SEN (Special Education Needs) is an area of education that caters for the assistance needed by some children, including those with: Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and all learning disorders. Special needs education also provides assistance for blindness, deafness, and any other neurological conditions that make it more difficult for the child to keep up with the educational demands for their age. Autism is a condition that may impact learning abilities, so it is common that more educational assistance in the form of tutoring is a popular and large reason for assistance to be implemented in both mainstream schooling and special needs schooling.
There are a multitude of difficulties that “Special education needs” (SEN) covers. The four concepts are learning are:
1) Thinking, understanding, and learning deficits
This is where a child might find all learning activities challenging, and specifically struggle with age-appropriate reading and spelling.
The benefit of having a tutor is that the time spent on learning will be a one-on-one experience, where they will be the tutor’s focus of attention. These tutors are also trained in knowing how to assist the child by systematically helping them build the blocks of language and comprehension skills.
2) Emotional and behavioural difficulties:
These difficulties often show up in the form of avoidance, tantrums, and displays of distress that may be considered as disruptive to the learning process. This is not the fault of the child’s as they have simply not learned how to communicate fully, or they are struggling with low-self-esteem in regard to their individual difficulties.
With a tutor’s help, the child can have a consistent learning routine, a routine that will help the child regulate and know what is expected of them. The child also is less likely to be overstimulated, allowing them to learn in a space where they feel safer. It is often likely that the tutor has specific training, such as ABA training, that gives them the tools needed to manage the behavioural difficulties.
3) Speech, language, and communication deficits
Children with autism often act out due to their frustration at not being able to communicate or meet their own needs. Having a tutor who understands the difference between the child’s severe distress, and non-compliance can make a world of difference in the child’s happiness and confidence.
If the tutor has the correct training, they can also run echoics and potentially teach other forms of communication methods through PECS files and Touchchat.
4) Physical or sensory difficulties:
Children living with autism often have physical or sensory needs that neurotypical children do. There are so many different forms of sensory needs, but having a tutor trained to assist children with autism will be able to teach the child how to regulate, and how to communicate their specific needs.
SEN tutoring for autism is an important and helpful tool to provide the child with means to communicate, learn the skills they need to meet their full potential, and how to believe in themselves!
Article by: A. Pascoe (2023)