Enabling Not Labelling


by Judith Evans – SENCO

We often talk about the difficulties students with a diagnosis face. Instead of thinking in a deficit model way consider also the strengths associated with the following diagnoses and how they can be used in your classes to promote engagement and success.


  • Attention to detail and observational skills
  • Logical
  • Good long term memory and recall of details
  • Unswayed by peer pressure
  • Reliable
  • Loyal
  • Honest
  • Non- judgemental ( takes others at face value)
  • Knowledge of routines
  • Desire for accuracy and order
  • Ability to hyper- focus
  • Thinks outside the box
  • Visual learner
  • Good vocabulary (though they may not always understand the words they use)


  • Curious
  • Highly energised in the moment
  • Energetic
  • Creative
  • Persistent
  • Adventurous
  • Big-picture thinking
  • Copes well with unpredictability


  • Visual thinking
  • Creative and interconnected thinking
  • Navigation
  • Big picture- thinking
  • Pattern recognition (useful for prediction)
  • Spatial knowledge
  • Sharper peripheral vision
  • Narrative reasoning
  • Verbal communication
  • Good at reading people

These ideas were taken from an article in Sec-Ed journal Rethinking SEN labels in you class – Daniel Sobel and Sara Alston

Judith Evans – SENCO