Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.
DAAS has a specific program that is designed to support students with special educational needs, which is tailored to each individual to ensure they have the best support they need.
Children have a learning difficulty if they:
• have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or
• have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area
• are under compulsory school age and fall within the definitions at (a) or (b) above or would so do if special educational provision was not made for them.
Language is not considered as a learning difficulty, and so children are not considered to have a special educational need solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.
Special educational provision means:
For children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools, other than special schools, in the area.
AIMS OF SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS POLICY
a) To identify children with SEN as early as possible through referral, observation, assessment and admission procedures.
b) To ensure that SEN students have equal access to a holistic, systemic form of education.
c) To work with management in formulating an accessible curriculum for all students.
d) To continually liaise with section supervisors and class teachers to ensure that SEN students’ lessons are modified and differentiated according to their specific needs.
e) To provide information to class teachers about SEN students, their difficulties and recommend strategies for their educational provision, sharing examples of good practice.
f) To use Individual Education Plans to inform all relevant parties about the targets that have been set and how to implement a program and strategies that will benefit and promote progress for the student concerned.
g) To continually monitor the progress of all students with SEN.
h) To advise on areas that require improvement with regards to our students.
i) To ensure that parents are involved in their child’s learning and gain an understanding of their Special Educational Needs.
j) To involve children in the development and review of their Individual Education Plans.
k) To liaise with outside agencies when appropriate.
l) To offer support to staff who may need assistance with differentiation and building appropriate in-class strategies.
SCHOOL PROCEDURES FOR IDENTIFICATION, ASSESSMENT AND SUPPORT
a) Admissions- Once a student has been accepted into the school and where test scores indicate that learning support may be appropriate, further assessment is conducted to identify specific areas of need.
b) Kindergarten- Kindergarten Entrance Assessment observations may be carried out by members of the KG teaching team. Observation Reports are reviewed by the KG Head of Department before being passed on to the School Principal. Generally these children are young for testing but a qualitative judgement can be made through observations. If there appears to be any SEN issues, then discussions between the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), Head of Section and parents should take place. Any information relating to the child’s special circumstances or conditions, which may affect learning, should be noted.
c) Grade 1 to 12- An online entrance exam is completed by all students wanting to register with the school. An English and Arabic written piece is also completed as part of the entrance exam. Students are required to gain 50% in order to pass the exam.
d) Referrals-The referral forms are distributed by the SENCO to all members of staff. Staff members complete the referral forms and return them to the SENCO. The SENCO will then liaise with the class teacher an appropriate time to either do a class observation or an assessment with the student based on the observations made by the class teacher.
e) A report will be written once the assessment or observation has been completed. Suggestions and intervention strategies are given in terms of each case. Class teachers and section supervisors are provided with copies of the report.
f) Meetings with parents are arranged and these meetings will be with parents, SENCO, section supervisor, class teacher and any other relevant participants in the student’s particular case.
g) An Individual Education Plans (IEP) is drawn up for each SEN student. This is done in collaboration with class teachers, parents, any outside agencies and the SENCO. The SENCO conducts the process of setting SMART targets for all SEN students that have been identified. These IEP’s, once completed, are to be signed by the parent, class teacher, supervisor, SENCO and the Principal. Each will receive a copy which needs to be filed away. The IEP’s will be colour coded so that it’s easier to distribute when completed. These IEP’s are legal documents and need to be appropriately used by the class teacher in providing the correct support and intervention strategies.
h) The IEP’s need to be reviewed at least once a year but if possible, it will have a quarterly review so that progress is monitored and targets are adjusted according to the progress or lack of progress made.
i) To assist with the monitoring of SEN student’s progress, there’s implementation of a Daily/Weekly monitoring sheet which is completed by teacher’s which have SEN students in their class. At the end of each school week this monitoring sheet is to be handed in to the SENCO to check on progress and file for later evidence in the quarterly IEP review. The class teacher is obligated to keep a copy of each week’s monitoring sheet and it must be placed in the student’s SEN file.
j) Every class teacher must have an SEN file irrespective of whether they have SEN students or not.
k) The SEN file will include the SEN School Policy Document as well as all the SEN proformas.
l) All SEN students identified are put onto the school’s SEN Register. The SEN Register will have the student’s name, grade, SEN category and indicate whether the student is male or female.
SUPPORT AND INTERVENTION STRATEGIES
DAAS follows a Response to Intervention (RTI) approach to support and intervention strategies. RTI is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behaviour needs.
The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.
Though there is no single, thoroughly researched and widely practiced “model” of the RTI process, it is generally defined as a three-tier (or three-step) model of school supports that uses research-based academic and/or behavioural interventions. The Three-Tier Model is described below:
Tier 1: High-Quality Classroom Instruction, Screening, and Group Interventions
Within Tier 1, all students receive high quality, scientifically based instruction provided by qualified personnel to ensure that their difficulties are not due to inadequate instruction. All students are screened on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioral baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support. Students identified as being “at risk” through universal screenings and/or results on state- or district wide tests receive supplemental instruction during the school day in the regular classroom. The length of time for this step can vary, but it generally should not exceed 8 weeks. During that time, student progress is closely monitored using a validated screening system such as curriculum-based measurement. At the end of this period, students showing significant progress are generally returned to the regular classroom program. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 2.
Tier 2: Targeted Interventions
Students not making adequate progress in the regular classroom in Tier 1 are provided with increasingly intensive instruction matched to their needs on the basis of levels of performance and rates of progress. Intensity varies across group size, frequency and duration of intervention, and level of training of the professionals providing instruction or intervention. These services and interventions are provided in small-group settings in addition to instruction in the general curriculum. In the early grades (kindergarten through 3rd grade), interventions are usually in the areas of reading and math. A longer period of time may be required for this tier, but it should generally not exceed a grading period. Students who continue to show too little progress at this level of intervention are then considered for more intensive interventions as part of Tier 3.
Tier 3: Intensive Interventions and Comprehensive Evaluation
At this level, students receive individualized, intensive interventions that target the students’ skill deficits. Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to make the eligibility decision.
It should be noted that at any point in an RTI process, IDEA 2004 allows parents to request a formal evaluation to determine eligibility for special education. An RTI process cannot be used to deny or delay a formal evaluation for special education.
In addition to variations in the tiers used to deliver RTI services, schools use different approaches in implementation, such as aproblem-solving, functional assessment, standard protocol, and hybrid approaches. Although there are many formats for how a school might implement RTI to best serve the needs of its students, in every case RTI can be a school-wide framework for efficiently allocating resources to improve student outcomes.
A sensory room has been established which will be used to enhance the learning process of students through stimulating the senses especially in the early years. The sensory room will be used in such a way as to link the themes and standards to be taught in an interesting, creative and differentiated manner.
Lexia Core 5/Strategies
A specialised literacy software program is being implemented to support students lacking in basic English literacy skills. Teachers who have attended the training session will be able to assist their SEN students by accessing monitoring reports that will inform them best how to assist their students. The program also offers differentiated worksheets and lesson plans which ties in to the American curriculum standards.
Working in partnership with parents is fundamental in ensuring that best outcomes for children are achieved. Parents may find it difficult to accept that their child has a learning difficulty and will need support, advice and guidance to access external agencies to progress psychological and/or medical assessments for their child.