Special or Additional Needs
may not think that the child in your care has special needs - but perhaps
they have and they are hidden from view. We are not perhaps talking about
the obvious special needs - that we as a society are most familiar - but
special needs that may affect a child for only a short period of time,
one that is not necessarily recognised by health professionals, but one
that in the short term effects how your child learns, behaves and interacts
with the world.
who have hidden special needs, or short term needs may just require more
of your time, understanding, attention and support than usual - they may
be seeking your reassurance that it is OK, a normal stage of development
and that you are there to help and support them in their early years.
are a huge variety of factors that can cause a child to have additional
special needs - some are shorter term than others. Perhaps if you think
of all the young children you know, either in your early years setting,
or as a parent think of your own child over a period of three years or
so, and I am sure that you will begin to acknowledge that some of the time
your child had additional needs.
a parent or early years practitioner, the more other adults in that child's
life are aware of their needs, however insignificant they may appear, then
the more support and encouragement can be given to that child. There are
many more hidden/additional abilities than those listed below, these just
highlight a few!
with Glue ear, or an ear infection
need reduced background sound to decrease distractions, and may need you
to check that they understand what the task is that they should be doing.
Glue ear fluctuates, and therefore their hearing difficulties may improve
or get worse.
may have witnessed inappropriate behaviour (fighting, swearing etc)
need reassurance, be educated about what is appropriate in your setting
and be shown positive role models.
may be moving home, parents may be going through divorce, separation, or
leaving the family home.
may need reassurance, e.g. familiar routines and stories that help them
realise that this happens to other children. They may need time and the
opportunity to act out their feelings in the role play area.
may have been an argument at home
have unsettled the child, perhaps they need reassurance that Mum/Dad still
love them and will be back later and that it wasn't their fault.
be new to the setting, or their routine is changed - perhaps parents have
a new job, there is a new baby at home or a new older sibling...
therefore may be under additional stress trying to adjust to the changes
that are happening in their familiar world, and therefore need individual
time and reassurance.
event in the child's life - maybe the child's rabbit has died, or a neighbour,
or their new balloon has blown away - although these events to an adult
have a different sense of loss, they may be equally important to a young
the expectations for that child are too high, perhaps they are struggling
with toilet training, or in learning a new skill and they need their confidence
and self esteem raised so that they can feel confident within themselves
to achieve their goal when they are ready.
Needs Information can be found
around them who know their background, what they like and dislike, what
makes them happy and sad, and whom they can talk to.
a sympathetic ear - someone with time to listen.
to one attention and time.
reassurance and understanding - regardless of what they have done.
to act out their feelings.
of choice over activities.
materials - playdough, sand, water, paint, paper where they can create
freely and express their thoughts with no pressure to achieve the right
or wrong result.