A learner has special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which requires special educational provision.
In order to support learners and meet their needs, you must have some understanding of the difficulties they face. In this guide we outline different needs and consider:
- How users can understand and meet their own needs
- How tutors can appreciate learner needs
- The range of adjustments that could make a difference for the learner, and the benefits and barriers associated with those adjustments
- The importance of joined up policies and procedures which support individual user needs.
While learners should always be consulted on how best to meet their needs, it is wrong to assume that they are aware of all the possibilities available to them.
There are some general recommendations that will help all learners, but particularly those with disabilities. These include:
- A clear outline of each lesson
- Clear, unambiguous language
- Information in a variety of forms
- Signpost changes to:
- Class or group work
- New or additional content
- New language or concepts.
A well developed virtual learning environment (VLE) can provide a substantial framework to support teaching, learning and assessment. It allows learners to access or revisit learning sessions, materials and resources at a time that they choose.
Interactive whiteboards allow learners to contribute to lessons providing relevance and authenticity. Learners can revisit captured lessons or lectures and staff can review the session or provide staff development and quality assurance. Enabling learners to revisit the whiteboard content may help them to understand the lesson objectives that may not have been clear within the live session.
There are benefits for all learners in creating and developing accessible content. Installing and supporting content creation tools like Xerte Online Toolkits allow tutors to create visually rich and stimulating learning resources.
Technology provides opportunities for communication, collaboration and sharing that enable the leaners to participate in their learning rather than simply receive it. Enabling staff to use collaborative applications proficiently and well is crucial to providing this essential aspect of learning.
Using their own devices will allow students to access rich content or use it to provide evidence in the form of audio, photos or video.