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Inspire, inform, applaud

The Special Educational Needs Book Awards will be presented at the British Library next week. Geraldine Brennan eavesdrops on the judges

Academic Book Award

For the book that does most to inspire and inform educators.


Caroline Roaf (chair), visiting fellow Oxford Brookes University Roy McConkey, professor of learning disability, University of Ulster Margaret Rayner, chair of nasen research sub-committee Jonathan Rix, lecturer in inclusion, curriculum and learning, the Open University

Improving Transition Planning for Young People with Special Educational Needs. By Lesley Dee. Open University Press

Follows 12 young people with special educational needs aged between 14 and 17 through the key decisions about their future. The judges said:

"Exercises for schools and other organisations wanting to improve their service are interwoven with research."

"Sound, thorough and readable." "A neat, well-argued, tight piece of work in a neglected area." "All the research is in place, with very good methodology." "Significant findings with enough practical advice to have an immediate impact." "A clear common-sense approach." "This book serves an important function in an area where there is very variable advice for parents."

Diagnosing 'Disorderly' Children: A critique of behaviour disorder discourses. By Valerie Harwood. Routledge

A Foucauldian analysis of the kinds of behaviour that is labelled disorderly and how diagnoses are made, including case studies.

"This made me jump up and down with excitement." "A courageous book on all fronts." "It brings intellectual rigour to bear on a situation that is getting out of hand, and makes the arguments brilliantly." "Relevant, thoughtful and thoroughly satisfying."

Critical New Perspectives on ADHD. Edited by Gwynedd Lloyd, Joan Stead and David Cohen. Routledge

International contributors from fields including education, medicine and psychology explore reasons for the emergence of ADHD and offer alternatives to medication in treating it.

"This will get people thinking and talking." "A good example of an edited collection of papers." "Consistently well argued from a range of perspectives with a strong sense of cohesion in a highly contested area which is so misunderstood and badly addressed and where parents and children are under such pressure." "The international aspect is important."

Children's Book Award

For the children's book that most successfully provides a positive image of children and young people with SEN.


Rosanne Bartlett (chair), assistant headteacher, The Earls high school, Halesowen Nick Andrews, headteacher, Whitfield and Aspen CP school, Dover Tom Deveson, freelance consultant and writer Gabriella Morley, Aimee Wilde and Sophie Stoll, Year 9, The Earls high school

Looking after Louis. By Lesley Ely. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Frances Lincoln

A picture book about Louis, a boy with autism in a mainstream primary class, where the other pupils learn to understand and include him.

"I felt so warm after reading this." "If this book was in primary schools it would make life much easier for children with SEN when they reach secondary school" (Year 9 verdict). "There are characters you can get engrossed in and pictures you could talk about in class for ever."

"A very accurate account of how children cope with difference, with a message that being a bit different is no bad thing."

Jungle School. By Elizabeth Laird and Roz Davison. Illustrated by David Sim. Egmont Green Bananas

Three linked stories for beginner readers about Jani, a young monkey who uses a wheelchair, and her adventures in Miss Mango's class.

"Nobody says anything about the wheelchair, and it doesn't mean Jani can't do anything" (Year 9 verdict). "A very positive matter-of-fact story which sees the person, not the disability. It tackles the first day at school in a positive and effective way."

A Note of Madness. By Tabitha Suzman. The Bodley Head

A novel for teenagers about a music student with bipolar disorder, whose friends try to help as an imminent performance creates extra pressure.

"An exhilarating, emotive and at times exhausting read, which I couldn't put down." "A book I will go back to."

Touch and Go Joe: An adolescent's experience of OCD. By Joe Wells. Foreword by Isobel Heyman. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Joe Wells, 16 when his memoir was published, describes living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) from the age of nine.

"I absolutely loved this" (Year 9 verdict). "Clear explanations and good humour: it makes OCD a character with a personality. A must-read for Sencos, parents and carers but very accessible to young people. Some of the tips for overcoming OCD are very good."

Books for Teaching and Learning Award

For the book that most successfully helps children and young people with SEN access the curriculum.


John Moore, head of advisory service, Kent County Council (chair) Debbie Johnson, support teacher with Derbyshire SEN support service Olivia O'Sullivan, assistant director of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Wendy Spooner, freelance consultant

Get Physical! An inclusive, therapeutic PE programme to develop fine motor skills. By Lois Addy. LDA.

Forty lesson plans for key stage 1, developed by an occupational therapist with teachers and physiotherapists.

"Referenced to the national curriculum requirements. Clearly laid out and easy to use. The book provides advice on including children with a range of special educational needs and disabilities and includes additional differentiation for specific impairments or difficulties."

"Inclusive in an area of the curriculum where it is difficult to include all children." "An excellent and innovative resource." "Positive and purposeful with an emphasis on social skills and fun". "As a former primary teacher in a special school, I would have found this extremely valuable."

Teaching Maths to Pupils with Different Learning Styles. By Tandi Clausen-May. Paul Chapman Publishing

Sets out to provide an alternative way of developing number concepts for children who are primarily visual and kinaesthetic learners and who struggle with a largely print-based school curriculum and mathematics presented through symbols. It uses concrete materials to develop "pictures of the mind".

"Tackles an area of the curriculum many teachers lack confidence in." "Lots of good starting points." "Spans a lot of material and is strong on diverse learning styles."

"Although designed for children with visual and kinaesthetic preferences for learning, it has a great deal to offer teachers of children with learning difficulties." "Clear explanation and good visual layout, very innovative in approach."

Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Secondary School. By Lynn Plimley and Maggie Bowen. Paul Chapman Publishing in association with the Autistic Spectrum Disorders Support Unit

A resource book to support the inclusion of children with ASD in secondary schools. It covers the issues and strategies associated with social communication needs and is particularly strong on aspects of sensory difference and challenging behaviour.

"I liked the way it dealt with the difficult issues such as mental health, sexuality and future employment in a clear and direct way, providing well thought out, practical responses." "Easy to read yet informative." "Very accessible in an area of SEN that is now a key area of concern."

"Captivating, good presentation with the case studies, reflective oasis and points to remember." "Very useful for Sencos and teachers."

Transition Pathways: Guidance and tools to support person-centred transition planning with young disabled people aged 13-25. By Chris Sholl, Fran Dancyger, Maggie Parsons and Cathy Dale. The Transition Pathway Project

Covers students moving on from school to further education, employment, training, residential college and daytime activities.

The materials are designed to enable agencies to understand the process from the young person's point of view and enable young people with disabilities to maximise their involvement and decision-making.

"An important body of work on a key issue for adolescents with special needs." "Excellent presentation." "Practical ideas for schools to use."

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