Areas of SEND
Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty:
- saying what they want to
- understanding what is being said to them
- understanding or following conventional social norms
Every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.
Children and young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are likely to have difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.
Support for learning difficulties may be required for children and young people that learn at a slower pace than their peers.
Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including, but not exclusive to:
- moderate learning difficulties (MLD)
- severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication
- profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment
Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia (see below).
Specific Learning Conditions
A child with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) is as able as any other child, except in one or two areas of their learning. For instance, they may find it difficult to recognise letters, or to cope with numbers or reading.
There are many different types of specific learning difficulty, but the most commonly-known is dyslexia: difficulty spelling and/or reading.
It may be difficult for parents and teachers to realise that a child has this sort of problem, especially if their development has progressed without concern in early years. Sometimes it can take years for adults to realise that a child has a specific difficulty.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a condition that affects people's memory, focus, and attention span. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.
Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at a young age, particularly when they start school. Most cases are diagnosed from 6 to 12 years old.
ADHD is often considered to be a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD).
Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which can manifest in many different ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or distressing behaviour.
These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties like:
- substance misuse
- eating disorders
These behaviours may also lead to physical symptoms.
Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.
Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils.
Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from using some facilities.
These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require habilitation support, specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning.
Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties.
Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.
The Children and Families Act 2014 places a duty on maintained schools and academies to make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions. Individual healthcare plans will normally specify the type and level of support required to meet the medical needs of such pupils.
Where children and young people have both SEN and a medical condition, their provision should be planned and delivered in a co-ordinated way with their healthcare plan.
Contact, a charity for families of disabled children have compiled a detailed list of conditions that may affect a child or young person that you may also find helpful.