The SEN label and its effect on special education
Educational and Child Psychology
British Psychological Society
© 2017 British Psychological Society
Reason for embargo
Aim: This article aims to explore whether labelling children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities is still helpful or whether this leads to more discrimination, exclusion and stigmatisation, according to Becker’s labelling theory. Method: Based on reviewing Special Educational Needs literature, this study begins with an exploration of advantages of assigning labels to children and young people with Special Educational Needs, such as determining appropriate provision and extra support. Also, it investigates the tendency of Special Educational Needs labels to negatively affect individuals in various ways such as their educational and employment futures. By considering labelling theory, this paper considers a crucial question in just who has the power to establish and assign labels to children and young people with Special Educational Needs or disabilities? Findings: In a succinct way, findings indicate that conceptualising disability and impairment according to medical and social models allows professionals to classify people with SEN according to normalising judgments of diagnosis and identification. Conclusion: The paper concludes that the drawbacks of SEN labelling seem to outweigh its advantages. Thus, it suggests to change the current label to be more alleviated and harmless.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the British Psychological Society
Vol. 34 (4)