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Predictors of additional support needs (ASN) in Scottish schools

Marwick, Helen and Sosu, Edward (2014) Predictors of additional support needs (ASN) in Scottish schools. In: European Early Childhood Educational Research Association Conference, Crete, Greece, Sept 2014, 2014-09-07 - 2014-09-10.

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Aims: To investigate early predictors in the pre-school years of social and behavioural difficulties identified in an educational setting at 6 years of age Relation to other work: The most frequent categories of Additional Support Needs (ASN) for 6 year old children in Scottish schools are social and behavioural ASN, and speech difficulties. Theoretical framework: If predictors of social/behavioural and speech ASN can be identified, targeted early interventions may be developed to support an optimally responsive environment for the child. Methodology: The Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) study provides detailed longitudinal data on the circumstances around children’s development. GUS data was examined to see if there were early predictors in parental Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) reports, of later social and behavioural and speech ASN young children. Ethical considerations: All GUS population data is fully anonymised. Main findings: Associations between persistence of untypical non-optimal SDQ scores reported for a child across the pre-school years and later ASN outcomes indicated scores in hyperactivity, conduct, and peer relations to be the strongest predictors of later identification of social and emotional difficulties or speech difficulties. However, a sizable proportion of children identified as having ASN in these areas were not found to have had persistent atypical scores on the SDQ domains. Implications: The findings indicate a complex interplay between ASN status and parental perceptions of early persistent difficulties in domains of the SDQ, and suggest the need to examine the role that responsiveness in the school environment may play in the social and behavioural ASN outcome for a child.