Special Educational Needs

A child has a special educational need if he or she has greater difficulty in learning than most other children of about the same age. Special educational needs can arise for a number of reasons and may be due to a medical condition or disability that makes it hard for a child to use the same kind of educational facilities provided for the majority of children.

Examples of Special Educational Needs include:

  • Difficulties with reading, writing or maths, learning basic skills, emotional/behavioural/social difficulties
  • Conditions like Asperger’s Syndrome and autism
  • Speech, language or hearing impairment
  • Physical disability present from birth or arising from injury or illness
  • Medical conditions and treatments which slow down a child’s progress

Children are NOT generally considered to have special educational needs solely because their language is different from the language used in their formal education or because they have exceptional abilities. A lot of children have educational difficulties at some time. Most of these difficulties can be sorted out in school.

The law says that children do not have learning difficulties just because their first language is not English. Of course some of these children may have learning difficulties as well.

Many children will have special educational needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily. But a few children will need extra help for longer periods or for all of their time in school.

We can give you impartial information, advice and support in working with schools and the Local Authority around your child’s special educational needs (SEN). Call us for a confidential chat.

How to tell if your child has Special Educational Needs?

  • You may be the first to notice that your child has difficulties. However there are others who can help, depending on the age of your child
  • If your child is of pre-school age your first point of call will probably be your health visitor or doctor. They can put you in touch with other people such as speech and occupational therapists, portage workers and teachers of young children.
  • If your child is at school, your child’s teacher or the school’s SENCo will consult you if they have concerns about his or her progress.

Help at School

All schools receive funding to provide extra help for children/young people with special educational needs.

Local Health Trusts, Social Services departments and voluntary organisations may also provide help directly to children and their families. In fact most children’s special educational needs can be met by their local school, either with additional support from within the school or by help and/or advice from outside specialists.

This kind of support is known as School Support and replaces School Action and School Action Plus. It is therefore not always necessary to refer the matter to the Local Authority.

Disability Discrimination

Download more information about Disability Discrimination Claims here.

SEN Procedures

For information on statutory SEN procedures, click here.

Agency Links

For links to services in West London, click here.

SEN Appeals

For more information on SEN appeals and disability tribunals, click here.

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