Children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities are described as the ‘new frontier’ in special education. The disabilities of this new generation of children have previously rare causal bases – for example, rare chromosome disorders, assisted conception or premature birth, maternal drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy. With advances in medical knowledge, children who would previously not have survived into education are doing so. The educational needs of these children are different to those we have traditionally known, and as such are causing us to restructure our schools and educational approaches.
We need to expand our knowledge base and our responses to develop a new generation pedagogy through which to deliver their educational entitlement. In this series of booklets, each focusing on a different aspect of provision for children with complex learning difficulties, Professor Barry Carpenter, who directed the Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project, and colleagues, provide an introduction to the area and its concerns, identifying signposts for inquiry-based development which will support schools into the 21st century.
The six booklets cover the following topics: