There are lots of reasons why someone might need additional support with their learning. Whatever the reason, these things are called additional support needs (or ASNs for short).
If the reason you need extra support is something that is new, like a diagnosis, it can take a bit of time to adjust and work out how you feel about it.
You might also feel unsure about how you much you want to share with others, which is absolutely fine.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this experience. Many other people understand what you’re going through.
Also, there will be lots of other people in your class or school who get extra support with their learning. You might not be aware because their support might not look the same as the help you need.
Having additional support needs does not make you less capable or intelligent. It just means that you may need a little extra help in certain areas.
You might feel anxious or uncertain, especially if it is something that is new for you. This is a completely natural way to feel, so try not to worry.
Things to know…
Here are 6 important things to know if you feel like you need time to understand your support needs:
- It’s ok not to feel ready to talk about your support needs or to ask for help.
- Needing to take a bit of time to adjust and get your head around things is normal. If you feel pressured, it might be a good idea to try and explain to people that you need some space and time before talking about your support needs.
- When you feel ready, you can ask for help. For example, this could be asking a teacher for clarification on a lesson or seeking support from someone outside of school. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- If you can, talk to someone about your feelings and any concerns you may have. This could be a parent, carer, youth worker or someone at school. Communication is important to help get the support you need.
- You can shape your support. Sometimes the support your teacher suggests might not work for you – e.g. like putting your hand up every time you need help. Remember, you can ask them if there is a different way they can help you that works better for you.
- It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are lots of reasons why people need additional support with their learning. You can find out about some of these here. Many people have additional support needs and understand what you’re going through.
If you are 12-15 and finding it difficult to speak to your school, an organisation called My Rights, My Say can help.
You can contact them by hitting the button below:
Do you want to hear from pupils in Scotland who have additional support needs? Then great news – we now have a whole section on Reach dedicated to the Inclusion Ambassadors!
They are a group of young people from across Scotland who get extra help with their learning. They meet to talk about what works well for them at school and what doesn’t work so well.
The Inclusion Ambassadors campaign to make the experience school better for everyone. For example, they have produced a language and communication guide. They created this guide in order to share how they (as pupils with additional support needs) would like people to speak to them in school.
They’ve also recently set up an award called the ‘Success Looks Different Award’. They present this to schools who make extra effort to celebrate the successes of all pupils, and not only focus on exam results.