Labels open the door

Sandie Hobley with a response to recent pieces.

While I applaud the thinking behind both letters on the subject of neurodevelopmental diagnoses in children (January issue), I think both authors are missing a crucial aspect of so-called ‘Special Needs’ education. That is that the entire funding model for this sector is founded in labels such as ADHD and autism. Without them, no child could achieve a Statement of Special Educational Needs. It then follows that Schools (and thereby the children) will be deprived of the additional resources available to provide necessary supports, including Special Needs Teachers.

It can only be by achieving labels, in themselves a shorthand for the nature of likely difficulties, that a Statement of Needs can be put together. In these documents the specific needs of each child they relate to are given and an outline (at least) of the nature of support required, and how it is to be maintained across the child’s education.

Yes, it must be frustrating to see a child apparently reduced to a one- or two-word diagnosis, but the entire funding structure is tied to such fundamentals. Although well-intentioned, both authors are targeting the wrong thing – rather, they should be arguing for a change in educational policy relating to neurodevelopmental differences that does not rely on so heavily on generic diagnoses.

Finally, as a point I feel passionately about, can I encourage Katina Offord to look into ADHD a bit more?
It truly is a neurological difference that people do not grow out of; witness the many people now being diagnosed with so-called Adult ADHD.

Sandie Hobley

Retired Psychologist

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber