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Reported today in the telegraph

Ministers have launched a formal inquiry into children with special needs amid concerns that the numbers being diagnosed have shot up in recent years.
Sarah Teather, the new Children's Minister, last week ordered a Green Paper on youngsters with Special Educational Needs (SEN), amid concerns that the diagnosis may be being overused to explain simple bad behaviour – or even in order to get more money for schools.

It has now emerged that the number of children aged between two and four who were assessed as having special needs by nurseries has risen by 19 per cent in two years to 31,350.

Another 8,280 were diagnosed as needing a legal “statement” setting out the support they are entitled to, a rise of eight per cent since 2008.

The Green Paper ordered by Miss Teather into special educational needs and the lives of disabled children will be published in the autumn.

She is concerned that parents are being given insufficient advice and support following a diagnosis of SEN, with some beginning to question whether their child may have been inaccurately labelled as having special needs when in fact they may just be badly behaved.

Figures released by the Department for Education also show that twice as many male as female pupils are registered as having special needs, suggesting that naughtiness by over-exuberant little boys may be being misinterpreted as a syndrome such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

There is no medical test for SEN, and diagnosis is performed by experts observing the child’s behaviour.

As well as the possibility of overzealous use of the term SEN by experts, there have been suggestions that diagnoses may be occurring for more cynical reasons, as schools and even parents seek to take advantage of the extra help given to children with special needs.

Schools have a “perverse incentive” to enlist as many children with SEN as possible, in order to improve their standing in league tables, while parents with an SEN child have more chance of getting them into the school of their choice.

Earlier this year, Philipa Stobbs, a senior Government adviser and expert on special needs, said children were being “over-labelled” when they might simply be falling behind in school.

She went on: “I don’t think it’s very helpful to infer that children behind in their learning have SEN.

“They are only working below the standards they should be achieving.

“Teachers need to sidestep the label and look at children’s progress in a more responsible way, using their age and prior attainment.”

Dr Gwynedd Lloyd, an education researcher at the University of Edinburgh, added: “You can’t do a blood test to check whether you’ve got ADHD – it’s diagnosed through a behavioural checklist.

“Getting out of your seat and running about is an example – half the Children in a school could qualify under that criterion.”

Ministers are said to believe that children who are genuinely in need of support, and their parents, should have more targeted help.

Announcing the Green Paper, Miss Teather said: "We want to make sure that the most vulnerable children get the best quality of support and care.

“Children with special educational needs and disabilities should have the same opportunities as their peers.

“The system needs to be more family friendly so that parents don’t feel they have to battle to get the support their child needs."
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What are you views on this?
I think its potentially very scary!!!
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its just another excuse to try and cut down on the monies given to already under funded schools from what i can see, the reason more children are being diagnosed is because parents are becoming more knowledgeable through groups like these, and are standing up for their children's rights :S
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This has incensed me as my son has ADHD, he has had very obvious problems from a young age. He is well discipined and this is apparent...even though he is hyperacctive, impulsive and has a lot of other issues, low self esteem, poor social skills, etc

I am concerned as ADHD is not well received by the public and children with ADHD are often pointed out as naughty so this just reinforces the message!!!! The government could be more discreet and empathetic in their approach!!
I agree that often parents look to blame bad behaviour on ADHD when a lack of discipline is apparent and perhaps the parents are lacking in parenting skills...for a number of different reasons.

The most vulnerable people in society are going be hit for six here and its not fair.Fight
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i dont know about adhd but autism is a lot more common in boys than girls which would account for more boys being diagnosed,
how come there are supposedly so many naughty children getting incorrectly labelled yet they struggle to "label" a genuine case?
There comes a point in your life when you realize:Who matters,Who never did,Who won't anymore...And who always will..
So, don't worry about people from your past,there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.

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