‘The new SEND Code of Practice’ (July 2014), states that there are four main areas which cover Special Educational Needs.

Many children and young people have difficulties that fit clearly into one of these areas; some have needs that span two or more areas; for others the precise nature of their need may not be clear at the outset.

These areas and their meanings are as follows:

Area of Special Educational Need Relating to difficulties with:
Communication and interaction Children  may have difficulties 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 difficulties in relationships with peers. 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. Repetition of language and some basic language aids 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.


Cognition and learning Children may have difficulties with the skills needed for effective learning such as use of:  
  • 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.

Social, mental and emotional health Children may have difficulties with social and emotional development which may lead to or stem from:  
  • Social isolation
  • Behaviour difficulties
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Attachment disorders
  • Low self esteem
  • Issues with self-image
  • Attention difficulties (ADHD)
Sensory and/or physical Children may have medical or genetic conditions that 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.

Reviewed Nov 2017