What is SEND?

What is SEND?

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. It describes a huge spectrum of needs and challenges, which can include:

  • How individuals communicate
  • How indivduals learn and process information
  • How individuals experience the world around them, including sensory difficulties
  • Physical or medical conditions that affect an individual’s life and learning
  • How individuals behave or cope with social and emotional challenges

Young people affected by SEND can need different levels of support, from infrequent, flexible support to full-time care. This variation makes it incredibly important that individual needs are kept at the centre of everything we do as we identify, assess and plann for support needs.

What is a learning difficulty?

Children who have a learning difficulty may find it harder to learn than the majority of children of the same age, or they may have a disability which prevents or hinders them from taking full advantage of the education provided for other children.

Children do not have learning difficulties simply because their first language is not English. However some of these children may also have learning difficulties.

What might my child’s learning difficulty cause problems with?

  • Reading, writing or number work
  • Expressing themselves or understanding information
  • Making friends or relating to adults
  • Behaviour
  • Personal organisation
  • Tasks or activities which depend on sensory or physical skills

The SEN Code of Practice is the guidance that early years settings, schools, local authorities (LAs) and others must follow. It suggests that there are four main areas of special need. These are:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Behaviour, emotional and social development
  • Communication and interaction
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

Some children have needs in more than one of these areas.

What if I think my child has Special Educational Needs or a Disability?

As a parent, taking the first steps towards identifying your child’s needs and getting them good support can be the most daunting. Our SEND Service is here to help you.

Read more about What if I think my child has SEN

My child has just been diagnosed, what do I do now?

Hopefully the professionals working with your child will be supporting and signposting you, but if you are not sure what to do next, contact our and discuss your child’s circumstances with one of our lead workers.

Children learn at different speeds and in a variety of ways. There is likely to be a wide range of ability within your child’s early years setting or class year group at school. Children have special educational needs if they have learning difficulties which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. The information below should provide further information and guidance on what to do next.

How many children have special educational needs?

About 1 in 5 children are likely to have special educational needs of some kind at some time during their school career. Some children may have special educational needs for a relatively short time; others will have special needs throughout their schooling. Some will have special needs in particular curriculum areas, but others may need help with all, or most aspects of their education.

A small minority of children who have complex needs may require a Statutory Assessment of their needs.

Read more on our process page

What is special educational provision?

Special educational provision is help given to children with special educational needs, which is additional or different to general provision. Special educational provision takes many different forms. It could include group or individual work, or a personalised learning programme adapted to meet a child’s specific needs.  To find our more about how these needs are assessed, and the provision available in Wiltshire, go to our education local offer.

Read more about our Education local offer

What rights does my child have?

All children and young people have a right to an appropriate education. Children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) may need special help or provision in order to access this education.

Read more about the rights and duties

Where can I find out more?

Special Educational Needs Support Services

Wiltshire Council provides specialist support services, who cover young people with Special Educational Needs, including:

  • Behavioural support
  • Education welfare
  • Education Psychology
  • Sensory impairment service
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Young peoples Support service

For more information please see the SEN support section .

Next: Our Process

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Wiltshire Council