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The 7 Best Recent Books on Educating Children with Special Needs

About 11 months ago By Alex Schulte

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Helping pupils with Special educational needs and disabilities overcome their barriers to learning is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in schools. It is also a fruitful area of research and study, with dozens of quality books published on SEND educational practice every year. While 2020 and 2021 may have been extraordinary years in every other way, this is one tradition they didn’t break from.

At Protocol Education, we are committed to equipping teachers and teaching assistants with the skills and knowledge they need to properly support their pupils with SEND. To complement our range of specialist SEND training courses, we’ve put together this list of the 7 most useful books published in the last 18 months about special needs support.

The Inclusive Classroom: A new approach to differentiation by Daniel Sobel and Sara Alston [Bloomsbury]

This new book by CEO of the Inclusion Expert consultancy, Daniel Sobel, and veteran SENDco, Sara Alston, is a slim, accessible and highly readable overview of the latest practical guidelines for creating a more inclusive learning environment in which children of all abilities can flourish.

Published in January, the book swiftly became a bestseller in its field. As a quick explainer of inclusive practice and its latest incarnations, we think it can’t be beat.

But You Don’t Look Autistic at All by Bianca Toeps, translated by Fay Maccorquodale-Smith [Toeps Media]

Of the rainbow of conditions that we talk about when we talk about SEND, autism can be one of the most commonly misunderstood. In this candid, entertaining book from 2020, Bianca Toeps sets out to dispel some of the most persistent myths around her condition.

Probing deep into the science of autism while also giving a nuanced, first-hand account of life on the spectrum, Toeps’s book will give educators a clearer view of the needs and experiences of their autistic students.

100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play: Fun Activities for Young Children with SEN by Georgina Durrant and Christopher Barnes [Jessica Kingsley Publishers]

Education is most effective for younger children when it’s fun, and that’s just as true for those with SEND as any others.

This charmingly illustrated new book gives educators and parents a comprehensive toolbox of activities that will bring learning to life by appealing to kids’ imaginations. Next time you’re struggling to engage your harder-to-reach young pupils, one of these tasks might come in handy.

Understanding ADHD in Girls and Women, ed. by Joanne Steer [Hachette Book Group]

Girls are three-to-four times less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than boys, leaving many to struggle with the condition unnoticed and underserved.

This new collection of expert information and perspectives aims to give women and girls access to more information about ADHD, plus clearer routes to assessment and diagnosis. Teachers and TAs could do well to read the sections on how ADHD manifests itself in females and how the education system could better adapt to their needs.

Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t: Engaging with Challenging Behaviour in Schools by Adele Bates [SAGE & Corwin]

This spicily titled handbook from behaviour specialist Adele Bates is written specifically to help teachers navigate the tricky constellation of behavioural disorders. Behavioural management strategies are a popular topic among our teaching and support workforce at Protocol Education, so we’re particularly enthusiastic about this lucid and amusing new book of tips for dealing with difficult pupil behaviour in the field.

Creating Sensory Smart Classrooms: A Practical Guide for Educators by Jamie Chaves and Ashley Taylor [Routledge]

Over the years, countless children with sensory processing issues have had their educations marred by being dismissed as clumsy, tantrum-prone, melodramatic or hyperactive.

We hope that this new book will go some way in making educators more aware that many of their pupils will experience an array of difficulties in interpreting the world around them.

The Anxiety Workbook for Supporting Teens Who Learn Differently: A Framework and Activities to Build Structural, Sensory and Social by Clare Ward and James Galpin [Jessica Kingsley Publishers]

Whether on its own or as a feature of other conditions, anxiety can be debilitating for young people’s efforts to learn, develop and thrive.

We are impressed by Ward and Gilpin’s efforts to make their book as practically useful as possible. Within its neatly divided three sections, educators will find a diverse treasure trove of workbooks that will help SEND pupils overcome their struggles with anxiety.

A bit of knowledge is a powerful thing when dealing with SEND conditions. That’s why Protocol Education gives all our registered educators the chance to develop their understanding of SEND with a wide-ranging set of CPD-certified courses.

If any of the books on this list inspire you to change the lives of those children who need it most, register with Protocol Education and we’ll put you to work.

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