Children who are considered to have Special Educational Needs have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age.
They might be struggling with:
- reading, writing, number work
- verbal expression
- general comprehension and processing
- relationship with peers and/or adults
- showing appropriate behaviors in specific situations/contexts
In this case, children need special support because they learn in different ways, so some adjustment should take place, such as a specific way of teaching or using special equipment (computer or desk). Adapting curriculum, teaching mode and material to the child’s needs is essential. Children often display behaviors that are interpreted as oppositional defiant when in fact they’re a direct result of a learning disability that prevents them to follow norms or remain on task. But bare in mind that children have different rhythms and develop in a unique way, so if your child is making slower progress and needs extra support it doesn’t mean that he/she has Special Educational Needs.
Applied Behavior Analysis, in a nutshell, provides a great tool to understanding and changing behavior. Due to it’s analytic trait we are able to pinpoint a specific behavior, understand what originates it and what are the consequences (ABC model) in order to replace it with a more appropriate behavior. Specific skills are targeted and an individual program is designed. Learning can take place in a playful setting and the main goal is to generalize it so it occurs naturally, in any environment.
PECS is short for Picture Exchange Communication System and, as the name says, it is a communication system that makes use of pictures. The person who has PECS exchanges a sentence strip with another person by using one simple symbol or building full sentences with symbols and in this way can communicate without verbal language. PECS is useful for children who have not developed any language, or who have some but are able to develop it further.