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GA Conference 2005: Placing Places

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1 GA Conference 2005: Placing Places
Disability? What Disability? Phil Gravestock (University of Gloucestershire)

2 Disabled Students in HE: statistics
Self-assessed disabilities by UK undergraduates % Dyslexia 40.5 Unseen disabilities (e.g. epilepsy, diabetes, asthma) 19.7 Multiple disabilities 7.3 Deaf / hearing impairment 5.8 Mental health difficulties 5.0 Wheel-chair user / mobility difficulties 4.8 Blind / partially sighted 2.9 Personal care support 0.3 ‘Other disabilities’ 13.8 Source: HESA

3 Transition from School – FE - HE
Two reports: Aspiration Raising and Transition of Disabled Students from Further Education to Higher Education (National Disability Team & Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, 2004) A Review of the Provision of Learning for Young Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities (Gloucestershire LSC, 2004)

4 Transition from School – FE - HE
Main findings (NDT / Skill, 2004): ‘HE is not considered as an option by all disabled people who could benefit from a HE programme and who have the ability to complete a HE course’ Three key influencing factors: Information Skill Provision Tension between ‘dedicated’ provision and ‘inclusive anticipatory’ provision

5 Transition from School – FE - HE
Main findings (Glos. LSC, 2004): Recommendations include: greater collaboration between schools – FE – HE (and other organisations e.g. Connexions); increased staff development ‘The rhetoric of inclusion is far removed from the reality, with school being an unhappy place for many. High proportions of learning disabled young people are leaving full-time education at the earliest opportunity’

6 Photograph of Alistair Edwards (University of York) reading a Braille sign at St Thomas airport in the US Virgin Islands (Taken from ‘Braille Tokenism?’, ~alistair/braille.html

7 Transition from School – FE - HE
‘… because of the increased emphasis on the inclusion of children with SEN in mainstream schools the number of these children is increasing, as are the severity and variety of their SEN. Children with a far wider range of learning difficulties and variety of medical conditions, as well as sensory difficulties and physical disabilities, are now attending mainstream classes. The implication of this is that mainstream school teachers need to expand their knowledge and skills with regard to the needs of children with SEN’ (Stakes & Hornby, 2000, p.3, quoted in Swift, 2005)

8 Student Quote Dyslexia
‘There are days when you wake up and you’re clear, your mind is clear and you can take on the world. And then there are other days where you feel like your brain’s in goo and if you’ve got to write an assignment under those circumstances it’s difficult.’

9 The Situation in 1989 ‘I attended what was referred to as a special school for disabled students in East Sussex. Geography was my best and favourite subject. I vividly remember the geography field trips to both Bodmin Moor and the Yorkshire Dales. ‘It was these experiences that decided my academic career. I attended a mainstream 6th form college in Hampshire. At my interview I met with the Assistant Principal and told her that I wanted to do geography A-level. She said she wouldn’t be a minute and that she would get the Head of Geography to talk to me.

10 The Situation in 1989 ‘Five minutes later he poked his head around the door and disappeared. It transpired that he didn’t know how to handle disabled people, the field trip element of the course would be impossible and, therefore, he wasn’t going to allow me a place on the course. The response from the Assistant Principal was “I must be used to disappointments”! ‘That was 1989, and I am glad to say that this attitude is not as prevalent today. My career path was changed because a key person felt they / I couldn’t cope with being on the course.’ Mike Adams (Director of the National Disability Team) (

11 Student Quote Down’s Syndrome
‘I don’t suffer Down’s Syndrome, as many people seem to think, I was born that way and I feel great about myself. […] I have some learning difficulties but so do lots of my friends and they don’t have Down’s Syndrome. I also have friends with Down’s Syndrome and they are all different too.’ Swift (2005)

12 Models of Disability Medical model - tends to individualise the problems experienced by disabled people and sees them as subjects for treatment and cure Social model - shifts the focus from what is 'wrong' with an individual, to the attitudes and structures of society, i.e. disability is a social state and not a medical condition Emphasise primarily a social model; in particular, what disabled students are functionally able to do, and what support they need to overcome any barriers that they face

13 Terminology In line with the social model of disability the term ‘disabled people’ is used in preference to ‘people with disabilities’ ‘The use of the term “disabled people” is not intended to imply that all disabled people are a homogeneous group. Indeed, … disabled people should be explicitly recognised as individuals who will experience different personal challenges during life’ (NDT & Skill, 2004)

14 Terminology Social model
To have an impairment is to be lacking part or all of a limb, or have a defective limb, organ or other body mechanism, or to have a less than fully developed mental ability To have a disability is to be disadvantaged or restricted in one’s activities by a society which takes insufficient account of people who have physical, sensory or mental impairments and thus to be excluded from mainstream social activities (Oliver, 1990, quoted in Kitchin, 2000)

15 Terminology Special Educational Needs (SEN) – when children have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age ‘Not all disabled people have “special educational needs” and not all pupils with SEN are “disabled”’ (NDT / Skill, 2004) Instead of ‘Special Educational Needs’ it is better to consider ‘barriers to learning / participation / achievement’

16 Terminology ‘“Inclusion” or “inclusive education” is not another name for “special needs education”. It involves a different approach to identifying and attempting to resolve the difficulties that arise in schools.’ ‘Children have a right to be in mainstream schools. […] Schools should change to make that possible’ CSIE (2000)

17 Student Quote ADD / ADHD
‘Sometimes I get very angry with my parents and teachers because they […] think I am not listening because I am ‘jigging’ about, but for me this is how I listen the best. […] It’s just that I get so excited about things and I can’t wait to try them or share what I know or have found out.’ ‘I am always losing or forgetting things. What they [parents and teachers] don’t realise is that this makes me as angry as they are.’ Swift (2005)

18 Disability Discrimination Act
Part 1 Disability Part 2 Employment Part 3 Discrimination in other areas (goods, facilities, services and premises) Part 4 Education (2001) Part 5 Public Transport Part 6 Disability Rights Commission Part 7 Supplemental Part 8 Miscellaneous

19 Definition ‘A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’ Disability Discrimination Act

20 Legislation The main points in the DDA Part 4 are:
The duty not to treat people ‘less favourably’ for a reason relating to their disability The duty to make ‘reasonable adjustment’ to ensure that a disabled person is not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared with a non-disabled person An institution’s responsibility to make sure that ‘reasonable adjustment’ is anticipatory to disabled students generally, not to individuals

21 Anticipatory Duty The legislation requires that anticipatory ‘reasonable adjustments’ are in place to ensure that disabled students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared with their non-disabled peers It is not acceptable simply to react to the needs of known disabled students The needs of all potential disabled students have to be considered in advance Ad hoc solutions are usually too late to be effective (and are labour intensive)

22 What is reasonable? Factors Need to maintain standards
Financial resources available Cost Practicality Health and safety Interests of other students

23 Student Quote Autistic Spectrum Disorder
‘I know that I have to do things in certain ways and then I feel calm. I don’t like school that much but I do like geography. That is because I can look at maps and think about the motorways. Sometimes the kids in my class shout at me because I like to make my special noises even though I do not always know when I am making them.’ ‘I like working on the computer because it does not get angry.’ Swift (2005)

24 Example 1 A pupil with Tourette’s Syndrome is stopped from going on a fieldtrip because he has used abusive language in class. The school has a policy of banning pupils from trips and after-school activities if they swear or are abusive to staff. Based on DDA Code of Practice for Schools

25 Example 1 The reason for not allowing the pupil to go on the fieldtrip is his use of abusive language. His involuntary swearing is a symptom of his Tourette’s Syndrome. This is less favourable treatment for a reason that relates to the pupil’s disability.

26 Example 1 In this case the responsible body might argue that the inclusion of the disabled pupil on the visit would make the maintenance of discipline impossible. This may constitute a material and substantial reason. However, the responsible body would need to have considered the extent to which the disabled students behaviour could have been managed. It would also need to have considered whether reasonable adjustments could have been made to its policies and procedures before it could attempt to justify less favourable treatment.

27 Example 2 A pupil with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair is on a fieldtrip. The teachers arrange to take the class on a 12-mile hike over difficult terrain to look at particular landforms. Having carried out a risk assessment, they decide that the pupil who uses a wheelchair will be unable to accompany the class, for health and safety reasons. Based on DDA Code of Practice for Schools

28 Example 2 This is less favourable treatment for a reason that relates to the pupil’s cerebral palsy, namely the use of a wheelchair. The responsible body is likely to be able to justify the less favourable treatment for a material and substantial reason: a risk assessment carried out in relation to this particular pupil in the particular setting in which they would have to travel indicated that the health and safety of the pupil, and their classmates, could be jeopardised if they were to attempt the hike. This is likely to be lawful.

29 Student Quote Tourette’s Syndrome
‘I try to control the movements [tics] by tensing my body or concentrate hard on doing different things but this does not always work. Sometimes I can hold the tics back but then it is like I am bursting; the tics explode and go on for a longer time than usual and then I disrupt the class.’ ‘I have only a few close friends which I can understand as my behaviour embarrasses me so it must embarrass others.’ Swift (2005)

30 Developing an Inclusive Curriculum
What are the core requirements of the subject that you teach? Begin to formulate a strategy, by addressing the following questions: How accessible is the curriculum for students with a range of impairments? How might the curriculum be made more accessible for students with a range of impairments?

31 Developing an Inclusive Curriculum
What steps would need to be taken to implement the ways identified to enhance access to the curriculum? What barriers are there to achieving the changes you have identified and what can be done about them? How can the ways in which the curriculum is particularly accessible or inaccessible be made known to potential students with a range of impairments? Teachability (2000)

32 Developing an Inclusive Curriculum
‘Resources are needed to buy specialist equipment, but there are many things that teachers can do which do not cost money or require too much time. In fact it is often the subtle changes to the craft of teaching that make all the difference’ Swift (2005)

33 Student Quote Dyslexia
‘Fieldwork is the best thing about geography, a good way to learn, but it’s difficult for me to make notes in the field. Please put more information in the handout and remember that it is hard for me to read and write in bright sunlight.’ Swift (2005)

34 Fieldwork ‘When designing fieldwork activities we have it in our gift to integrate accessible learning opportunities and to design out barriers to outdoor learning. This is both liberating and intimidating’ Swift (2005)

35 Fieldwork: Supporting Strategies
Make sure that the learning objectives are clear Provide clear sequential instructions prior to fieldwork (in multiple formats as necessary) to reduce anxiety Provide clear instructions on the day (orally and visually) Consider the weather conditions when asking students to write (e.g. bright sunlight) Allow enough time for writing notes, and consider whether providing a structure would help

36 Fieldwork: Supporting Strategies
May have to help with left / right and directions Use a ‘buddy’ system so that students not on their own (with possibly poor sense of direction) Review the nature of the terrain Provide clear guidelines for behaviour Consider whether a tape recorder would be suitable for some students for field notes Use digital images to reinforce important points Talk to the student about effective strategies

37 Dovedale Fieldtrip Differentiation of Task
Worksheets were designed in a dyslexia-friendly way with lots of space and no clutter on the sheets. Written work was kept to a minimum. Activities planned included the use of discovery cards, pupils randomly choose a discovery card and talk about that particular issue being raised from the card. The discovery cards are multi-sensory. A teaching assistant accompanied each group of pupils to help anyone who needed support.

38 Dovedale Fieldtrip Differentiation of Itinerary
The three pupils with physical disabilities were given an outline of the trip before it was finalised and booked, the pupils and parents were asked for their views as to the suitability of the trip for their child. Parents clearly understood what their children would be expected to do. A thorough pre-visit was completed by staff and teaching assistants to check the suitability of the terrain for those pupils with a physical difficulty.

39 Dovedale Fieldtrip The itinerary was to complete village survey work in the morning and then to go on to walk along a river in the afternoon. It was decided that a smaller group consisting of the three pupils with physical disabilities and their friends should take part in a differentiated trip. The pupils complete work in a village first with the other pupils but the smaller group would spend less time on this part. The smaller group then had lunch first and began the walk 45 minutes earlier than the main party. The main party split up into groups for the walk for Health and Safety reasons. Each group then completed the walk.

40 Wikki Stix Cross section of the Malvern Hills using Wikki Stix

41 Summary and Conclusions
When planning any activity, consider the core requirements of the learning outcomes that you are trying to achieve Provide as much information as possible in advance of an activity / fieldtrip, and preferably have this available in electronic format If in doubt, ask the student – they often know the strategies that work best for them By eliminating barriers to learning, disabled students become … students

42 References CSIE (Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education) (2000) Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools GDN (Geography Discipline Network) (2002) Learning Support for Disabled Students Undertaking Fieldwork or Related Activities, Gloucestershire LSC (2004) A Review of the Provision of Learning for Young Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities, conducted by Red Box Research on behalf of Gloucestershire LSC SubjectListing/Research/reviewofprovision.htm

43 References Kitchin, R. (2000) Disability, Space and Society, Geographical Association NDT / Skill (2004) Aspiration Raising and Transition of Disabled Students from Further Education to Higher Education Swift, D. (2005) Meeting Special Needs in Geography, David Fulton Publishers with the Geographical Association Valuing Paces Project

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