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Connecting UDL with new research on perspectives of Pasifika families on special education

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Started by Chrissie Butler 30 Jul 2013 10:16pm () Replies (1)

children from Fiji.jpg Understanding special education from the perspectives of Pasifika families is new research comissioned by the Ministry of Education.

Research in this area is really rare, so it is worth digging in.

Here are the recommendations:

Five priorities to increase engagement and satisfaction of Pasifika families with SE services

  1. Improve professional cultural intelligence and sensitivity
    1. Provide professional learning and development in intercultural communication and sensitivity for non Pasifika professionals
    2. Ideally ensure that the first person to contact a Pasifika family from SE services is from the same culture and speaks the same language
  2. Work holistically with families
    1. For consistency, assign one key professional to support each family and facilitate communication between professionals
    2. Maintain relationships and services across the transition to school including the child’s support worker
    3. Proactively work with other services to meet the holistic needs of the family and where appropriate include the extended family in communication
  3. Strengthen local community support services
    1. Work with other services to create local services or ‘one stop shops’ located in each community
    2. Encourage supported playgroups that are welcoming to Pasifika families with children with special educational needs
    3. Encourage family led support groups for Pasifika families that have children with special educational needs.
    4. Provide professional learning and development to church and community groups to increase understanding and engagement with SE services.
  4. Provide professional learning and development opportunities for teachers (ECE and school)
    1. In identification and referral
    2. To foster inclusion and inclusive practices
  5. Increase resources to support Pasifika families’ needs
    1. Increase support for children with special education needs across the transition to school
    2. Be more proactive in providing and disseminating information materials in a range of Pasifika languages within communities
    3. Develop and disseminate resources to help Pasifika families support their children’s learning and development.

Personal reflection

When I read the research, the first thing it made me think was the need to "know the learner and their family" before moving from 1st base. (And knowing how to do that in a appropriate and responsive way, would be the base before 1st base)!!

island bridge.jpg In UDL, knowing the learner, their culture, what they value, and what they bring with them underpins the Engagement principle.

It outlines that to ensure access to learning, our job as educators is to build bridges for students, so they can bring their world with them and make connections.

School is not the same as home, but as the research mentions many times "Pasifika cultural identity is relational rather than individual" and the student cannot be separated from their community, so they need to be able to bring it with them.

What are your first thoughts in the context of making links with UDL?

2 children image credit

Bridge image credit

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