'I worked for ten years in a mainstream primary school, the first four years as a special needs part-time teacher and then six years as as a SENCO/ pastoral support/ family support, also part-time. The school had high numbers of special needs children and many troubled children. Many children were over-social in the way they behaved. During my time at the school I introduced Functional Learning. I gathered all the materials - boxes and containers galore and interesting contents, bricks and trays, sticks, etc. - and tried to set up a work space either in a classroom or in the special needs room. Teaching Assistants who worked with me also did some of this work, although it was on a very small scale. We found it worked particularly well with children with learning difficulties who talked all the time and children with Asperger syndrome. They loved the chance to be quiet and made good progress. I introduced the book, Every Child Can Learn, to a Teaching Assistant who was working with a child who had been diagnosed with Asperger, ADHD and speech and language problems as well as having a parent with similar problems. At first I did the work myself and the TA continued it, eventually planning it herself. I have no doubt this approach works although it could sometimes be frustrating trying to find a suitable work area in a busy mainstream school. The classrooms are packed with children, wall displays, equipment, interactive whiteboards, computer areas etc. and in most rooms we struggled to find a suitable space. Interestingly in the classrooms where I did get a little area the children were able to work and focus their attention in the non-social Functional Learning lesson with no trouble at all! I think the sheer numbers of children with complex special needs who have now been integrated into mainstream schools, as well as an increasing number of children with serious emotional and even mental health problems, is making it very challenging in some primary schools. The school I have worked in most recently does not have one class now where there are not serious behavioural problems, and the staff are under immense pressure. I am so pleased to have Every Child Can Learn and hope some staff and parents in all schools will develop this approach to helping children with their learning because it does work!
Gwen Macmichael, Teacher
'Autistic children have gaps in their understanding of the world because they may get hung up on one particular skill, or direct energies usually used to learn into hyperactivity.
Functional Learning helps to fill those gaps so they can discover the pleasure of new experiences and learning, without fear' - 'Learning difficulties made a whole lot easier' from Hampstead & Highgate Express
'This is a fascinating book...I would certainly recommend it to those who are endeavouring to establish some learning, problem-solving and communication skills with children for whom they can be all too elusive' - Support for Learning
'The authors' firm belief is that every child can learn and this book shares the practical work, techniques and activities which the writers have employed to enable children to learn, communicate and play...An absorbing read' - SNIP
'I thought this book was extremely sensitive, thoughtful and respectful to children and their families, and in many ways speaks a similar language to one with which we are familiar as child psychotherapists' - Association of Child Psychotherapists Bulletin
'I found the book and CD-ROM informative, accessible and very positive…a useful working manual for anyone working in an early years setting where there is the time and commitment from staff and family to see the programme through' - Special
'Full of therapeutic wisdom. I particularly like the absolutely specific detail of how to help the child...[and] the idea of building up a child's repertoire and helping them sequence their actions and perception. I shall be sharing [the book] with my colleagues' - Stephen Scott, Professor of Child Health and Behaviour, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK, and Director of Research, National Academy for Parenting Practitioners
'This book is clearly written, jargon-free and well illustrated, including a CD. The authors describe in detail the treatment of Developmental Delay in young children, using the principles of Functional Learning. Parents are included from the outset to learn the techniques to continue treatment at home. The methods can also be used in educational settings. It is full of practical and fundamental knowledge and is highly recommended' - Professor Lionel Hersov, Professor of Psychiatry and Paediatrics
'Every Child Can Learn provides a wonderfully clear account of how children with a developmental delay can be helped to gain communication and problem-solving skills by exploring and using a range of 'learning tools'. The book and accompanying CD-Rom are highly unusual in being immensely practical, well adapted to what children like to do, and deliberately focused on learning through success. The authors' approach is based on a wealth of experience over many years. It is highly distinctive in having a well thought-through conceptual approach that involves a recognition of the need to tailor interventions to individual needs and particular family circumstances. Most of all, it provides a way to help children move on step by step as they progress in their development. Anyone working with children who experience developmental difficulties will learn an immense amount from this splendid guidebook' - Professor Sir Michael Rutter, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London
'Thank goodness there is now a clear and practical guide to this groundbreaking technique. The unique teaching approach described in this book helps children - even those with severe learning difficulties - to learn how to be ready to learn, spontaneously, from all their daily experiences. It is so well presented and explained here that I'm determined to recommend it to all the professionals and parents I meet. The originality of the approach is startling and the results fascinating both for students and teachers. This is the ultimate way to teach open ended thinking and problem solving skills to children whose emotional and developmental difficulties make it hard for them to learn' - Richard Brooks, Advanced Practitioner, Oxfordshire Service for Autism