Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

All children experience difficulties with their learning at some time. For most children these problems are temporary and overcome with help from home and school. For some children, these problems are more serious and affect their learning, behaviour or communication. These children have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEN).

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities might have mental or physical disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than other children their age. They might have a physical disability, like deafness or blindness; or they may have a speech and language problem; or they could have emotional and behavioral difficulties that make it hard for them to concentrate at school.

Empowering Parents: Advocating for Your Child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

The goals of teaching children with SEN are similar to the goals for other children but the techniques used are different. For example, children with mental or learning disabilities might need to be taught more slowly and thoroughly than other students; they might require one-to-one tuition and repetitive work with the same material in a variety of forms. Children with sensory disabilities, such as deafness or blindness, need to be taught through other sense modalities than sight or hearing.

Some schools provide a mix of general education classrooms and special needs classes together, which is known as inclusion. However, some children with SEN are educated in segregated classes separate from non-disabled students. This occurs if the student’s needs cannot be met in mainstream education and is determined by medical and psychoeducational specialists through educational and psychological diagnostic tests.