Keywords:Special needs, inclusion, social justice, explicit teaching
For Babylonia, 2021 has provided us an opportunity to reflect on the processes of inclusion and exclusion through language and, at times, school. While this theme is particularly evident in the first and last issues of the year (social justice and the representation of women), it is also prevalent in this issue.
By focusing on children with special needs, we are opening Pandora's box of individual differences and our ability to address them. And this is so in a school system that is still too frequently influenced by the belief that motivation and exposure are enough for students to absorb foreign languages like sponges and integrate them into their linguistic repertoires. However, one of the main conclusions of the contributions in this issue is that students with learning difficulties need, above all, explicitness, rules, repetitive exercises, and routines that promote learning.
Moreover, when Joe Biden uses his personal battle against stuttering as an election argument, we tend to forget that, for many, speech difficulties are associated with other problems (social and emotional issues, or problems related to stressful situations, etc.), further amplified this year by the loneliness of remote education.
With this issue, we hope to open up new pathways towards the reflection on the expectations of school and societal authorities with regard to students who do not have neither the opportunity nor the support to learn easily, and sometimes do not benefit from a family and social environment that allow them to catch up their delay; and we also hope to provide some practical ideas that favor progress in this eminently delicate area.
In this perspective, we would like to thank all the teachers, speech therapists and psychologists who strive to adapt to these children and to their individual differences in order to give them the time, the routines and the explanations they need.
We wish you a good time reading and a happy start to the 2021-2022 school year.
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