Understanding SEND

An understanding of SEN (Special Educational Needs);

“Children & young people with SEN all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children & young people of the same age. These children & young people may need extra or different help from that given to others” – SEN & disabilities, a guide for parents & carers gov.co.uk

The SEND code of practice sets out 4 areas of SEN

Communicating & Interacting

This is where the person displays some speech & language and communication difficulties which make it challenging to make sense of language or also to understand how to effectively communicate with others in an appropriate manner.

Cognition & learning

This is where the person is seen to learn at a different pace than their peers. They face challenges in understanding elements of the curriculum, organisational difficulties, memory difficulties or have a specific learning impairment in one area, e.g. literacy/numeracy.

Social, emotional & mental health difficulties

Here, the person has difficulties managing relationships with other people, may  be withdrawn, or may behave in a manner that may reduce their own or other children’s learning or may also have an effect on their health & well being.

Sensory &/or physical needs

Here, the person may present with a visual or hearing impairment. There may also be a physical needs that may require specialist equipment & additional support.

Note* some children & young people may have SEN that covers more than one of these areas.

“A physical or mental impairment which has a long term (a year or more) & substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities”. Disabilities (Equality Act 2010)

This includes for example;

Sensory impairments, such as those that affect sight &  hearing & long term health conditions, e.g. asthma, diabetes & epilepsy.

A knowledge of all of the above would prove important before entering the workforce in this area.

Knowledge & understanding about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is important as, according to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, in 2020, 1 in 54 children have been identified with ASD in the United States. More locally, it is estimated than 1 in 100 people have Autism in the UK (autism.org.uk).

Key elements for working in the area of SEND;

  • Experience & knowledge of working with a wide range of abilities.
  • An understanding of national/foundation stage of curriculum
  • Flexibility to be able to work in a range of classes with students of varying ages & abilities.
  • Skills & knowledge regarding effective strategies for working with students that are presenting with complex needs.
  • A motivation, enthusiasm & passion for working with children that have special educational needs & also developing the skills required to facilitate this.
  • Being a team worker with fellow education staff. Understanding the roles & responsibilities associated with the post is essential.
  • The ability to understand &/or working knowledge for specialist IT software (e.g. clicker7, communicate in print, Proloquo2Go etc) & additional IT resources e.g. iPads to support the student’s communication & learning.
  • Insight into & skills relating to strategies in working with students with a complex profile.
  • Safeguarding (action that is taken to promote the welfare of children & protect them from harm). (https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/training)
  • Positive behaviour management & positive reinforcement
  • First aid training
  • Administration of emergency medications (e.g. Buccal Midazolam, using an Epipen, Asthma medication)

Additional helpful information;