Skip to main content

What is SEND?


A person has Special Educational Needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means they need special educational support. Disability is when a person has a physical or mental difficulty which has a significant and long-term effect on their ability to carry out activities. This can include a long-term illness.

Some Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) may be identified very early in a child’s life but others may not be diagnosed until they are older. How to get a diagnosis and how to access support will depend on the type of difficulty a person has.


How are special educational needs identified?

All children are individual and will develop at different rates. Schools and early years settings (such as nurseries), have a responsibility to identify children with SEND, sometimes with the help of outside specialists. Health or care professionals can also identify SEND.


Where do I go if I think my child has a special educational need or disability?

Talk to your child’s early years setting, school, GP or health visitor if you are worried about their development or behaviour. They will discuss any concerns you have, tell you what they think and explain to you what kind of support your child may need. There are also services which offer information, advice and support.


SEND diagnosis and support

If you’re finding the process of getting a diagnosis and accessing support for your child difficult, you’re not alone. It can be helpful to find out about the experience of people who have been in a similar situation.

These SEND diagnosis and support case studies explain how their child got a diagnosis, how they accessed services and what they would have liked to have known from the beginning.