What is SEND?
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (often called ‘SEN’ or ‘SEND’) is a legal term for children and young people who will need extra support during their education.
It is set out in the government’s 2014 ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years’. We often call this document ‘the SEN Code of Practice’. It says:
‘A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.’
and that a Disability is when someone has ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’
There are many different kinds of SEN and Disability. The SEN Code lists some examples of SEND you may have heard of. They are in four main groups:
Communication and interaction
- ASD, Autism and Aspergers Syndrome
- Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
Cognition and learning
- Learning Difficulties
- Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)
- Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD)
- Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
- Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) – includes Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia
Social, emotional and mental health difficulties*
- Challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour
- Mental health difficulties
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
- Attachment disorder.
*The 2014 Code changed this category. The previous Code focused upon Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) and did not include mental health difficulties.
Sensory and / or physical needs
- Hearing Impairment (HI) – this includes all forms of deafness
- Visual Impairment (VI) – this includes blindness and other sight problems
- Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI) – people who have deafness and blindness
- Physical Difficulty (PD)
Not everyone who has one of these conditions has a SEND. For example, someone could have a degree of deafness or physical disability but be totally independent and the most successful child in their school. It is only when they cannot succeed without special educational provision being made for them that they have a SEND.
You can find the 2014 SEND Code online here