What are Special Educational Needs?

Paint brushes with young boy in background

Special Educational Needs (SEN), as defined by the Department for Education, is used to describe learning difficulties or disabilities. This can make it harder for children or young adults to learn. Children with SEN are likely to need additional, different or specialist help from that given to other children their age.

SEN is usually split up into numerous categories, revolving around difficulties in communication and interaction, cognition and learning, sensory or physical, with each category needing differing assistance.

Communication & Interaction

The need for communication and interaction is key for growing children. It is vital that young people can interact with the outside world, but this requirement presents difficulties for some. Difficulties in these areas may be because of challenges understanding what is being said, or understanding the social rules of communication. 

The most effective way of navigating these difficulties is to put the appropriate educational tools in place. With specialised equipment, and teachers dedicated to helping people with SEN develop, the challenges associated with special educational needs can be met.

Cognition and Learning

Cognition and learning difficulties are defined as a limited ability to learn. Young people with these challenges may learn at a slower pace than peers, even with appropriate differentiation between the learning capabilities of children.

Difficulty in learning may mean children require extra support in all areas of the curriculum. As well as this, young people may also present difficulties with mobility and communication.

Sensory and Physical

Facilities that are usually provided to aid learning can be challenging for young people with sensory disabilities. These impairments can range from visual and auditory to multi-sensory.

Children navigating these challenges may require specialist support and equipment that helps them learn.

Coping With Special Educational Needs

Whatever challenges those with special educational needs face, it is increasingly difficult to navigate the world we live in. That’s not to say there’s a catch-all plan to help a child in any or multiple categories of SEN because, and you’ve almost certainly heard this before, every child is different. Although frequently heard, the truth of this concept cannot be understated.

Techniques for managing with learning difficulties or disabilities can differ massively from child to child, which is why it’s important to learn the specific difficulties and areas for assistance of each and every child with SEN. That way, a tailored plan can be offered to help each child grow and thrive with the specialist help that they need.

For more information about special educational needs, or to find out more about our educational settings, contact our friendly team. 


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