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What are Special Educational Needs


What are Special Educational Needs?


The new Draft Code of Practice states that there are four main areas of Special Educational Needs. These areas and their meanings are as follows:

Areas of Special



Relating to difficulties with:




Children may have a delay or disorder in one of the following areas:

Attention/ interaction skills:

May have difficulty ignoring distractions. Need reminders to maintain attention. May need regular prompts to stay on task. May need individualised motivation to complete tasks. Difficulty in 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 and receptive language:

May need visual support to understand and 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 simple 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.




May have difficulty with the skills 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


Mental and Emotional


May have difficulty with social or emotional development which may lead to or stem from:

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




These pupils may have a medical or genetic condition which leads to:

  •    Specific medical conditions
  •    Gross/fine motor skills
  •    Visual/hearing impairment
  •    Accessing the curriculum without adaptation
  •    Physically accessing the buiding or equipment
  •    Over sensitive to noise, touch, smells, light and taste
  •    Toileting and self care