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The term ‘special educational needs‘ (SEN) refers to children and young people who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. This could also mean having a physical disability that can prevent some of the school’s educational facilities from being used.
Different types of special educational needs are described with different levels i.e. moderate, severe, specific, multiple or profound learning difficulties. Sometimes dyslexia is considered to be a special educational need as it causes the young person to have difficulty learning.
Other examples of special educational needs include young people with hearing or visual impairments, speech or language difficulties or a physical disability. There are also other conditions such as Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD)†that mean young people have difficulty learning and will have special educational needs.
If you have special educational needs you might need help in a few areas including your schoolwork, relating to other young people and adults, your behaviour and physical activities.
Schools should provide you with the extra help, either from your teachers, the SENCO (the person in the school who is responsible for coordinating help for children with special educational needs), or from an outside specialist. However, sometimes it is better for you to attend a school that is more suitable for your needs.
A statement of special educational needs (SEN) is a detailed examination carried out by various professionals which can include the school or education adviser, an educational psychologist, a doctor and social services. It is used to find out exactly what your special educational needs are and is important to make sure that you receive the help and support you need.
Young Disabled Persons Network has a range of information on your rights and how you can raise any issues and concerns that you might have
produces fact sheets covering a range of issues that can affect families and has an index of specific medical conditions and rare disorders
SnapCymru offers support for your parents whilst you go through the Statementing process in Wales.
Or for more general information about the process of identifying what special educational needs are, what support you should expect in education and how assessments are made go to:
A helpline for information and guidance on discrimination and human rights issues if you feel you aren’t being treated fairly.