Last updated: 23 August 2023

Four areas of SEND needs

The government's SEND code of practice highlights four broad areas of SEND needs.

Communication and interaction

Children and young people with speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN) who have difficulty understanding and communicating with others. This may include those with ASD, including Asperger Syndrome and Autism.

Cognition and learning

Children and young people who learn at a slower pace than their peers, and those with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). For example dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia.

Social, emotional, and health difficulties

Children who may be withdrawn or isolated, as well as those displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviours. The code states these behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties. For example, anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained.

Sensory and/or physical needs

This includes children with a disability that prevents or hinders them from making full use of general educational facilities. For example, those with visual or hearing impairments, multi-sensory impairments, and/or physical disabilities.

Find out more about common SEND conditions.