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Guide to abbreviations & jargon

Listed below, in alphabetic order, are abbreviations used to describe children's disabilities and phrases relating to special educational needs and professionals or agencies who may be involved in the assessment and education of your child.

If you think anything is missing please email:



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 

Someone who can help ensure that a person is listened to, and that their rights, concerns and needs are acted upon.

Annual Review
A yearly review of an Education Health and Care Plan EHCP

A form for parents/carers to record their thoughts, comments and expectations of their child's needs.

Someone who acts on another person’s behalf in all social security (benefits) matters.

Area Inclusion Co-ordinator (INCo)
Early years and childcare settings receive support from an Area Inclusion Co-ordinator whose job it is to ensure all children, whatever their needs, can be included in a full range of activities and learning experiences. In Hounslow this done by the Early Years SEN team.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder - difficulties with social communication, making friends or relating to adults, includes Asperger syndrome.

This involves building a picture of your child’s abilities, difficulties, behaviour, his/her special educational needs and the support required to meet those needs. An assessment is a formal process which involves the collection of information from as many people as possible who have detailed knowledge about your child. This may lead to the issue of an EHC plan.

Health professional who specialises in identifying and treating hearing disorders

Health professional who specialises in measuring hearing ability.


Behavioural difficulty
A pattern of unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour which disrupts the education of a child and/or other pupils in the classroom.

Blue badge
The Blue Badge scheme helps people living with a disability park closer to their destination. Apply via your local Council to receive a badge.


A carer is a person named by the local authority to look after a child who is in the care of social services.

Case conference 
A formal meeting of professional staff and parents to discuss a particular child.

Child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS)

CAMHS promote the mental health and psychological wellbeing of children and young people, and provide high quality, multidisciplinary mental health services to children and young people with mental health problems and disorders to ensure effective assessment, treatment and support, for them and their families.

Child Development Team (CDT) 
A team consisting of various professionals to whom your child may be referred for assessments and therapies. 

Code of Practice
National guide that goes to schools and local authorities from the Department for Education to outline the help they can give to children with special educational needs. Schools, local authorities and health services must refer to the code of practice when they are involved with a child with special educational needs.

Community school
Maintained by Hounslow Council as the local authority.

Community special school
A school for children with special educational needs, maintained by Hounslow Council.

This service provides pupils and young people with special educational needs, aged 13-19, with a personal advisor. The advisor will assist the young person and their parent/carer in identifying the most appropriate post-16 provision and provide counselling and ongoing support. A service representative must be invited to the year 9 annual review meeting.

The curriculum is all of the learning opportunities that a school offers.


Developmental curriculum 
A programme for children who need to learn everyday skills such as self-care, dressing, etc., and who may spend most of their education working towards the first level of the core school subjects in the national curriculum.

Developmental delay

The term 'developmental delay' or 'global development delay' is used when a child takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other children their age.

This might include learning to walk or talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.

Someone with another condition, like Down’s syndrome or Cerebral palsy, may also have Global developmental delay.

For some people, the delay in their development will be short ­term and can be overcome with additional support or therapy.

In other cases the delay may be more significant and the child will need ongoing support.


The formal identification of an illness or disorder 

Differentiated Curriculum 
A curriculum that is specially adapted to meet the special educational needs of individual children.

Disagreement arrangements
All local authorities must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between the local authority/schools and parents whose children have special needs. They must include an independent party and are designed to bring together the organisation and the parents in an informal way to resolve disagreement through discussion. Using these arrangements is voluntary and does not in any way affect parental rights to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability).



Early education settings
Preschool education such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and play groups.

Educational Psychologist (EP)
A psychologist employed by the Local Authority. He or she will play an important role in assessing your child’s educational needs and will give advice to schools to help them meet those needs.

Education Welfare Officers (EWO)
Education Welfare workers (EWOs) work with schools and families to promote good attendance. 

Education Health and Care (plan) - replaced SEN Statements from September 2014


Foundation Stage
This stage of education begins when a child reaches the age of 3 and continues until the end of the reception year at school.

First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability)
An independent body which hears appeals from parents against decisions made by local authorities

Free school
A new type of all ability state funded independent school, free from local authority control.


An artificial opening in the stomach to aid feeding and nutrition.

Graduated approach
A model of action and intervention in schools and early education settings to help children who have special educational needs. The approach recognises that increasing specialist expertise may be required to help a child with difficulties they are facing.

Gross Motor Skills
Use of the muscles in the body that aid sitting, standing, walking, etc.


Hearing Impairment

A medical term to describe increased muscle tone.




Educating children with special educational needs together with children who do not have special educational needs in mainstream schools. Ensuring that children with special educational needs engage in the activities of the school together with the other children.

Independent Support
Support for parents/carers in completing their Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. in Hounslow this is provided by SENDIASS

Independent living
Support for adults with special educational needs and disabilities to live in the community rather than a residential home.

Independent parental supporter
Provides information and practical support to parents/carers of children with special educational needs.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)
This is a plan for a child, examining what they can do now, what they need to do next and how this is going to be achieved.

This is the process of educating children, with or without disabilities or difficulties, together in mainstream education.



Key Stages
The different stages of education that a child passes through:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage – age 0-5 (Early years setting, Nursery and Reception);
  • Key Stage one – age 5-7 (Years 1 and 2);
  • Key Stage two – age 7-11(Years 3, 4, 5 and 6);
  • Key Stage three – age 11-14 (Years 7, 8 and 9);
  • Key Stage four – age 14-16 (Years 10 and 11);
  • Key Stage five – age 16+ (Sixth form or college)


Learning difficulties
A child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age, or has a disability which prevents them from making use of educational facilities provided for children of the same age.

Learning Support Assistant (LSA)
A widely used job title for an assistant providing in school support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. An LSA will normally work with a particular pupil or pupils providing close support to the individual and assistance to those responsible for teaching him/her. Some assistants specialising in SEN may also be known by titles other than LSA as these matters are decided locally. LSAs are one of a group of assistants coming within the broader Department for Education classification of ‘teaching assistant’.

Local Authority (LA)
A local government body responsible for providing education, carrying out statutory assessments and maintaining statements of SEN.



A system of communication that involves the combined use of sign language and speech.

Mainstream, or maintained school
An ordinary school, which is for all children, not just those with special educational needs (SEN). This will normally be a state school.

Schemes to rent a vehicle using DLA or PIP payments to cover costs. You must be in receipt of the Higher Rate mobility component of DLA or PIP to apply.

Moderate Learning Difficulties. This includes children who have difficulty with some of the work in school, and with keeping up with other children their age.

Multi-Sensory Impairment

Muscle Tone
Refers to the amount of tension or resistance in a muscle that enables movement

Music Therapy
Form of therapy often used to help communicate and build relationships with people who are non-verbal or have problems with verbal communication. This is done through the use of playing, singing and listening to music.

Meeting of a group of professionals who assess, support and treat an individual


Named Officer 
The person at the Local Authority (LA) who deals with your child’s case.

National curriculum
The national curriculum sets out a clear and legal entitlement to learning for all pupils, and sets out what should be taught and the attainment targets for each Key Stage. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported. The national curriculum is taught in a way that meets the needs of individual pupils, e.g. setting goals that are achievable.

NG tube
Nasogastric tube inserted into the stomach via the nose to aid feeding.

Non-maintained special school
A non-profit-making special school which charges fees. Most non-maintained special schools are run by charities or charitable trusts.

Note in Lieu
A document the Local Authority (LA) may produce describing your child’s Special Educational Needs and explaining why a statement is not needed, instead setting out what should be provided for your child.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Mental health condition characterised by obsessive thoughts that cause heightened anxiety. These thoughts result in compulsive behaviour the person thinks will relieve their obsession.

Occupational Therapy (OT)
Occupational therapists have a special understanding of the skills children need to play, learn and look after themselves e.g. feeding, drawing, writing etc. They can develop programmes to help children overcome their difficulties in these areas. They can also advise on specialist equipment such as chairs, wheelchairs and any adaptations you may need in your home.

Medically trained doctor with specialist skills in the diagnoses and treatment of diseases of the eye.

Healthcare professional who assesses individuals for and designs specialist braces, splints and footwear.

Healthcare professional who investigates, diagnoses and treats sight related problems and abnormalities of eye movement and eye position.


Doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Impairments in sensory or motor function of the lower half of the body.

Parent Partnership Service
Provides impartial advice and information to parents whose children have special educational needs. The service offers neutral and factual support on all aspects of the SEN framework to help parents play an active and informed role in their child’s education.

Physical Disability

Person Centred Approach
A way of working with a person to find out what is important and meaningful to them.

Personal Budget
Your personal budget is the money you get from Hounslow Council to pay for the help you need.

Tailored care and support given to individuals based on their needs and the choices they make about how they live their lives.

Employed by the local health service to help people who have physical disabilities. They can help your child with exercises and provide specialist equipment.

A method of muscle treatment that uses physical and natural measures, such as light, heat, water etc. Therapists are trained to assess motor abilities and to carry out treatment to promote better movement and bodily strength. They will also advise on aids and appliances.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Picture based communication system commonly used with pre-verbal or non-verbal children and young people.

This is a new benefit replacing DLA for those over 16. Personal Independence Payment helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability. It is being phased in over the next few years.

A school, unit or other facility which the LEA thinks meets the specific needs of a child.

Play Therapy
The use of play to help children act out and understand difficult life experiences in order to reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem and better manage their emotions.

Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulties - refers to people with more than one disability including severe learning disabilities.

Home based pre-school education for children with developmental delay, disabilities or any other special educational needs. Portage home visitors work in partnership with parents helping them help their children through learning activities in the home.

Preparing for Adulthood
Preparing for Adulthood is a National programme providing knowledge and support to local authorities and their partners, including families and young people, so that they can ensure disabled young people achieve paid work, independent living, good health and community inclusion as they begin adulthood.

Medically qualified doctor who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions.

Pupil Referral Unit
A specialist school run by a local authority which provides education for children who cannot attend a conventional school. Includes children with behavioural or medical problems, mothers and pregnant schoolgirls and children who are school phobic or who are awaiting a school place.




Services which provide breaks for parents of children with special needs. Care may be given in the child’s home, in the home of a respite foster family or in residential establishments. Respite care is provided by social services departments, voluntary organisations or by support groups run by parents.


School Action 
At School Action, a child is given support that is either extra to and/or different from that which their school gives. The school’s special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) and teachers collect all the information about the child and ask parents for more information. Once it has been decided what help can be offered to a child this should be recorded on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which should be reviewed regularly.

School Action Plus 
If progress on School Action is inadequate, a child should move on to School Action Plus. At this stage the help will be more intensive and outside specialists will be involved, e.g. speech therapist, etc. They will give support, advice and help set new targets for your child’s individual education plan (IEP).

School medical officer
A doctor who monitors your child’s health to ensure that it does not stop him or her from learning. The medical officer may do regular check-ups on your child if he or she has a physical, sensory or medical problem.

Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which requires special educational provision to be made for them.

SEN Code of Practice 
A Government guide for early education settings, state school and LEAs on the help they can give to children with SEN.

SEN Coordinator (SENCO) 
Member of staff at an early education setting or school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision within that early education setting or school. In a small school the headteacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools there may be a SEN co-ordinating team.

SEN Tribunal (SENDIST) 
An independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by the local authority on EHC plans.

Short breaks
Short breaks can last from just a few hours to a few days – from daytime and evening activities to weekend and overnight or maybe longer. They can take place in a community setting, the child’s own home, the home of an approved carer or in a residential setting. They also provide parents and families with a necessary and valuable break from caring responsibilities.

Speech, Language and Communication Needs. This includes children who have difficulty expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying

Severe Learning Difficulties. This includes children who have difficulty developing basic skills.

Speech and Language Therapy Assistant. Usually trained and experienced in working with children who have speech, language or communication needs.

Special Educational Provision
The special help given to children with special educational needs which is additional to or different from the provision generally made for other children of the same age.

Specialist resourced provision
Additionally funded provision for particular types of special educational needs in mainstream schools, e.g for children with hearing impairment, physical disability, or visual impairment.

Special School 
A school which is specifically organised to give help to pupils with special educational needs.

Specialist teacher adviser (STA)
Employed by the local authority to provide specialist advice to schools for children with physical disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment and specific learning difficulties.

Speech and language therapist (SaLT)
A person who helps children who have language difficulties or speech problems.

Specific Learning Difficulties such as Dyslexia

Statement of special educational needs- Replaced by EHCP
A legal document that sets out a child’s special educational needs and the additional help he or she should receive.

Statutory Assessment 
A very detailed assessment of a child’s special educational needs which may lead to a statement or a note in lieu. These are gradually being phased out and replaced with EHC plans.

A review of Disability Living Allowance where a person believes their circumstances have changed and that they may be entitled to more help.

Supported living
Supported living is a type of residential support that helps vulnerable adults, including people with learning disabilities, live in the community.


Team around the Child meeting (TAC)

Team around the child meeting (TAC) 
This is usually a meeting of some or all of professionals working with a  child and family together. There should be an agenda and clear actions and responsibilities identified in order to progress any issues.

Teaching assistants (TAs) 
Teaching assistants work under the direction of teachers and are appointed to provide additional help in the classroom for a child or a group of children with identified special educational needs.

Transition Plan 
A plan drawn up at the annual review of the statement of SEN held when a child reaches Year 9 (13 or 14 years old). It sets out the steps and support needed for him or her to move from school to adult life.



Unit or Centre 
An educational establishment attached to a state school, providing specialist support for Children with Special Educational Needs. Each unit or centre will usually focus on one or two particular areas of need such as language or mobility.

Universal Credit
Universal Credit is replacing certain benefits in parts of the UK.


Visual Impairment

Voluntary Organisations 
Usually charities, which provide help and advice that is often linked to particular needs.

Voluntary schools
Originally set up by voluntary bodies, such as the Church of England or Roman Catholic Church, but with most of their running costs now funded by Hounslow Council. (Voluntary aided schools are responsible for their own admissions. Voluntary controlled schools follow Hounslow Council’s admission policy.)




Youth Support Services

The council has recently awarded the contract to provide youth services to

Brentford FC Community Sports trust