I am deputy and SENCO in a primary PRU and I recently read a blog which discussed whether we should be labelling children ADHD, ASD etc or meeting their needs as unique individuals.  From a personal perspective I incline to the latter view but the pragmatic SENCO in me favours the former. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, children are excluded because they present challenging behaviours but  in many cases they have underlying issues which are undiagnosed. If a ‘label’ had been applied at an earlier stage then the child could have received the help and support they needed in mainstream; it is distressing for a child with acute ASD to be placed in a BESD setting as strategies to manage behaviour alone are at odds with strategies for ASD particularly when the child has sensory issues.
Secondly, when children come to us without a ‘label’ and struggle to access even our small classes then we have a problem. We are only a short stay provision and if the child cannot cope with a mainstream school due to SEN where is he or she to go? In order to move the child to a suitable specialist provision we need to begin statutory assessment procedures; an EP needs to diagnose and we need SEND support. The fact of the matter is the child needs a ‘label’.
So there is a dichotomy here; a PRU cannot operate effectively without applying labels although we recognise the need to look at the whole child. We do discourage children from seeing themselves as a series of ‘conditions’ but the reality is we have to!



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