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"While there is no formula that will guarantee learning for every student in every context, there is extensive, well documented evidence about kinds of teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning". (NZC,p.34)

Students with complex and profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) need distinct kinds of teaching strategies and approaches to enable them to access the curriculum. These strategies and teaching approaches will be heavily reliant on sensory educational research.

"Multisensory approaches to learning and life are very much accepted as an essential means of learning for very special learners.  The senses enable understanding of events through perceptions. They are grouped to form cognition or an understanding of the world and events, permitting the individual to think about themselves and the world around them". (Longhorn 2000)

"For those with PMLD who are all working at the earliest levels of intellectual development, the senses will represent a major focus of the curriculum.  Use and control of our senses allows us to fully explore our world and come to an understanding of it, how we interact with it, and how we interact with each other". (Imray & Hinchcliffe, p.119)

"Conducting regular sensory audits on each individual student is an essential prerequisite to ensuring learning takes place". (Imray & Hinchcliffe, p.131)

The pre-requisites to learning:

  • look and to attend

  • communicate

  • relate

  • anticipate

  • control movements

  • use a working memory

(Longhorn, 1993)

The Effective Pedagogy cited in the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) has been unpacked to reflect the needs of students with PMLD. The document highlights issues for practitioners to consider and indicators to ensure effective practice.