SEN Explained

The new Code of Practice (March 2014) states that there are four main areas which cover Special Educational Needs. These areas and their meanings are as follows:


Area of Special Educational Need:
Communication and Interaction

Relating to difficulties with:
Children may have a delay or disorder in one or more of the following areas:
Attention / Interaction skills: May have difficulties ignoring distractions. Need reminders to keep attention. May need regular prompts to stay on task. May need individualised motivation in order to complete tasks. Difficulty attending in whole class. Interaction will not always be appropriate. May have peer relationship difficulties. May not be able to initiate or maintain a conversation.

Understanding / Receptive Language: May need visual support to understand or process spoken language. May need augmented communication systems Frequent misunderstandings. Repetition of language and some basic language needs to be used to aid their understanding.

Speech / Expressive Language: May use simplified language and limited vocabulary. Ideas / conversations may be difficult to follow, with the need to request frequent clarification. Some immaturities in the speech sound system. Grammar / phonological awareness still fairly poor and therefore their literacy can be affected.


Area of Special Educational Need:
Cognition and Learning

Relating to difficulties with:
May have difficulties with the skills needed for effective learning such as use

  • Language, memory and reasoning skills
  • Sequencing and organisational skills
  • An understanding of number
  • Problem-solving and concept development skills
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Independent learning skills
  • Exercising choice
  • Decision making
  • Information processing

Children may have a specific learning disability such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia or dysgraphia.


Area of Special Educational Need:
Social Mental and Emotional Health

Relating to difficulties with:
May have difficulties with social and emotional development which may lead to or stem from:

  • Social isolation
  • Behaviour difficulties
  • Attention difficulties (ADHD)
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Attachment disorders
  • Low self esteem
  • Issues with self-image

Area of Special Educational Need:
Sensory and/or Physical

Relating to difficulties with:
These pupils may have a medical or genetic condition that could lead to difficulties with:

  • Specific medical conditions
  • Gross / fine motor skills
  • Visual / hearing impairment
  • Accessing the curriculum without adaptation
  • Physically accessing the building(s) or equipment.
  • Over sensitivity to noise / smells / light / touch / taste.
  • Toileting / self-care.