The language associated with SEND can be a minefield. Here I will aim (fingers crossed) to put some of the language and terminology used in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment process into layman’s terms…
The SEN Code of Practise (SENCOP) (2015) is a statutory guidance document for most education provisions. The SENCOP (2015) covers the 0-25 age range and includes specific information relating to children and young people with SEN.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are categorised into four extremely broad areas. Usually, these broad areas are then targeted during the process of writing an EHCP. They are sometimes referred to as ‘categories of need’. There may be discussions around provision required for each area or category.
Communication and Interaction
This area of need is for Children and Young People (CYP) with speech, language and communication needs. For example, some children may be unable to speak or say what they wish to, others may have difficulty with processing social interactions. Some children may have difficulties in all areas of communication and interaction. Additionally, CYP may require additional support from Augmentative and Alternative Communication aids (AAC).
Cognition and Learning
This area of need is for CYP who learn and develop at a different pace to their age-matched peers. The level of input required here tend to vary depending on the subcategory the child is labelled with. For example, children with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) and Serve Learning Difficulties (SLD) do not tend to need as much input as those who have Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD).
Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
This area of need is for CYP who experience a range of difficulties, and these can present in many ways. For some CYP it may be through challenging behaviour, anxiety or self-harming. For others it may be through substance misuse, eating disorders or attachment disorders.
Sensory and/or Physical
CYP with needs in this area could have a visual impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI). CYP may require specific funded support to enable them to fully engage with education/activities of daily living. Additionally, some CYP with physical and/or sensory needs may require extra equipment to be able to access education/activities of daily living.
Children in Care (CiC) also tend to have an area of need around social care and/or community Inclusion.
Children with health needs may also have an area of need around health.