This week is children’s mental health week. I spoke in the chamber this afternoon on how important it is to take steps on children’s mental health – especially the need to get things right for those with special educational needs.
It has been an incredibly difficult time for young people, with disruption at school because of the pandemic, as well as the age of 24/7 social media having negative impacts on mental health.
In terms of special educational needs and disabilities, we must bear in mind how much these children struggle with disruption, uncertainty, and change to routine which we have seen as a result of the pandemic. Getting special educational needs right has a societal impact – and if we don’t get it right, it has detrimental effects to mental health. Not being understood as a result of their differences can be disastrous for young people, their mental health, and their progress in school. As someone who grew up with dyslexia and dyspraxia, I know how it feels to have learning differences misunderstood, and just how important it is that we get this right.
We need to make sure that the system is one which works for young people with special educational needs, not only to ensure every child is reaching their potential, but also because of the wider societal impacts when these students fall through the cracks.