What are Special Educational Needs and Disability?
Some children have needs or disabilities that affect their ability to learn. These special educational needs (SEN) can include a child’s:
- behaviour or ability to socialise, for example not being able to make friends
- reading and writing, for example they have dyslexia
- ability to understand things
- concentration levels, for example they have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- physical needs or impairments
Children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) may need extra help because of a range of needs.
What is SEND?
The animation videos have been co-produced with our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from a range of schools in North Lincolnshire – Althorpe and Keadby Primary school, Outwood Academy Foxhills, St Luke’s Primary School, North Lindsey College and John Leggott College. They produced the animations drawings used in the videos and recorded the voice-over. We are very grateful to all of those who contributed and hope that you find the videos informative.
Who to talk to
If you think your child may have special educational needs and / or a disability, contact the person in your child’s school or nursery responsible for SEN.
This person is called the ‘SEN coordinator’, or ‘SENCO’. Contact the local council or your doctor if your child isn’t in a school or nursery.
Contact your local Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) for impartial advice about SEND.
Contact 01724 277665 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There are four areas of SEN:
Communicating and interacting – for example, where children and young people have speech, language and communication difficulties which make it difficult for them to make sense of language or to understand how to communicate effectively and appropriately with others
Cognition and learning – for example, where children and young people learn at a slower pace than others their age, have difficulty in understanding parts of the curriculum, have difficulties with organisation and memory skills, or have a specific difficulty affecting one particular part of their learning performance such as in literacy or numeracy
Social, emotional and mental health difficulties – for example, where children and young people have difficulty in managing their relationships with other people, are withdrawn, or if they behave in ways that may hinder their and other children’s learning, or that have an impact on their health and wellbeing
Sensory and/or physical needs – for example, children and young people with visual and/or hearing impairments, or a physical need that means they must have additional ongoing support and equipment
Some children and young people may have SEN that covers more than one of these areas.
Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability. A disability is ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term (a year or more) and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’ This includes, for example, sensory impairments such as those that affect sight and hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.
Our early years providers, schools, colleges, other educational settings and local authorities do not directly or indirectly discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled children and young people
We make reasonable adjustments including the provision of auxiliary aid services (for example, tactile signage or induction loops), so that disabled children and young people are not disadvantaged compared with other children and young people. This duty is what is known as ‘anticipatory’ – people also need to think in advance about what disabled children and young people might need.
SEN support is available in school for children and young people who have SEN, but do not have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP).
Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, education providers should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place. This SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle:
through which earlier decision and actions are revisited, refined and revised. This is known as the Graduated Approach.
Where a pupil continues to make less than expected progress, despite evidence based support and interventions that are matched to the pupil’s area of need, education providers should consider involving specialists to advise.
If your school has already assessed your child and tried to meet their needs. But they have not made expected progress. Then you may consider requesting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment.
The EHC Needs Assessment is a detailed look at the special educational needs of a child or young person, and the support he or she may need in order to learn.
EHC Needs Assessments identify educational, health and social needs. They set out the additional support to meet those needs.
See What is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment? for further information
The DfE has produced a helpful guide for parents called ‘Special educational needs and disability – A guide for parents and carers‘. (August 2014). This guide explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities works.
- the law and statutory guidance on which the system is based
- places to go for help and further information
- details about changes to the system from 1 September 2014
It may also be useful for staff in:
- schools and colleges
- early years education settings
- who are dealing with the parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.
Help and Advice
Speak to your child’s school or contact your SEND Information and Support Service (SENDIASS)
Parents in Participation Forum (PIP) are a good source of information and advice. The team are all parents who have been on a similar journey and experienced many of the hurdles you may be faced with.
You can also call the free Contact a Family helpline
Contact a Family helpline
Telephone: 0808 808 3555
Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm
You can also get help from Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA)
IPSEA advice line
Telephone: 0800 018 4016
Monday to Thursday, 10am to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm
Friday, 1pm to 4pm