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From time to time on this website, children’s difficulties are described in terms diagnostic labels such as ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorders’ (or ASD) and ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’ (ADHD). These descriptors are used because they are familiar to many teachers and parents.
However, we find it more helpful to describe the needs of children and how these are experienced in educational and community settings. For example, ‘difficulty in acquiring literacy skills’ rather than dyslexia or ‘difficulties communicating socially with other children’ rather than aspects of ASD. We do this for two reasons: firstly, it locates the need as part of interactions between the child, their environment and significant others (i.e. parents and teachers) – not necessarily within child and, secondly, it leads more directly to actions that can be taken to address the needs.