Learn more about SEND

As part of our work to tackle the global learning crisis, we’ve conducted research into the state of education for special educational needs and disabled (SEND) children.

Below is a summary of these findings from our research papers1234. The summary gives an overview of the global situation and the hurdles we need to overcome. 

This overlaps with our work on education responses to COVID-19.

Key findings
  1. Primary school completion rates are at least 10% lower for the 93 million SEND children worldwide according to UNESCO.
  2. Of the 93 million SEND children in the world, around 75 million are from LMICs 
  3. Only five to 15 percent of LMIC children who need assistive technology have access to it.
  4. The main barriers to LMICs adopting EdTech to support SEND are 
    1. not understanding the benefits of EdTech and assistive tech for SEND students
    2. a short supply of accessible tech
    3. unequal access to Internet connectivity and poor infrastructure
    4. lack of money
  5. Many policymakers are not aware of inclusive approaches to education like The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework by Mattingly & McInerney, that can be effective without using technology.
  6. There is a difference between segregated (separate schools), integrated (separate classes) and inclusive (no separation) education. Inclusive education creates better schools by accepting that everyone is different, not just those with disabilities. 
  7. In a review of assistive technologies
    1. Learning disabilities were most effectively combated by word processing, multimedia and hyper-text. EdTech tools with a flexible approach to targeting learner strengths have also shown positive improvements.
    2. Hearing impaired students made significant academic gains with the help of subtitles, text highlighting and touch-based text tools. Hearing impaired preschoolers have improved their language skills with interactive story books and multimedia dictionaries.
    3. Children with ADHD have found multimedia ebooks helpful in their development.
See examples and get advice

We’ve also listed examples of effective support for SEND learners and clear ways that you can support them as a policymaker, decision maker or education practitioner. 

Reference papers
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