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A guide to Special Educational Needs

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By Taytons Solicitors 2013

If your child has a physical condition, medical syndrome, or you fear they are not developing at the same rate as their peers, it may be that they have a specific learning difficulty and that they fall under the umbrella of Special Educational Needs. Understanding what this means, how your child is affected and what you can expect from schools are vital to ensure your child is not affected more than is necessary. Understanding the laws surrounding  SEN is difficult as it is a complex area, yet knowing what you and you’re child are entitled too is crucial. It is advisable to seek legal help if your child is not receiving all the help you feel they should. Your child may have Special Educational Needs if they display any of the symptoms below.  

When a child has a specific learning difficulty it may affect several areas of their education, from learning to read or write, physical difficulties with taking notes or poor memory as well as problems interacting with other children due to developmental delays. It is therefore essential to seek the correct diagnosis and then request adequate help in the classroom. A specific learning difficulty does not need to prove detrimental to a child’s education, especially if they can be assisted with tools, software and patience with the help of specially qualified teachers.
Dyslexia and Dyscalculia affect reading comprehension and mathematical skills, whereas Dyspraxia affects motor co-ordination skills, however, all three can include varying degrees of the others when present in an individual. Early diagnosis means children do not have to fall behind and knowing how you can help means supporting and encouraging them through their education.
The types of learning difficulties include:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia

Behavioural, social and emotional needs can cause more of a problem, as although specific issues may affect their learning abilities, it is more their interaction with other children and their behaviour in the classroom which affects learning. Children with behavioural or social disorders can struggle to make friends, have random outbursts, or may have emotional or physical impairments. It is vital any sort of disorder is recorded ASAP so that both the school and the family can understand the disorder thoroughly. In many cases medication can help and where severe disorders are present a specialist school might be the best place for your child.

Special Educational Needs are present in children with such disorders as extra care and attention is required to ensure they develop academically as well as benefit from specialist care and attention from specially trained teachers.
Types of learning difficulties include:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Aspergers

Physical illnesses or syndromes may have little effect on your child’s development and education; however, it is still important to understand what your child is entitled to throughout the education system to ensure their condition isn’t hindering their learning. It might be that your child needs assistance medically or with mobility, it may be that they require assistance with one or more Special Educational Needs, or perhaps they simply need a bit of extra care. It is important to have physical conditions recorded officially as well as understanding what needs to be in place in schools, transport and at any clubs or activities to allow your child to enjoy a normal school experience. In most cases, a specialist school is required to allow each child to get the individual care and tailored education they require.
Types of Learning Difficulties include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Epilepsy


Tayntons Solicitors can provide expert legal advice on all aspects of Special Educational Needs Law. Education systems are expected to assist all children in their education; from nursery to university, and an experienced solicitor can assist if you feel you’re not getting the help you deserve. 

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