Harrow Local Offer Logo

Harrow Local Offer Logo

Areas of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

There are 4 areas of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND):

 A subset of communication and interaction is Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), this is also covered as it is strongly presented in our communities.

Sensory and/or physical need


This includes:

  • Visual Impairment (VI)

  • Hearing Impairment (HI)

  • Physical Disability (PD)

The  SEND Code of Practice:0-25 Years - January 2015 (links to a download) (6.34 and 6.35) states that:

"Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties. Information on how to provide services for deafblind children and young people is available through the Social Care for Deaf/Blind Children and Adults guidance published by the Department of Health. Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional on-going support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers."

Children with visual and/or hearing impairments may receive support from the Children’s Sensory Team (CST). Those with a physical disability may require support from an occupational therapist and/or physiotherapist.

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

This is defined in the  SEND Code of Practice:0-25 Years - January 2015 (links to a download) (6.32) as:

"Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder."

These difficulties may not have been identified prior to beginning nursery or pre-school. Some concerns may be raised during an initial visit.

Cognition and Learning

Learning Difficulties is discussed within the Cognition and Learning section of the  SEND Code of Practice:  0-25 - January 2015 (links to a download)  (6.30 and 6.31):

"Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation.  Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment. Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning.  This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia."

Communication and Interaction

This may have support from a speech and language therapist (SLT). The  SEND Code of Practice:  0-25 - January 2015 (links to a download) (6.28 and 6.29) states that:

"Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different, and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.

Children and young people with [Autistic Spectrum Disorders] ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others."

Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

ASD is defined by the National Autistic Society as a lifelong developmental disability.  The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has revised its diagnostic manual, known as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) which has reduced the previous three areas of impairment to two. While all people with autism share these two main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively 'everyday' lives; others will require a lifetime of specialist support. The two main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are:

  • social communication and interaction
  • restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities

ASD may or may not be diagnosed, or the child may be assessed in a diagnosis pathway. DSM is an American publication. Most diagnoses in the UK are based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organisation. The current ICD (ICD-10) is virtually the same as the previous version of the DSM.

Additional services