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Archive for January, 2015

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Why Special Needs Children Need a Quiet Classroom

I was reminded recently why a classroom needs to be kept quiet and distraction free for children who are neuro- diverse. Often people with neuro-typical brains don’t realize how hard it is to filter out distracting noises and movement.

A few weeks ago I attended my sons end of year school concert. Unfortunately when the headmaster gave his address a lot of people decided to talk. Many also allowed their children to jump around in the aisles. To begin with it is very rude to talk when someone else is talking. No wonder so many children have bad manners these days when they are not set a very good example.

The problem for me was that I cant filter out the distraction of other people talking or people jumping around. My head began to hurt because I had to concentrate so hard on what the headmaster was saying. It was not a very enjoyable experience and I couldn’t  follow everything that was said. The funny thing was a couple of people asked me how I had enjoyed it. I said it was good except for the people talking. They said they hadn’t noticed that people were talking.

This is how it is for the neuro-diverse child in the classroom. While the other children can sometimes chat and still do their work , children with Dyspraxia Dyslexia ADHD and poor working memory can’t, They need quiet to be able to think and absorb what they are doing. The teacher will often not realize how difficult it is to learn in an environment with even a small amount of noise. We often cannot fully understand what we have not experienced.

Just like my head hurt at the concert from concentrating, students in the classroom get sore heads too. It is also very tiring for them especially if they have to spend the whole day in this environment. Even though the noise level was acceptable for the other parents at the concert, I couldn’t follow what was being said without a great deal of effort to concentrate. It is the same for students with special needs. Children with neuro-diverse brains can not learn with the same level of noise as their teacher or fellow students. Teachers need to be aware that the noise level they can work in  may not be the same as what students with special needs can work in. Otherwise these students are greatly disadvantaged.

I attended TAFE at the beginning of last year. The class was often noisy as the majority of students could talk and work at the same time. I found this environment very unproductive and ended up having to do extra homework because I couldn’t work in a noisy environment. Children get enough homework from school as it is . It isn’t fair for them to have to do more because the classroom isn’t quiet.