Socioeconomic Factors

I had to share this because it is something I have discussed with various different people. Should socioeconomic factors be considered as an additional need, or something that should qualify children for extra intervention?

I believe so!

The article states, “The researchers emphasize that these findings suggest that interventional policies aimed at children living in poverty are likely to have the most positive impact on individual brain development and society.”

I do not believe that children from poorer backgrounds are in any way inferior or less able to achieve, but I do know from experience that some (and I am very careful not to suggest all) children do not have access to basic needs such as nutritious meals and heating, and I refuse to believe that it does not have an impact on wellbeing and the ability to focus on learning.

I remember teaching a little girl who didn’t want to go home because her family had no heating, having to choose between food and warmth. I also remember having to bring extra food in daily for a little girl who never had breakfast or clean clothes. These children were very bright but often unengaged, and who can blame them?

Some parents worked so many hours to provide for their children that they spent barely any time with them, and I also believe this has an impact.

Although this is an American article from 2015, I found this study interesting.

Some people deny that austerity has caused poverty, or at least exacerbated it, but this is the reality for many families, and in the long run, it does our society no favours! We are letting people down!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201503/socioeconomic-factors-impact-childs-brain-structure

How it all began…

When I was a teacher, I came across a large number of children with additional needs. It struck me that more and more children were presenting with SEN, however many of these children were not diagnosed. Any teacher will tell you that when you have your own class, the children become your extended family, so you naturally do whatever it takes to help them. Whether it’s spending hours of your own time worrying about and trying to find ways to support them, or indeed spending your very hard earned wages on anything you feel will make their learning experiences positive and meaningful.

I spent hours researching and creating resources to help those children ‘cope’ within the classroom environment but still, some children just could not succeed. This created all sorts of issues such as low self esteem and a feeling of failure, inevitably exacerbating the behaviour. I witnessed children being labelled naughty and this infuriated me. Some children experience chaotic home lives which can influence their behaviour, but I had my share of children who struggled for a plethora of different reasons.

In our society we are very quick to judge parents and assume that children are spoilt brats, devoid of manners and discipline. “Bring back corporal punishment!” I’ve heard people say. “All this ADHD and autism…nonsense! In my day, this didn’t exist and it’s just an excuse for children who can’t behave!”

Well, the reality is, children with additional needs have always existed, but they were not diagnosed and probably spent their lives being misunderstood and labelled incorrectly. It is highly plausible that numbers seem to have increased due to more people being diagnosed, but studies also suggest that genetics have a part to play. I will revisit this further in my blog.

These opinions never sat well with me, but they wounded me even further when I had two children of my own who were both flagged up as being SEN.

Automatically, people assumed my children’s behaviour was a result of my parenting, or pandering as it was once described. I prefer to call it helping my children to feel safe, secure and loved. I prefer to call it having realistic expectations and clear boundaries. I also prefer to call it picking your battles.

Some people didn’t believe they were SEN at all and suggested I was seeing things that weren’t there, completely invalidating their everyday struggles, as well as mine. But again, I will explore this further in my blog.

I have created SEN Child of Mine to share my experiences, to offer support to others, and also to explore the world of SEN today. I look forward to exploring this journey with you and invite you to share your world with me.