The Early Years Learning Framework
- Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity
- Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners
- Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators
National Quality Framework
- Quality Area 1- Educational program and practice
- Quality Area 2- Children’s Health and Safety
- Quality Area 3- Physical Environment
- Quality Area 4- Staffing Arrangements
- Quality Area 5- Relationships with children
- Quality Area 6- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
God loves every person infinitely. ‘Life and physical health are gifts entrusted to us by God and it is everyone’s responsibility to not only take care of oneself but also look to the needs of others. (Catechism of the Catholic Church – CCC2288)
A disability or developmental delay can take time to identify and diagnose. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you’re concerned about your child’s health or development. Early diagnosis may prevent a condition becoming more serious, as your child can get the medical help and additional support they need. It’s important to:
- take your child for their regular health checks, so that delays in their development or learning can be detected early
- keep track of your child’s development and help them learn key life skills
- talk to your local doctor or child and family health nurse if you have any concerns about your child
- get a second medical opinion if necessary.
Whenever you receive news that your child has special needs, whether it’s during pregnancy, after birth, during the infant years or later, it can be distressing and can lead you and your family to experience a range of emotions. You may feel shock, anger, denial, fear, guilt, sadness, and helplessness. This is normal. The future can be unknown, so planning is therefore very difficult. Remember, there are services to help when you want or need help.
- Reading, talking, telling stories and singing to your child will help them learn about language, words, and sounds.
- Making collages with paper, scissors, and glue can help your child develop fine motor skills and use their creativity.
- Sports equipment like balls, rope and hoops encourage throwing, catching, jumping, running and stretching. This develops your child’s gross motor skills.
- Playing games like dress-up, make-believe, hide and seek or I Spy engages your child’s imagination and creativity.
- Playing with sensory materials like playdough can develop your child’s fine motor skills.
- Reaching out to family and friends by video or phone call can foster social, communication and language skills. This sort of playful interaction can teach children how to get along with adults and other children.
- Look up and engage in activities you can do away from the home such as playgroups, libraries, or what your local council has to offer.
- Doing simple household tasks together like cooking, gardening, hanging up washing, feeding pets and tidying up can teach children about teamwork and build their confidence.
Reflect on your knowledge and practice.
Do not be afraid to ask questions, engage in further reading and engage in support measures to do with your own teaching to ultimately support a child with diverse learning needs.
Take into consideration the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and National Quality Framework (NQF).
Reflective questions for children with diverse learning needs:
- Where have these children come from?
- What are their diverse learning needs?
- What support have they or are they receiving at the moment?
- Where are you taking them?
- What do you expect from them?
- How can you make them feel included and supported, including supporting their families too?
Think about the pedagogy in your learning environment that builds a sense of being, belonging and becoming for children with diverse learning needs.
Think about how parents and families might be feeling upon their child being diagnosed with a diverse learning need.
Think about what support you can provide for them initially and what ongoing support they will need.
This is an opportunity to create and maintain a supportive and safe learning environment that implements inclusive strategies that engages and supports all children.
Engage in a learning dialogue with parents and carers:
- Is there anything in the video that caused you to think different about children with diverse learning needs?
- How can you include and best cater for students with diverse learning needs initially and ongoing?
- How can you get to know a family’s child socially, emotionally and cognitively by asking the family particular questions? What questions could you ask of them about their child? Could you ask questions to the child to understand them too?
- Are there any practices for the support of children with diverse learning needs that families are successfully using that you can apply to your learning environment?
Some ideas for activities to support children with diverse learning needs in the early stages of diagnosis:
- Create a social story for the child to support the safe and meaningful exchange of information between parents, professionals and children with diverse learning needs. A written narrative with accompanying pictures, made to illustrate certain situations, problems and challenges, and how children can deal with them.
- Role-play: at the shops ask to find one orange, two apples, and three bananas (or any items on the list). As they bring them to the trolley, have them count out each item one by one. Take one of the items out and ask them how many are now left.
- Create a “Calm Down Kit” where the child has chosen special items to go in it that helps them feel secure and relaxed.
- Use visuals around the room and other learning spaces to support the child’s understanding and knowledge of objects, routines, names and roles of people, safety measures and so on.