One of the key areas of the Special Educational Needs code is the early identification of children with special educational needs. Once these children are identified, timely action is initiated to address those needs. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice outlines an agenda for efficient school based education with stress on evaluating the progress of children with special educational needs towards identified goals.
Conflicts occur amongst stakeholders in special education due to a variety of reasons. Design conflicts arise when stakeholders have conflicting ideas about special education requirements of their wards. These arguments characteristically are about issues like eligibility for services; methodology of intervention; perceptions about student needs and educational placement. Parents usually feel that their ward has needs that merit unique education services while the school administration may decide that the child is ineligible for these services. Arguments may occur over the most suitable methodology for intervention. In the recent past, a range of interventions have emerged that offer the possibility of amazing outcomes. However, some of these treatments tend to be costly and need highly specialized employees. This is a possible area of conflict. The second area of disagreement is the delivery of services. Delivery problems are those connected with implementing an intervention program that has been decided upon by the family and the school district. Although the stakeholders may have reached accord, both on the requirements of a child and on the services that the child should receive, disagreements may arise if either the school district fails to provide the decided services or the parents feel that services are not being suitably provided. Delivery disagreements frequently involve issues of provider competence, coordination of services, transportation, scheduling, procedural requirements, privacy, and/or confidentiality. Relationships are the most important but indefinable sources of arguments between school districts and parents. Relationship conflicts may stem from cultural differences, breakdowns in communication, and loss of trust. Although only a handful of states include this category in their analysis of requests for mediation, mediators and mediation program coordinators consider relationship conflicts to be a central reason that increasing numbers of parents seek mediation.
Difficulties in Evaluating Outcome Measures for Children with SEN
The entire premise of the SEN Code of practice is to enhance the learning outcomes of children with special needs. But the 'learning' has to be quantified so that various intervention schemes can be compared on this basis to identify the optimum intervention scheme. Evaluation of the outcomes of inclusive education is a complex issue (Farrell, 2001) and various studies which have tried to evaluate the outcomes have not yielded results which can be used to compare intervention mechanisms. There are numerous methodological issues which make it difficult to quantify learning (Nind 2002). Firstly, it is not possible to employ matched control group designs (or RCT) to evaluate different intervention mechanisms. Next, it is difficult to evaluate different studies (each with different groups of pupils) because children with spe