Specialist SEN Solicitor
13th December 2021
This week I want to talk to you about the important concept of ‘thinking’.
I often say that it is not only about what you do, but it is also about how you think, before you do. Unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of thinking before doing, or fail to realise how our thoughts so easily influence what we do. Additionally, you need to think carefully, independently and positively, as that ultimately guides your actions. To put it more simply, you do what you think.
We often take thinking for granted and feel that our thoughts are our own. But the truth is not always what we first think. We also have to remember that people are suggestible, not only to their own thoughts, but also to thoughts of others. For example, one of the easiest ways of me explaining this, is to simply tell you to think of a penguin! In most cases, you now cannot help but think of a penguin!
But this concept also works the other way around, as if you try now to not think of a penguin, if I then say that you should not think of a penguin, you probably will also think of a penguin! Some of you may have also noticed that I have additionally deliberately repeated the word ‘penguin’ already four times, so you have therefore now almost definitely thought of a penguin (that’s five times now!)
And just to give my idea one final push, here’s a picture of a penguin as well!
I know this is amusing, but it’s actually quite serious. We’re exposed everyday to things in the media, the news, or on social media - especially in advertising - where others try to get us thinking in a way that benefits them and not us. You can avoid this if you can, but you can’t avoid it entirely. The only way to stop it influencing you is to lessen exposure and think as independently as possible.
I am also a great believer in learning from as many things and people as possible. You can learn from everything, as long as you are open to it. For example, if you expose yourself to all sorts of things, be it history, art, science, technology, religion etc., you will think more and by thinking more you learn more. You may also start to see connections between things that you may not have noticed before.
It is very important though that we also listen to other people who think differently to us, not just people who think the same as us. This is very dangerous and can lead to what people call ‘echo chambers’, where you only listen to others who think the same as you (like an echo) so you then get stuck thinking the same way and having your (often mistaken) thoughts affirmed, so you think they are correct.
But we also need other people to help us think. Thinking out loud is easier than thinking within, as having to explain things to others helps us clarify our thoughts to ourselves. It also helps us test our thoughts if we have to justify them to others, as they may sound different to us when coming out of our mouths, rather than just running around in our brains, where thoughts can be more easily manipulated.
You need to realise that not everyone thinks like you, or is wired in the same way. Just because someone thinks the opposite, does not mean that what they think is wrong and what you think is right. We seem to have developed into only having or accepting extreme ways of thinking, with things being either very good, or very bad (and we always feel that what we do is good, but what others do is bad!)
Unfortunately, we also often overthink something, when we have more time than we need to think about it. But you should not overthink something and then complicate it unnecessarily. You should also not use overthinking unconsciously as an excuse not to take action. Remember, although I have said that you should think before doing, you need to both ‘think’ and ‘do’.
So, this week, try to think about ‘thinking’ and what I have said above - it may lead you to think about and do things differently!
In this week's SEN Update, you will find sections entitled:
I know how busy everyone is, so feel free just to read the sections of interest,
or read everything; the choice is always yours.
I received another email a few days ago from the SEND Division at the Department for Education (DfE), which stated:
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday on the implementation of Plan B of the COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan we updated the Special schools and other specialist settings: coronavirus (COVID-19 guidance). The government is clear on the critical importance of not disrupting the education of children and young people and the government will prioritise keeping all education and childcare settings open. The measures will support this.
The main updates are:
· updated advice on supporting vulnerable children and young people who are self-isolating
· updated advice on tracing close contacts and isolation to reflect the forthcoming change to isolation rules
· updated asymptomatic testing section reflecting that you should encourage visitors to test before coming to your setting
· updated to reflect the latest language on children who were previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable
· additional section on mandatory vaccine certification
· updated workforce section to reflect the latest language on adults who were previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable and to reflect the Government recommendation to work from home if you can
We will keep the guidance under review as the situation develops.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Division"
In terms of news, here are the articles that I found of interest this week:
Covid: figures reveal vaccine lottery for children in England
Too many children left at risk too long - Ofsted
Vaccinate five- to 11-year-olds to protect UK schools, scientists say
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 magazines: SEN Magazine and Autism Eye which are both very helpful to any parents or professionals involved with children/young people with SEN.
Keep safe until next week.
With best wishes
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