OID: E10040387
PIC: 937306636

Inclusion- Special needs students as normal expression of human diversity

Our course on Special Needs students has just come to an end, at least the June session that has taken place between the second day of the month and the ninth.
A delegation of teachers from Lithuania and Germany has joined Jump’s team to fuel the discussion on special needs students, neurodiversity and inclusion!

An introduction to the construct of neurodiversity has been brought up. Such a definition has the main benefit of extrapolating conditions from a medical point of view while getting closer to the individual and their peculiarities. It prevents from thinking that a special needs student would be inherently ill thus, opening to the possibility of investigating specific talents to encourage and difficulties to accommodate.

During the course, a lot of emphasis has been put on the need to create a strong and trusting relation between the teacher and the students. Such a relation may start in the cradle of Non formal education and develop through outdoor learning, gamification and Universal design learning.

All of the tools listed, have in fact, the power to make students feel more accepted, understood by adapting and caring for individual needs. Such advantages do not apply solely to special needs students, but to all of the students in general. In this way, inclusion does not become a process of diminishing the learning effort for SEN students but a way to help them align with the same performance of everybody else.

For example, a common practice to deal with the Autism spectrum or ADHD is to give less complex homework or less homework, the problem with this practice is that it teaches the student that they are not able and does not encourage any adaptability at all. Homework and assignments could be tweaked with the UDL methodology in order to make them accessible to all students without sacrificing on quantity or complexity but working on a variation in quality and structure.

The ability to work on activities quality and structure has been another topic of this week’s intensive and practical session. Where methodology and logic has danced arm in arm with emotions and self-regulation.

In fact, the last topic but not for importance has been Emotional competencies and regulation.
To dive in to the topic, an introduction was given to the teachers about basic emotions, their triggers and functions. The objective being a better understanding of our emotional world and a simple method to help students understand how to express, use and regulate their emotions.
This is very important for SEN students as, if not accommodated, they can feel intense and stressful emotional surges, in neurotypical environments, that than may lead to lack of attention, difficulty learning and bad behavior.

Over all the importance of a holistic approach to our student’s life has been made remembering that a teacher is not only a bringer of knowledge but, an educator that has a great impact on student’s future and ability to develop in self-aware, self-confident and wonderful adults.
More than any other profession, you teachers have the power to shape the future for the better by creating a holistic learning environment for your students today.

Author: Giuseppe Perrotti, JUMP Trainer