Special educational needs (SEN) refer to children or young people who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to access the national curriculum, when compared to most of their peers. These difficulties can vary in severity and often overlap, meaning two children with SEN may both require very different types of support in the classroom.

There are several areas of difficulty which could be classed as special educational needs, including communication and interaction difficulties such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and speech and language delay/disorder; cognitive/learning difficulty such as dyslexia; behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD); physical disability/health; and sensory impairment.

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