Skip main navigation

Overlapping needs

A case study of a child with overlapping needs
© The Open University

Children may have sensory impairments such as hearing or vision impairments. These might be combined with physical impairments which could be of equal, greater or lesser significance.

Read the following case study about Xiuying, then complete the task.

Case study: Xiuying

Xiuying is a seven-year-old girl who has spina bifida, a condition that affects the shape of the spinal cord and causes problems with movement, and a visual impairment. She attends a mainstream primary school and has a full-time learning support assistant. She is a wheelchair user and the school has adapted its environment to include ramps and a stairlift to enable her to move around the building. In Xiuying’s case, her visual impairment is the more significant of her additional needs. To enable her to fully participate, the school must:

  • ensure children move out of the way when she is moving between classrooms
  • provide access to Braille materials
  • enlarge print materials
  • ensure the learning support assistant can describe any images to Xiuying when using the whiteboards, videos and other visual prompts.

In this way, every day and every lesson must be adapted and both of Xiuying’s additional needs taken into account to make sure she is included.

Your task: Supporting Xiuying

Estimated study time: 10 minutes

Make notes in your journal about how Xiuying’s various needs are supported in her mainstream school.

  • What else might the school need to do to ensure Xiuying is fully included?
  • How might Xiuying’s overlapping needs be met at home?

We’ve included an optional video in See also that you may find useful.

In the next step you will explore dyspraxia and consider how children with dyspraxia can be included in schools and educational settings.

© The Open University
This article is from the free online

Understanding Inclusive Education: Current Approaches

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education