Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is a term used to describe any child or young person who has a difficulty with their learning. This could be due to a mental health issue, hearing or visual impairment, emotional and behavioural difficulties or speech and language problems.
In the UK pupils are identified as having SEND when they have been assessed by their school and it is considered that they need more support in order to make good progress. Schools have a legal responsibility to assess and track SEND pupils in their care and this information is recorded on a central database called the SEN register. This can be accessed by parents and carers via the local authority’s website.
Assistive Technology for SEND: Tools That Make a Difference in Learning
It is important to realise that just because a child has a difficulty with their learning, it does not necessarily mean that they have a disability. Under the Equality Act, someone is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term impact on their ability to carry out normal daily activities.
There are a range of different ways that SEND can be supported in school and it is important that all pupils, regardless of their level of SEN or disability, have access to the same opportunities. Schools can support students with SEND by providing them with a range of services and support, such as one to one tuition or group work, as well as specialist resources, equipment or adapted classrooms. This is known as inclusive teaching and is promoted by the national government through its SEND code of practice.