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What does Special Educational Needs mean?

The term 'special educational needs' has a legal definition. Children with special educational needs have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age.

Special educational needs fall under four broad areas:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, mental and emotional health
  • sensory and/or physical

 Children with special educational needs may need extra help with:

  • thinking and understanding
  • physical or sensory difficulties
  • emotional or social difficulties
  • difficulties with speech and language
  • how they relate to and behave with other people

Schools and other settings can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily, but a very few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school. This will be decided through an Education, Health and Care Assessment (EHCA).

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