Every human being is unique, and so are our brains. Just as we have different colour hair, skin, and eyes, we all have a brain that is individual to us – like a fingerprint. We have different likes and dislikes, and different strengths and weaknesses.
Everybody learns at different speeds and in different ways. Some people need extra help with reading or writing, or with physical skills, and with talking and listening.
SEN stands for Special Educational Needs. The term describes someone with a learning difficulty, or a mental or physical disability. The World Health Organisation estimates that about 20% of young people will have a special educational need at some point in their school career. When those people get the right support, everybody reaches their full potential.
But all over the world, children with learning difficulties and disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination, leading to their exclusion from society and school. According to UNICEF (the world’s leading organisation working for children in danger), nine out of 10 disabled children living in lower income countries do not go to school.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) has a programme, Education for All, that aims to provide universal access to primary school. What should be done to ensure everyone gets their right to education?
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Watch the first TV advert performed entirely in sign language. Does it change the way you think about the language as a form of communication?
- Make a SEN-friendly mask that offers a better view of the face for those who rely on lipreading or sign language. For inspiration, see the instructions collected by the National Deaf Children’s Society.
- Draw up a plan to make your school more inclusive and accessible, and design a poster to advertise it.
- Choose a famous person or historical figure with a disability. Create a presentation about their life and achievements.