School Culture

Michelle Daly: Individual Needs

Michelle was born in 1972 in Newham, London. She attended a local special school from age five until sixteen and then went on to a local mainstream college.

Here Michelle talks about how her special school did not help pupils to understand each others needs.


Were you supported to understand each other's needs? No, you just had to develop that yourself. You weren’t supported to say 'This is the access needs of somebody, you will need to understand this', you just picked that up yourself. Nobody would sit down and explain to you about how maybe somebody would use facilitated communication, you would learn that yourself.
We had quite a few people in my school had speech impairments, as a result of cerebral palsy, or they may use a board to communicate. Again, technology wasn’t that great as well, so the way many youngsters talked was through touching symbols on a board or you’d have to learn to understand the speech patterns.
But nobody taught you that, you would just pick that up yourself and often we would have to speak for the youngsters because the teachers wouldn’t understand, that would be funny. So you’d translate, you know, speak, interpret what words the individual was saying. Yeah and you didn’t have that, no. Surprising, though, you’d think something like that’d be happening.

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