You can read the full report here.
LATEST NEWS ONLINE
And here are the other news articles that I found of interest this week:
Abuse helpline takes hundreds of calls, says NSPCC
Teachers 'struggle to deal with classroom sexual abuse'
DfE had no plan for dealing with a pandemic, says critical report by MPs
Ministers urged to release data on Covid variants in English schools
Longer school hours won’t plug Covid learning gaps, says Cambridge academic
Again, aside from clicking on the relevant links for more information, I would also remind you of the very useful resources and information provided on the following websites:
- Council for Disabled Children
- Special Needs Jungle
I would also highlight again the fact that you can now get a digital copy of the magazine: Autism Eye which is very helpful to any parents or professionals involved with children/young people with Autism.
Keep safe until next week.
With best wishes
P.S I understand that there are many educational items, news articles, or other useful resources on the web, so I would be very grateful if you could let me know of any that you find that you think that others may find useful, so that I can direct people to them.