Learning and attention issues are more common than you think. In the US, as many as one in five children have learning difficulties. Though there is no cure for those with learning and attention issues, certain classroom activities, accommodations and therapies can help and the provide the support the child’s development.
However, despite the widespread occurrence of children with special needs, there is a mixed response from schools.
Funding continues to be a problem for schools with pupils who have special needs. In the UK, a lack of funding for special needs is resulting in growing numbers of children being left without appropriate school places. National Education Union leader Kevin Courtney commented on official statistics which showed that 4,050 special needs pupils were left without a suitable placement in England last year.
Mr Courtney said: “Children are at home because local authorities don’t have enough money to provide suitable education.
“Local authorities are being placed in an impossible position.”
“They have a legal duty to plan high quality education for every child with SEND, but cuts have taken away the resources they need to educate children with complex needs.”
According to a survey by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services in the UK, there was a £400m shortfall in special needs funding in 2017.
In the US, schools are looking at alternative therapy and other methods to provide help and support to children with learning difficulties. One school in Albuquerque, New Mexico is giving kids with physical or mental challenges the opportunity to realize their potential through martial arts. Other programs include playing chess and music therapy.
Neptune Beach Elementary in Florida, recently launched a music therapy pilot program for children with special needs. Teachers, parents and school administrators are in the process of trying to raise funds to make the 10-week music therapy pilot program an all year program. A year long music therapy program costs in the region of $35,000.
Parent, Karen Demuth said she’s already witnessed her son have breakthroughs, just six weeks into the 10-week pilot program.
“Dante, my son, is 7-years-old and he was born with Down Syndrome and without an esophagus. He’s nonverbal and he has limited hearing and sight. He doesn’t speak, but he loves music,” said Karen Demuth.
Providing the support and attention that children with learning difficulties need is an expensive and complicated task. Globally, schools are falling short. More funding is needed and more research needed for the children to be given the chances to live up to their full potential.