Academics’ Book Explores Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion

Joanne Smith and Dr Alexandra Sewell

Joanne Smith, Course Leader for Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion (SENDI), and Dr Alexandra Sewell, Lecturer in SENDI, joined forces to author 'An Introduction to Special Educational Needs, Disability & Inclusion: A Student's Guide'.

Mrs Smith said the recently launched book was designed to be accessible to undergraduates, postgraduates, but also practitioners, such as special needs coordinators, along with teachers and school leaders with an interest in the field.

“We hope it raises the profile and understanding of SENDI,” she added. “It’s such an important topic and everybody should have some education on special educational needs and disability and inclusion. Some teachers are still going into schools and not having an understanding or empathy for children with special needs. There’s still discrimination in the wider society.  If we can contribute to expanding that knowledge and understanding we will know that we have really achieved something.”

The book aims to provide students and practitioners with the foundations and tools necessary to think critically about issues and developments concerning special educational needs and disability, inclusion and professional practice.

A year in the creation, the book looks at topics including the history of ‘difference’ and ‘disability’, an introduction to specific learning difficulties, SENDI support and intervention, mental health in childhood and adolescence, equality around access, provision and outcomes, using assistive technologies in practice and global perspectives on SENDI.

“The SENDI degree is relatively new,” said Mrs Smith. “There were textbooks on our reading list, but none worked as a key text because they were either really specific about a specific condition, like autism, or they were very broad. We were looking for something in between to support our modules. This book is very much focused on perspectives for practice.”

The book largely reflects topics covered on the course, but also wider themes, with contributions from Gareth Dart, Dr Marie Stephenson and Dr Peter Gossman, all lecturers in the University’s Education and Inclusion team. 

The book is available from bookshops, online retailers and the Sage publishers website.