Children and young people may require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided.
These disabilities could include a:
- vision impairment
- hearing impairment
- physical difficulty
- Sensory processing difficulty
Hearing impairment or hearing loss may be temporary or permanent and range in severity from a mild loss to a profound loss.
Children with a significant hearing impairment are usually fitted as early as possible with hearing aids. Some children with greater hearing loss may be considered for a cochlear implant. RNID has further information about hearing loss.
You can also find out more about the support offered by our Brent Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service (BDHIS).
Vision impairment is less than perfect sight, and can range from no sight at all to degrees of useful vision. This could affect distance vision, near vision, fields of vision (the ability to see to the sides) or all three.
Vision impairment most commonly affects acuity (ability to see clearly). There are some conditions which produce photophobia (dislike of bright light or glare) or poor vision in low light and some conditions mean that vision can vary in different situations.
Children who solely have a refractive error (long sight, short sight or astigmatism) that can be fully corrected with glasses or lenses are not considered to have a visual impairment.
Some children will have additional needs as well as their vision impairment. Vision impairment amongst children is quite rare.
The NHS has more information on vision impairment.
You can also find out more about the support offered by our Brent Vision Impairment Service (BVIS).
Children with a physical disability may have difficulty carrying out some day-to-day activities.
Physical disabilities can include:
- cerebral palsy
- spina bifida
- neuro-muscular dystrophies
If a child has a physical disability they will probably be referred to a physiotherapist and occupational therapist who can advise on things like exercises, equipment, guidance on what would be helpful and what to avoid.
Sensory processing difficulty
Sensory processing is the way that our brain sorts out sensory information so we understand the world and can manage our everyday life whilst learning and interacting with our environment both physically and emotionally. We all have some sensory processing differences. For example, some of us like very strong tastes and smells and others avoid them.
Our senses help us:
- notice, understand and respond appropriately to what we can see, hear, feel etc.
- Become alert of danger
- remain focussed on task
- influence our ability to be in control of our responses to what is happening around us
For some children and young people their sensory development is delayed, and they struggle to take part in everyday occupations. For example, they are so unsettled by loud noise or overcrowded spaces that they can’t go to supermarkets or get on the train at peak times.
Some of the daily activities that may be affected as a result of having sensory processing differences include:
- Hair cutting
- Teeth brushing
- Moving around
- Picky eating
- Leisure Activities
- Having a shower
- Eating and Drinking
- Going to school or college
It is also important to remember that sensory processing challenges are affected by sleep, hunger, time of day and other variables.