Melinda Elson

Therapeutic & developmental work with children with learning difficulties

Developing Thinking blog

A discussion of learning difficulties and disabilities, items in the news, and research on learning disabilities in children, young people and adults.

Responses to SEN Questionnaire on attitudes and beliefs about learning difficulties

The Times Ed SEN Exhibition was a great success and it was lovely meeting so many people. Thanks to all of you who filled in my questionnaire on attitudes and beliefs of and about SEN children, young people and their families. The results are very interesting and I am including them in this blog. I have written each question, then given the responses that were

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Research into Learning Difficulties

I wrote in my first blog about how very little research there is into psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy with children and young people with learning difficulties. There is research with children and young people who don’t have learning difficulties and the effectiveness of this work, such as the “sleeper effect”, the term used to describe how the therapy goes on working after the child has finished having psychotherapy. There is research with adults who are having or have had psychoanalytic psychotherapy and how IQs are higher after having had psychoanalytic psychotherapy. But there is virtually nothing with children with learning difficulties. There are very interesting and enlightening written accounts by child psychotherapists of individual work carried out with learning disabled children and how it has helped them and made a difference to their lives and those of their families.  But RCTs (Randomized Control Trials ) are harder to administer and measure outcomes, and it seems at present that is what those controlling the purse strings are wanting. There is some research going on at the moment and I hope in the not too distant future to bring you the details of it, as there are promising results and more research being planned.

Meanwhile, I will be conducting my own research in the form of questionnaires when I am at the annual  Special Educational Needs Show in London on 10th and 11th October.

I’ll be at stand 255 – come and see me, you’ll be able to find out more about my work, ask me any questions you might have, and fill in a couple of brief questionnaires to help me learn about what you think about  therapy and learning difficulties.

Look forward to seeing you there!

TES Special Educational Needs Show

October 10 & 11   2014

Business Design Centre

Islington, London



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It's that time of year again

Here it is, almost the end of the school year. Time has flown when we think back to last September when school started, all the hopes and aspirations with new timetables, new subjects, perhaps a new school.  There have been school visits to interesting and fun places as well as after school activities, school journeys, possibly journeys further afield for a few days or more. It’s been an exciting year. But what’s happening now? In many classrooms, both in special schools and mainstream schools behaviour seems to be changing, deteriorating, things not seen all year are suddenly erupting and adults are wondering what’s going on here? What’s got into these kids, children, young people? They didn’t behave like this a few months ago. In classrooms and playgrounds there seem to be more upsets, tears, angry outbursts, bullying, arguments and fights.  

Endings are difficult, good byes painful, especially when they aren’t thought about, when they aren’t acknowledged and when feelings about separations are ignored or denied.  It can even feel like we’re being rejected, being pushed away,

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You can lead a horse to water but......

You can lead a horse to water but………

 The Times newspaper (Saturday 7 June/14)  reported that the Conservative party under Education Secretary Michael Gove intends to eradicate illiteracy within a generation. Plans are being drawn up that would ensure all children will leave primary school with strong reading and numeracy skills. The Times  goes on to say that at present 15 % of primary children leave school with inadequate reading and maths skills. Close to 75,000 children, 60% of whom are boys begin secondary school unable to read properly. In this respect Britain lags behind all other European countries except for Spain and Italy. The OECD (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) in their latest research links poor literacy and general underachievement with social origin and this is most evident in Britain.

My first teaching post was in an ILEA (Inner London Education Authority)  boys’ secondary comprehensive school in a rough area of the capital. Two prisons were within walking distance and most families lived in well worn council

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