Access for All – Special Educational Needs

Introduction

senAt CamJam, we believe that our talks, workshops, marketplace and show and tell should be accessible to everyone. In particular, we recognise that there are people who are interested in the Raspberry Pi, computing and programming who have special educational needs, especially our younger visitors but also some adults.

For example, these needs may arise from the visitor being on the autistic spectrum. Many of those who have such needs have been assessed professionally and receive help at school or college and we feel it is only right that we should, where possible, attend to their needs, as well as those visitors who have not received such a diagnosis. We have therefore decided to come up with a list of actions that we will take at each of our main Jams to accommodate these visitors.

These actions and policies relate specifically to our younger visitors, i.e. those aged under 18, but broadly apply to adults with special educational needs as well.

Actions and policies

  1. We will ask, when a ticket is booked, whether any of the visitors in the party have special educational needs that we should be aware of. This will enable us to address their needs specifically.
  2. For each workshop session, we will obtain a breakdown of what will be happening in that session. This will enable us to give an outline timetable of what is going to happen during the session so that visitors are better prepared.
  3. At the time of booking on workshops, we will make it clear as to the working arrangements expected of visitors. Our normal arrangement is that visitors work in pairs on one Raspberry Pi workstation. This is not always appropriate for some visitors and so, for instance, a parent/carer may choose to book one ticket for their child and one ticket for themselves so that they can assist their child.
  4. Where visitors with special educational needs have booked on workshops, we will ask them if they need to sit somewhere specific in the room. Seats will then be reserved as necessary.
  5. We would ask that visitors with special educational needs are given support during the activity. We recognise that some visitors with special educational needs may not need full-time support in this manner, however. In this case, we do ask that the parent or carer remains in the building and that they let one of the workshop helpers know where they will be in case of emergency.
  6. We will notify workshop leaders and assistants that they have visitors with special educational needs in the room. This should allow them to a) be aware of any special needs and b) know that they can ask the parent or carer to help.
  7. We will identify which of our talks are suitable for children in general and we will always specify how long talks are. This should mean that parents and carers will be able to choose which talks to attend based on their child’s interests and attention span.
  8. Where possible we will designate part of the venue as a Quiet Area. This will provide parents/carers with an emergency respite area for when they just need peace and quiet for 10 minutes.
  9. We will attempt to designate an area for free-form hacking and learning. This will allow those with special educational needs to work at their own pace on smaller tutorial sheets in a quieter environment than a busy workshop room. This arrangement may not be possible due to venue restrictions.
  10. We will ask all show and tell exhibitors to provide an information sheet on their table for visitors to read. We recognise that some visitors with special educational needs are not always comfortable asking questions about the projects on display. The information sheet will enable them to learn about the exhibit without interacting unless they wish to.

Comments and feedback

We welcome all comments and feedback on the items above. You can either leave a comment on this page or use the Contact Us form.

Licence

You are free:

  • to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the material, and
  • to Remix – to adapt the material

… as long as the spirit of the original remains in place.

Authors

Michael Horne & Tim Richardson

Last update: 6th July 2015

5 thoughts on “Access for All – Special Educational Needs

  1. This is a really good policy and I think will have a big impact on visitors to the Jam. This might also sound quite a trivial issue but I would also try to make the Jam a nut free environment. Having a son who is very allergic and carries an epi-pen around with him at all times I am very conscious of this. Keep up the amazing work.

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