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Cognition and Learning Essay

Inclusion is a process that focuses on an attempt to address and tackle the diversity of needs related to all learners via increasing their involvement, in learning, communities, and cultures while reducing the educational exclusion (Booth, 1996). Inclusive education is related to the provision of responses associated with the broad spectrum of learning needs in the formal as well as the informal setting of education. Inclusive education is more concerned with the transformation of education systems to deal with learners’ diversity, instead of trying to integrate some learners in the educational mainstream.  Its purpose is to enable both the teacher and the learner to absorb and appreciate the diversity and to see it as enrichment challenge in the learning environment of educational institutes. Children learn new knowledge and experience variety of things – engaging in the new environment by active learning, thinking creatively, and exploring new settings – thus supporting the child to be an active learner. Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) has some prime and specific area of learning. The former one develops by experiences and new relationships whereas latter one gives importance to the context for learning knowledge and essential skills.

Personal, Social, and Emotional Development in Early Years

Personal, social, and emotional development in early years specifically 22-36 months and 30 – 50 months focuses on making relationships, developing self-confidence and self-awareness, managing their feelings and behaviours. During 22-36 months of life, a child is interested in watching others playing, showing concerns to other, sharing their experience, making friendships, with others, expressing their interests, seeking comfort from familiar people, expressing their feelings. Showing cooperation with rules, having increased ability to distract themselves.  On the other hand, during the 30-50 ,months of their lives, they have potential to play with others in groups, show friendly behaviors, select and use resources with help, enjoy small responsibilities, show confidence asking for help, well-aware of their feelings, tolerate delays in needs, adapt behavior to the social situation.

Communication and Language

Communication and learning in early years specifically 22-36 months and 30 – 50 months focuses on listening and attention, understanding, and speaking. At the age of 22-36 months, the child can hear the noise that adults make while reading stories with interest, identify and responds to the familiar sounds, learns new words, hold the conversation, use simple sentences, asks various questions. Whereas the child, at the age of 30-50 months listens to interesting conversation and stories, focus attention, follow directions, use a range of tenses, talk to connect ideas, use intonation and phrases, use vocabulary, use hypothetical words for things.

Physical Development

According to EYFS, physical development at the age of 22-36 and 30-50 months involve moving and handling things, and self-care. The child at 22-36 months is involved in running safely on foot, climbing confidently, kicking balls, turning pages, and learning to start using three fingers. Children at this age can feed and drink well, communicate their needs freely, and become independent in self-care. However, the child at 30-50 months of age has potential to move freely and confidently, mounting stairs, running skillfully, running momentarily, holding and catching things. In relevance to self-care, the child during these months can tell when tired and hungry, understand that items are needed to be handled carefully, manage washing hands, and dress with help.

Cognition and Learning

According to SEN Code of Practice, ‘cognition and learning’ is one of the four major areas of need. This is not only related to those children who are having issues with general or specific learning; but also with children who are having sensory and physical impairments; and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To respond effectively to the children having learning issues, it is important to consider a wide range of interacting and influencing factors that include physiology, psychology, society, and culture.

It is not easy to generalize the findings related to children in some specific educational context to other related circumstances. A variety of research in the field of cognition and learning is related to teaching children with having some specific learning disorder or impairments, syndromes, and deficiencies related to learning. Selection criteria are considered as an important factor upon which some studies have been carried out (Swanson, 2000). In the UK, the categorization of researchers mainly depend on the policies related to inclusive education and provision of students to local schools; as a wide range of studies are based on the underachievement and the moderate level of learning impairment. On the other hand, in the USA, researchers related to ‘cognitive impairment’ most often are based upon the IQ score in categorizing children. A very small number of controlled single-subject experimental studies are available in this domain. One of the biggest challenges for a child with ASD is communication. Children at their early years of development start babbling and increase vocabulary, but a child with ASD has delayed language skills. A study conducted by Mayo et al. (2013) findings have shown that children who start communicating before twenty-four months develop greater communicating and language skills than those who do not begin speaking before this age.

Cognition and meta cognition.

Research has a significant focus variably on the awareness of metacognition, development of basic cognitive processes for handling the processing and memory related information, and the control of learning strategies, thinking patterns, and also on the cognitive inter-relatedness. Child achievement is similar to his level of abstraction, familiarity, problem-solving skills and purpose of investigation. Advancement in the domain of neuroscience has focused on the children with general and specific learning difficulties.

Social constructivist teaching.

Majority of the researchers view the child as a curious and active learner who are always ready and motivated to learn new things, solve problems, contribute to the development of learning community, and to develop knowledge. Learners internalize new things from the thoughtful attention, guided participation and scaffolding. Any problem for children having specific learning difficulties might be arisen related to the social interaction, the communication, and the motivation.  Even the teaching strategies are quite effective in explaining the teacher-student relationship, peer selection, reflection on learning, problem-solving, and classroom activities.

Learning styles and preferences.

Individual differences in multiple intelligence and learning have a strong implication in learning domain. The use mind-mapping is quite useful for children having issues with learning difficulties. This mind-mapping techniques that help in understanding stories are now being added to the inclusion strategy of many schools as a part of the curriculum.

Combining learning approaches.

It’s a view of the number of researchers that one model explains only one model of teaching. So techniques of structured behaviour will consist of just one set of the skills that are focused by teachers related for the assessment of child’ need (Farrell, 1997:59). So the findings of a meta-analysis that focuses on the findings that a combination of teaching skills are better and more effective for children with ASD as compared to other models related to teaching strategies (Swanson, 2000). A combination of guided problem solving and explicit instruction provide evidence that it is an efficient and effective way of transferring and generalizing the learning in ASD.

Inclusion, participation, and access to learning.

Professional guidelines along with research evidence promote the classroom importance as a learning environment by focusing on the distinguishing new expansions in ICT. Team planning based on collaboration is considered as one of the significant predictor that enables the development of inclusive and flexible class environment. The physical arrangement of the classroom can be very uncomfortable for some children as sometimes a few students with ASD need particular attention to the learning situations. Moreover, inclusive learning has the positive impact on students’ performance (McMaster & Fuchs, 2002).

Inclusion Classrooms

Children were having ASD succeed well in the inclusive classroom setting. Although not much research is available, that focuses on behavioural intervention. But according to the study conducted by Grindle et al. (2012) school children who spend greater time in inclusive settings show better results than those who undergo through one on one intervention.

Classroom Structure. A number of studies suggest the variety of strategies to enhance the inclusion success by delayed contingencies, peer-mediated interventions, antecedent procedures, self-management skills, standardized one-to-one interventions (Crosland & Dunlap, 2012). Delayed contingencies are important to help autistic children to be academically independent. Peer-mediated interventions are also important and are established by teachers in the classroom setting.  These interventions are teachers’ responsibilities and allow a child with ASD to form a pair with developing class fellow, which will help him in social learning. Antecedent procedures help in reducing the prevalence of specific behaviours. Self-management skills taught at schools allow the student to get involved in the classroom goals, and further leads to increased independence. It also shifts their focus from the teacher to their peers. A standardized model for one-to-one interaction would only be used when the child showed any problem behaviour.

Barton (2012) also emphasized that classroom setting along with preventative measures are important for children with ASD. Barton (2012) and Crosland and Dunlap (2012) both have suggested that when visual cues are used with ASD children, then they will have the significant effect. As these cues are useful in providing a structured environment to be independent. The use of motivators would be helpful for the child. The motivators can be anything that influences the child to do what you are expecting (Barton, 2012). These strategies are quite helpful at pre-school level but can also be applied at the elementary level.

Approaches to Inclusive Classroom Education

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Many of the schools offer inclusive classrooms settings. Grindle et al. (2012) suggested the impact of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that can be applied to students with ASD. ABA is a concept that is often presented in the home-based programs. He suggested that ABA technique applied in home-based settings involve the child with ASD spending most of the skills that are necessary to be applied in social situations. A home-based setting is more helpful and effective as parents are also supposed to learn the techniques to be used at home.

Social constructivist theory.

This theory was presented by Vygotsky; he explained that the social interaction helps a lot in the cognitive functioning. According to this theory, the experiences and knowledge are inter-linked and the former controls the effects of latter.

This theory explains the importance of the role of sociocultural factors. He was in view that learning is highly affected by culture. The four fundamental capacities that Vygotsky considered newborn children were conceived with, however, required improvements through culture to form completely were: attention; sensation; perception; and memory (McLeod, 2014). Despite the fact that those capacities could contend exclusively, the social constructivists see the manners by which newborn children figure out how to focus or what to focus on. All these things are moulded by one’s culture. Mallory and New (1994) suggested the cases of children figuring out how to hold a pencil and the proper age one ought to peruse, both being socially particular and learned in a school setting.

Two of Vygotsky’s primary rules that guide this exploration are the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) and the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The two standards are comparable in that other individuals are utilized to impact a student. The MKO is somebody who learns more than the student, for example, an instructor (McLeod, 2014). McLeod (2014) additionally brings up that an MKO could be an associate contingent upon the idea, i.e., a computer game. The ZPD refers to teaching children on new points while enabling some level of self-revelation to happen. This strategy has been appeared to be effective with teacher’s cooperation and additionally peer connection meaning more able kids were helping their associates (McLeod, 2014). A study by Palincsar and Brown (1998) found that when children with various skills and aptitude are gathered in an inclusive classroom setting, then the group working on inclusive setting works greater and more appropriately than the non-inclusive one. The result of this study can be explained and justified by the social constructivist theory. An inclusive classroom setting with children of ASD and students having different aptitude will probably have the various, and deep discussion and instructor will be asked for the feedback subsequently, the children having divers capabilities will be more engaged with the experience of learning than the children with similar skills. Along these lines, as indicated by Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory, learning in a situation with individuals who have higher or diverse capacity levels is best for the optimal level of learning. Children with ASD are not subjected to be categorized as restricted or having a lower learning capacity. The idea of MKO and ZPD can nevertheless, still apply to such children especially in incisive settings.

Modelling is an approach that is normally utilized with children who have ASD. It is utilized to exhibit anything from eating to playing and should be possible by grown-ups or peers. MKO and ZPD are extraordinary kinds of demonstrating. Those ideas outline how classroom settings with peers who may have higher capacities either subjectively or socially can enable youngsters with ASD to grow particularly with the help of an educator. Social constructivism would discover that children with ASD would pick up learning through their experiences in school. For this situation, social and intellectual improvement would be upgraded by this theory. The language also plays the key part in social constructivism. Vygotsky trusted that language is created through social communications (McLeod, 2014). Through language, individuals can verbalize thought. The point in time that considerations are exhibited verbally is around age three (McLeod, 2014). Vygotsky trusted in two various types of discourse, one with the end goal of correspondence and one for self-control known as “private discourse.” There is proof that children who take part in private discourse have more prominent psychological advancement than others. Private discourse is utilized to manage children who might have a troublesome time with an assignment, for example, homework (McLeod, 2014). Children with ASD frequently battle with communication and language. The level at which a youngster with ASD battles with communication shifts in degree from utilizing using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)  for example, a discourse tool to interchanges that may show up somewhat not the same as normal. There are other devices like clicker 7; dragon dictate are the important one that supports learning in children with ASD.


The inclusive setting is helpful for students who are having ASD, and as greater work is spent at home, then it is more important to work more in that setting rather classroom. As now there is a need to explore the importance of inclusion at home for children with ASD.


Farrell, P., Alborz, A., Howes, A., & Pearson, D. (2010). The impact of teaching assistants on improving pupils’ academic achievement in mainstream schools: a review of the literature. Journal of Educational Review, 62, 435-448.

Department of Education and Department of Health. (2015). Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years. Available at:

Department for Education and Skills (DfES). (2001). Induction training for teaching assistants (Secondary). London: DfES Publications.

Department of Education. (2017). Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Available at:–2



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