Educating the unwilling

Mr Joe Dwyer from the North Eastern Education and Library Board’s Educational Psychology Service address the Club on the 16th of January 2009. He explained how this service was organised to meet the needs f its ‘client group’, namely those children and young people of school age with special educational needs.

Joe outlined the key role of teachers in identifying those with special educational needs. He made the point that not all children / young people who are difficult or have difficulties at school have special educational needs. There can be a range of other reasons for the problems.

The Educational Psychology Service does not work in isolation as often those with special educational needs have other problems as well. This takes cooperation with other Board Agencies as well as with Agencies out with the Education and Library Board. Examples of other Board Agencies includes:-

  • Challenging behaviour Service;
  • Education Welfare;
  • Literacy Teaching and Support Service; and
  • Behaviour Support Service.

Other non Board agencies and services include:-

  • Social Services;
  • Child Psychiatry;
  • Paediatric Services;
  • Speech and Language therapy;
  • Physiotherapy; and
  • Occupational therapy.

Joe went on to expand on how there are difficulties with diagnosing certain conditions and how this is becoming more difficult due to increasing pressure for labelling. Bizarrely this pressure often comes from parents and appears to be driven by the benefit system since certain conditions attract certain allowances.

Time constraints prevented further exploration of likely background causes to the conditions which result in special educational needs. However club members came away enlightened about the complexities of dealing with these needs in society.