Helping a Child With Attention Problems or ADHD: Professor Amanda Kirby discusses how to help a child with attention problems or ADHD.


A great need and challenge has recently come to my wife Tsega at the school where she is working. She has been given a child to look after one-to-one who has got SEN-Special Educational Needs which specifically I believe to be ADHD/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – I will correct myself later if I am mistaken. We have started exploring a few articles, books, forums, lectures, courses, institutions etc. Later, I came across a wonderful website that has got loads and loads of information in forms of amazing lectures and interviews from and with world class experts and scientists on SEN. I would like to just start with this video that you see above just to start; but I would like to encourage you to explore the whole website and even type on the search box any topic that you would like to learn about and a whole lot of information will come at your disposal.
Website to explore:
Enjoy and you will benefit a lot from this site.
Yours as ever,
Merid Desta
About the speaker: Amanda Kirby is Medical Director of the Dyscovery Centre in Cardiff. She is a leading expert in dyspraxia (DCD) and related conditions with several best-selling books on the subject.

I know I’m not supposed to quote Wiki, but here we go – who cares as long as we can authenticate and justify the facts. Continue reading.

“Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Children who face barriers to their learning will often require additional educational intervention to support their learning. This may include what is commonly referred to as Wave 2 or Wave 3 intervention. Wave 2 intervention consists of time limited support for a child, focusing on a particular area of difficulty. This support is provided, within the classroom, with the view to accelerate progress and address misconceptions that may have developed. Wave 3 intervention consists of more individualised support designed specifically for an individual child, again, with the view to accelerate progress.

If a child or young person has not made progress despite such differentiated teaching he or she would usually be supported by a staged method of support outlined in the 2001 SEN Revised Code of Practice. A meeting would usually be arranged between key school staff such as the child’s class teacher and SENCo (special educational needs coordinator), parents and the child. Key learning objectives would be agreed and a plan made for the provision necessary to achieve these. The Code of Practice recommends an Individual Education Plan as a means of recording and reviewing this. That level of support is known as School Action and would usually result in additional support being made available for a child, such as a few hours working with an adult each week. If a child’s needs are greater or (s)he has not made sufficient progress in response to a School Action level of support then a School Action Plus level may be appropriate. This is similar to School Action but usually includes a greater level of resource and additional advice from appropriate professionals from outside the school, such as an educational psychologist or speech and language therapist.

If a child or young person’s parent(s) or educational setting believe that his or her needs cannot be met by the school’s resources they can apply to their local authority to carry out a Statutory Assessment of Special Educational Needs. If this is agreed the Statutory Assessment can lead to a Statement of Special Educational Needs. This is a document which summarises the child or young person’s needs; what learning objectives need to be addressed and what provision is necessary to achieve this. The local authority is responsible for the provision on the Statement and will provide funding and advice to the educational setting to ensure this happens. The number of children with Statements of SEN often varies according to location due to the different arrangements for supporting SEN in each authority. However the criteria for whether a statutory assessment is necessary are national and described in the 2001 SEN Revised Code of Practice. and parents have a right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (formerly the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal) if they do not agree with the local authority’s decision. In most cases it is appropriate for children with statements of SEN to be educated in their local mainstream school with additional support. However it may be agreed that some children or young people with very significant needs will have their needs better met in a special school.

Figures published in 2009 showed that 17.8% of pupils in English schools have special educational needs (SEN), a proportion that has steadily grown over the last four years, from 14.9% in 2005.[1]

The previous year, in January 2008, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) stated that some 223,600 (or 2.8 per cent) of pupils across all schools in England had statements of SEN. The percentage of pupils with statements of SEN placed in mainstream schools (nursery, primary, secondary) was 56.6 per cent. The corresponding figures for the proportion of pupils with statements of SEN placed in maintained special schools was 36.9 per cent, with 3.6 per cent in independent schools.

In 2008 there were some 1,390,700 pupils with SEN without statements representing 17.2 per cent of pupils across all schools. This is an increase from 16.4 per cent from a year earlier. Contrary to the pattern for pupils with statements of SEN, the incidence of pupils with SEN without statements is greater in primary schools (18.1 per cent) than in secondary schools (17.8 per cent).[2]

In spring of 2011, the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition released a new green paper entitled “Support and aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability.” It looks to change the way that special needs provision is assessed. The green paper proposes a new assessment that will take all areas of a child’s needs into consideration, the ‘education, health and care plan’ would start from birth and until the age of 25. The paper also proposes that by 2014 parents would have option to have an independent budget. The consultation period is from March until June 2011 and can be completed online.”




Promoting Peace and Justice Through Literacy

Though the following article seems, originally, to talk about ‘A dozen reasons why literacy, basic education and effective teaching are essential and Just Acts’that primarily apply to  ‘American’ schools, the principles work as much in African and developing countries’ schools as in American schools. Enjoy reading it.


A Dozen Reasons Why
Literacy, Basic Education and Effective Teaching
are Essential and Just Acts

I)    Achieving Human Rights.  Education and Literacy are fundamental Human Rights (see The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
, Article 26 – Education[1] where literacy is strongly implied by [2] and that
parents have a right to choose effective methods of teaching over others for their children [3]).

2)   Promoting Equality. Literacy and education promotes gender equality (a Millennium Development
 [MDG] and a goal of the Education for All initiative).

3)   Reducing Poverty.  Literacy and education are essential first steps of nearly all initiatives to reduce and
eliminate global poverty.

4)   Reducing Preventable Deaths.  Female literacy and education – reduce child and maternal mortality.

5)   Promotes Good Governance and Individual Freedoms.  Literacy and education makes tyrannical
forms of government less likely and good governance and the expression of individual freedoms more

6)   Fights the Oppression of Certain Peoples.  Literacy and education makes the oppression of certain
peoples less possible and less enduring while promoting the expression of individual freedoms more robust and

7)   Promotes Childhood Health.  Female literacy and education – improve child nutrition and health.

8)   Fosters the Management of Parenthood.  Female literacy and education – lower fertility rates.

9)   Protects Girls from Abuse, Exploitation and Sexually Transmitted Disease.  Female literacy
and education – protect girls from abuse, exploitation, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

10)  Reduces Inhumane Injustices in School.  The greatest form of preventable injustice in education is the
failure to prepare adequately a child for the subsequent grade and effective teaching technology removes this
barrier to a young child’s achieving their potential.

11) Promotes the Achievement of Millennium Development Goals.  Universal Primary Education
(UPE) is a Millennium Development Goal.

12) Supports Higher Participation Rates in School.  Female literacy and education – promotes higher
participation rates in their children’s schooling.

[1]       Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education
shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally
accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall
further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Working to Improve Literacy and Basic Education Throughout the Developing World
Copyright © 2010 by World Literacy Initiative, Inc. All Rights Protected.

PAX POPULI: People to People Peacemaking: Pax Populi English Tutoring Program with Students in Afghanistan


On my other blog, ‘Pax-Dei as Missio-Dei’, I mentioned about the tension between Pax-Dei, Missio-Dei and Populus-Dei by trying to explain how the ‘Peace of God’ is the ‘Mission of God’ to the ‘People of God’. Here is a potentially model organisation that can inspire us in using education as the major tool in building peace in one of the most troubled countries in the world – Afghanistan. Visit their website and see what they do. This is a kind of excellent example for one who would like to start this kind of work from scratch. Alternatively visit this website: <;. In the meantime continue reading – loads of information about this organisation follows.
Yours Merid Desta.

About Pax Populi
Pax Populi® — which is Latin for “the peace of the people” — is the people-to-people peacemaking program of the nonprofit organization, Applied Ethics, Inc. Rather than leaving peacemaking to politicians, we at Pax Populi look to ordinary people — educators, businesspeople, people of faith, artists, scientists, and people of goodwill everywhere — to heed the call to help advance peace.

The Mission of Pax Populi

Pax Populi’s mission is to put the tools of peacemaking into the hands of ordinary people through initiatives that advance peace through education and economic development within a framework of human rights.

We believe that knowledge, kindness, love, and justice are stronger than ignorance, violence, hatred and tyranny, but unless we are prepared to act accordingly, this belief would be no more than a hollow platitude. Pax Populi, however, is dedicated to advance peace through service to those facing serious conflicts.

Why Pax Populi?

We see the peaceful resolution of conflicts as one of the most basic and greatest ethical duties and one that is especially needed in this time of rapid globalization and widespread disputes arising through political, economic, cultural, and religious tensions. Peace, however, does not follow from isolationism, passive pacifism, or the mere display of good intentions through posters or bumper stickers. Peace is not a static state but an active, worthy struggle.

The current threats to human security are very grave. There has never been a time when it was in the capacity of so few to inflict such widespread suffering on so many. Many believe that the only way to fight fire is with fire, and yet, this is also a formula for escalating conflict. We firmly believe that ultimately the conflicts in Afghanistan and elsewhere will not be decided by the strength of weapons, but the strength of ideas. For that reason, we are committed to a peace strategy in which — through education and economic development within a framework of human rights — we support those who can help build stable, thriving societies. The road to a constructive peace may be slow and laborious, but unlike war, it is strong and sustainable.

What Peace? Everyday Peace

Many people think that when we talk about peace, we are naïve dreamers. That is incorrect. We do dream of alternatives to violence, but we are not naïve. We are not seeking a utopian ideal, but the everyday peace that permits people to go about their lives without living in fear or subjected to violence. We aim for a peace that is, in fact, the norm for most people around the world. This is what we call “Everyday Peace.” It is a state in which people can go to the market, to work, or their place of worship, without fear of attack. With Everyday Peace all young people are able to pursue an education, all adults can freely and fairly choose their political leaders, people can go about their business without threat of violence or corruption, and no one is denied their rights simply because of their ethnic group or gender. Those who oppose Everyday Peace are those who seek unfair personal advantage by use of force, dishonesty, or fear. Everyday Peace is not an ideal; it is a basic right of every person and a necessity for a flourishing society.

How? The Six Principles of Pax Populi

Pax Populi is committed to practical service that combines the courageous and compassionate spirit of the peacemaker with the creative and responsive intelligence of the entrepreneur. We seek to open the doors of peacebuilding to people everywhere. Our mission follows from our commitment to six principles, which are as follows:

Compassion: We recognize the suffering and hardships of others and want to respond;
Love: We recognize that we are part of one human family and reach out to others in a spirit of brotherly and sisterly love;
Understanding: For our actions to be strong and helpful, we are committed to knowledge and truth, and understanding the significance of both;
Justice: We are committed to the rule of law impartially applied in accordance with human rights;
Nonviolence: We are committed to nonviolence as the essential framework for developing trust and reconciliation;
Service: We are committed to acting on the above principles in a spirit of service.
In support of these principles, we have a twofold strategy: First, we reach out to friends from around the world to contribute to Pax Populi programs in accordance with their best abilities. Second, we back the development of a network of domestic peacemakers and their international friends so as to exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and respond effectively to problems.

An International Initiative Focused on Afghanistan and South Asia

There are many serious conflicts to which we could dedicate our efforts, but to be effective we need to be focused, and for this reason, we are concentrating our efforts especially on the conflict in Afghanistan and the related conflict between Pakistan and India.

Many people around the world see Afghanistan as a “lost cause.” Not us. We are sure that peace will eventually come to Afghanistan because we have come to know and admire the amazing strength and determination of more and more Afghans to create a new, strong, and stable Afghanistan. Those of us at Pax Populi who are not Afghans don’t pretend that we can bring peace to Afghanistan as if it were a product to be imported or a condition to be imposed. However, Pax Populi belongs to no country. Pax Populi is the constructive peacemaking that flows from the human spirit. As an international network of peacemakers, what we can do and are trying to do together is to help the Afghans bring peace to their own country by supporting them in their struggle to build a new, just, thriving and peaceful nation. We are all Pax Populi and we can help.


Here are some highlights of what Pax Populi has been doing:

Pax Populi Tutoring Services: Our primary work is focused on a peace through education program called Pax Populi Tutoring Services, and most of this has been in the form of English language tutoring. Currently, we have tutors in four countries — the US, South Korea, France, and England — who are all working to help students in Afghanistan to learn English via Skype. Our tutors are typically English as a Second Language teachers or university students, but, with some restrictions, our program is open to qualified fluent English speakers everywhere so long as they embrace the Pax Populi mission. Equally important, in the process of learning English, we are creating opportunities for constructive international engagements conducted in a spirit of friendship and brotherhood in which tutors and students are both enriched through the exchange
Pax Populi Network (PaxNet): We are in the early stages of developing the Pax Populi Network through which people committed to peace — both Afghans and their international friends — can network, share ideas, encourage each other, and alert others to threats
Pax Populi Clubs: Work is underway to develop university-based clubs that will extend our efforts into the area of economic development by establishing linkages between students in Afghan universities with international students with the aim of supporting the development of small-scale businesses
Pax Populi Educational Outreach: Through this program we have sought to bring students from Afghanistan to study in the United States
Pax Populi Peacemaker Award: Through this program, we have recognized outstanding contributions in people-to-people peacemaking
Food for Peace in Afghanistan: In 2008, when Afghanistan faced a severe food shortage, Pax Populi worked in cooperation with Bentley University and Oxfam America to build awareness of the problem and raise funds that went to Oxfam for its relief efforts in Afghanistan
Let’s Work Together

Although we are a small, volunteer-powered NGO, we aim to become one of the leading peacemaking organizations by drawing on the wisdom and active compassion found in people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa together with the creative entrepreneurship of people like Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. We are responding to the urgent needs for peace with 21st century imagination and vitality.

We are living in a period of unprecedented opportunities for advancing peace. Peacemaking is a field for entrepreneurial innovation. Pax Populi seeks to draw on the enormous capacities of contemporary society to forge creative and innovative approaches to channel the goodwill, intelligence, and creativity of people around the world to advance peace.

Do you want contribute to the Pax Populi mission? Please let us know. Do you have ideas for advancing peace? Please share them. Do you want to join a network of active committed peacemakers. Contact us. Our email address is:

Please consider supporting Pax Populi people-to-people, institution-to-institution, and community-to-community initiatives to help create a more peaceful world. Individually, every personal effort to advance peace is very important, but acting alone our impact is limited— together, we can change the world.

What about you? Be a Pax Populite… be a peacemaker!


What does it mean to be a “Global Citizen?”


One of the huge facts that has to sink deep in the minds and hearts of Africans, their political, ethnic, religious and cultural leaders is that we are all CITIZENS OF THE WORLD. No matter what our background, faith affiliation, culture, ethnicity and political allegiance is. That is why ‘Education for Global Citizenship’ is so vital to Ethiopia, the ‘Eastern African Countries’ that are in turmoil and all the world at large. Keep on reading for more…
Merid Desta

Being a global citizen means starting to think of ourselves as a global community, when it comes to things like poverty, clean water, education, etc. Imagine every child on the planet being born with the same rights to life. The nonprofit organization GLOBAL CITIZEN makes progress on these topics easier… check out their website where you can connect, and win points and badges for taking actions. GLOBAL CITIZEN is powered by the Global Poverty Project.

‘Music is Life’, Music is Haram! “Mandela and Gandhi should not be made icons”, says Redi, WHY???


A very interesting and a well integrated interview worth watching. Music and Islam; the daring comment of Redi Tihabi in saying that Mandela and Gandhi should not be made icons, the banning of Music in Mali, etc. Just watch the video, read the following analysis about the interview and write a brief comment or question on this. Hope you will enjoy this video. Any criticism is welcome.
See you later,
Merid Desta

South2North – ‘Music is life’
No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world. Examining the current situation for musicians in Northern Mali and why Mandela and Gandhi should not be made icons.

In this first episode of South 2 North, Redi Tlhabi talks to best-selling Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy and hears why she thinks that Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi should not be made into icons.

“Gandhi created a politics of guilt, whereas here what we have to fight is a political fight …. We need a new imagination, perhaps it begins with forcing capitalism to tolerate a non-capitalist society in its midst, so that it accepts the fact that it can’t have everything …. For me, somebody like Nelson Mandela or even somebody like Gandhi, I object to deifying them because they committed plenty of mistakes. That doesn’t mean you have to trash them or jump on them or jump on their memories or what they did, but we have to see,” Roy says.

Sibongile Khumalo, a South African vocalist, says: “She [Arundhati Roy] has a valid point, deifying living people is problematic. It takes away their humanity, it compromises their sense of belonging and situatedness within their communities.”

Khumalo explains what music meant for her during the South African struggle: “Music was a tool where musicians were reflecting, mirroring what society saw, how society felt. And, of course, music was an escape. Music is a repository of your culture, of your history, of your legacy …. Music has the ability to help us articulate feelings, music has the ability to help people get hopeful that it can be changed.”

Redi Tlhabi is also joined by Ahmed Ag Kaedi, a Tuareg musician from northern Mali; Many Ansar, the director and founder of Mali’s internationally acclaimed Festival in the Desert; and Tiseke Kasambala, the director of Human Rights Watch in South Africa, to discuss the role of music and the current situation in northern Mali.

Ansar says: “Music is everywhere in our daily life. Our history was told by music and through music in Mali we learn what is good and what is not …. The situation is terrible since last January. Because of this occupation music is banned, even listening to music is forbidden, what about organising a music event, it’s not possible to do it in Timbuktu now …. Musicians [like Ahmed] have to leave the place to go to the south of Mali or other countries.”