The inclusive destination
Lynsey Robinson, September 2010
In a recent article published in issue 48 of SEN magazine, Lynsey Robinson explores how to make school visits accessible and rewarding for all
The opportunity to interact with nature and enjoy outdoor environments is an essential part of everyone’s lives, with potentially enormous benefits for physical and mental wellbeing. In Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv talks of nature deficit disorder, the idea that children are spending much less time in the natural environment and are subsequently experiencing a range of behavioural difficulties and health issues. Fewer natural environments for children to experience (particularly in built up areas), greater anxiety about health, safety and security on the part of parents, carers and teachers, and the lure of technology and the screen mean that school visits to outdoor locations are more important than ever.
At the same time, outdoor environments can be testing destinations, presenting a variety of challenges for children with disabilities and SEN. Risk assessments for outdoor environments need to include considerations as diverse as appropriate clothing and footwear, the weather and contact with animals. The natural environment can be unpredictable; facilities may be scarce and locations can be remote. On top of all that, careful consideration needs to be given to planning the trip, acquiring necessary permissions and organising transport for the journey. So how do you ensure a successful visit?
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SEN Magazine is a glossy, full colour magazine published every two months and packed full of interesting and authoritative features, news and articles covering all issues to do with SEN and disability. It's essential reading for teachers, SENCOs, carers, parents, therapists and all practitioners in special needs.