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By Dr Hannah Mortimereducational psychologist

It is important to support all children, with and without special educational needs, but at the same time, we must let them learn from each other

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‘Why wouldn’t they let me play with my friends? Whenever I started to play, my “shadow” would arrive and start to “support” me. She reminded me that I was different just when I was beginning to feel like everyone else.’

This is one of Gina’s memories when recalling her days at nursery. Gina has cerebral palsy and was supported by a personal support assistant throughout her education. It can be tempting for any support assistant to feel that, if they are being paid to support, then they must be there to shadow or hover around the child for the entire session. In reality, we know just how important it is that we also allow opportunities for all children to learn from each other. Support means far more than your physical presence.

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