What are Special Educational Needs?
The Children and Families Act 2014 says that a child or young person has special educational needs (SEN) if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child or young person with SEN may find it harder to learn than other children of the same age. Special educational needs may include:
- Behavioural or social, for example difficulty making friends
- Reading and writing, for example dyslexia
- Concentrating, for example attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- A medical condition which affects learning
- A sensory or physical need which affects them in school, for example being blind or deaf.
By law, nurseries, schools and colleges must provide an education to all pupils or students whatever their abilities or special needs
Why it is important to identify SEN
The earlier that SEN are identified the better your child’s chances of reaching his or her full potential. We support training for those who provide early education to help them to identify SEN early so that a plan can be made to support a child’s development from the start.
Identifying SEN and disabilities in children and young people
NHS services regularly check the health and development of all children from birth through to school age. It is these services which will most likely identify any SEN or disability your child may have:
- Your maternity team when your child is born
- Your GP
- A health visitor
- A child development centre
- Nursery/school/educational setting
You can talk to your GP or health visitor if you are worried about your child’s development, behaviour or other needs. And if your child is in a nursery, you can talk to the nursery staff. If your son or daughter is at school or in an educational setting you can talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
What happens next?
If your child is found to have special educational needs, your health team or school SENCo will talk to you about the support your child may need. This support will depend on your and your child’s individual needs.