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Terminology

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This section explains some of the terms and acronyms used. It is designed to help Parent Carers and Young People understand what is being discussed or written about by professionals. Below are a list of terms and acronyms in alphabetical order.

Terminology: A-Z

ADHD
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD is a range of problem behaviours associated with difficulties with attention span, including restlessness and hyperactivity. A medical diagnosis related to the child’s behaviour and attention span, which can affect their ability to concentrate and learn.

AAC
Augmentative and Alternative Communication - Different methods that can be used to help people with disabilities communicate with others, for example using signing, speech synthesisers, symbols, objects of reference or a combination of these.

Advocate
An advocate is someone who can help children, young people and parents say what they want if they find it difficult to do so.

Annual Review
The Review of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which a Local Authority (LA) must carry out within 12 months of making the EHCP and then on at least an annual basis.

Annual Review Report
A written progress report completed by the school and any other professionals who have been supporting the pupil for an Annual or Transition Review meeting.

Annual Review Summary
A written report completed by the school recording all information and recommendations from the Annual Review meeting and sent to the Local Authority for consideration.

Appeal
An appeal is when you tell a tribunal that you do not agree with the choices your Local Authority have made about your child’s education. This could be about the help you have at school or the school you go to.

Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are paid for by the government and the employer. Learning at work through an apprenticeship scheme means getting a wage at the same time.

Asperger's Syndrome
Asperger's Syndrome is a form of autism. People with the condition usually have difficulties with social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

Area SENCO
A teacher with specialist knowledge and experience in Special Educational Needs in Early Years, employed by the Local Authority to provide advice and support to Foundation Stage staff in private voluntary and independent early years’ settings on the inclusion of children with SEND. They support settings around best practice when children with SEND transition to school

ASD / ASC
Stands for Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Condition – the term used for a range of disorders affecting the development of social interaction, communication and imagination.

Assessment Summary
The working document using the EHC Template. The Assessment Summary will become the EHC Plan if SENAR decide to issue, otherwise it will be issued as feedback.

Assessment Summary Review Meeting
The local authority must send the draft EHC plan (including the appendices containing the advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment) to the child’s parent or to the young person and give them at least 15 days to give views and make representations on the content. During this period, the local authority must make its officers available for a meeting with the child’s parent or the young person on request if they wish to discuss the content of the draft EHC plan.

Autism
Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder. Autistic people think differently to other people. It affects how a person communicates with and relates to the people around them.

Cognition and Learning (C&L)
Stands for Cognition and Learning. Cognition is the process of gaining and understanding information through our thoughts, experiences, and senses. Learning involves acquiring knowledge through experience, study, or being taught. Support for cognition and learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation and support.

Code of Practice for SEND
A guide for parents, schools and Local Authorities about the help they can give to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Schools, Local Authorities and Children’s Social Services must have regard to the Code (i.e. they must not ignore it) when they work with a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Core Assessment
This is a detailed assessment to look at child/family needs, significant health needs, physical disability or behavioural problems requiring a number of different services. If needed this is carried out by Social Work staff from Children’s Social Care following an Initial Assessment.

Carer
A family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly or disabled person.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Services that are provided by the NHS for children and young people up to the age of 18 who need support with their emotions, their behaviour or their mental health.

Children & Families Act 2014
The Children and Families Act 2014 became law on the 13 March 2014. The Act aims to improve how different agencies and services work together and create a more joined-up approach to the statutory assessment process for children and young people with the most complex needs. The Act aims to give children and young people with complex needs and their families more choice and control about which services they can access and how they are paid for. The Act will also improve information about services for children and young people with SEN and their families.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) (see also Integrated Care Board (ICB))
CCGs are groups of professionals who work together to commission health services, ensuring there is sufficient capacity contracted to deliver the necessary services to people.

Code of Practice
The revised Special Educational Needs Code of Practice was published by the Department for Education and Skills in January 2015. The code provides guidance on policies and procedures intended to enable pupils with SEN to reach their full potential, to be included in school communities and to make the transition to adult life successfully.

Cognition and Learning
The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgement.

Cognitive Ability
Thinking and reasoning abilities. A term often used by psychologists instead of intelligence.

Commissioning
The process that ensures the right people and services are in the right place at the right time for all children, young people and families. It is the process by which services are planned, investment decisions are made, delivery is ensured, and effectiveness is reviewed.

Comprehension
Understanding of spoken or written material or practical situations.

Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)
employed by NHS North West London and works across both the Hounslow & Ealing Local Authorities for children and young People and their families with SEND

Developmental Delay
A slower rate of development where a child learns more slowly than most children of the same age.

Differentiated Curriculum
Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Teachers take account of this when planning their lessons, organising the classroom and choosing books and materials. They are then able to choose from the range of available approaches and resources to make a selection which best fits the learning styles of a particular child or group of
children. This is what is meant by a differentiated curriculum.

Direct Payments
A payment made directly to a parent or young person to purchase specific services. Under the
Children and Families Act 2014 a Direct Payment may be made as part of a Personal Budget so
that the parent or young person can buy certain services that are specified in their EHC plan.
Direct payments can only be used for provision provided on the school or college premises if the
school or college agree.

Disabled
A person is disabled if he or she has a physical or mental impairment, which has substantial and
long-term effect on his/her ability to carry out day-to-day activities. The definition also covers pupils
with sensory or intellectual impairments, those with a learning disability, severe disfigurements or
progressive conditions.

Disagreement Resolution
Local authorities must provide independent disagreement resolution to help parents and young
people resolve disputes with local authorities, schools and other settings about SEND duties and
provision.

Dyscalculia
A condition associated with specific learning difficulties in Maths. In its simplest terms this means
that sufferers have problems with even simple arithmetic.

Dyslexia
A learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and
spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal
memory and verbal processing speed.

Dyspraxia
A common developmental disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and
adults. It may also affect speech.

Disagreement Resolution
Local Authorities must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents whose children have Special Educational Needs and the Local Authority or school. Using this service does not affect parents’ right to appeal to the SEN Tribunal.

Draft Education, Health and Care Plan (Draft EHCP)
This is a draft Education, Health and Care Plan, offering parents 15 working days to comment or request adjustments before the Final EHCP is issued.

Early Years’ Settings
All pre-school education provision such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and play groups.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
A legal document that sets out a child’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and all the extra help he or she must receive.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Case Officer
The individual working within the SEN Team at Achieving for Children who coordinates the creation and maintenance of EHC Plans

Educational Psychologist (Ed Psych) (EP)
Have a first degree in Psychology and a post-graduate qualification in Educational Psychology. They offer specialist advice and support to schools, settings, families, young people and other agencies. The service plays a major role in the Statutory Assessment, transition and annual review processes.

EHC Needs Assessment or EHCNA
A statutory process undertaken by the Local Authority (Achieving for Children) to determine what support a child or young person needs, normally resulting in the issue of an EHC Plan.

Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act became law in October 2010. It replaces previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what you need to do to make your workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law.

Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a non-departmental public body in Great Britain that was established by the Equality Act 2006 and came into being on 1 October 2007. The Commission has responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales. It took over the responsibilities of three former commissions: the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission (which dealt with gender equality) and the Disability Rights Commission. It also has responsibility for other aspects of equality: age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. As a national human rights institution, it seeks to promote and protect human rights in Great Britain.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD)
A condition caused by the mother consuming alcohol, resulting in abnormal brain development before birth.

Fragile X Syndrome
The most common cause of inherited learning difficulties after Down’s Syndrome.

Further Education (FE) College
Includes any study after secondary school that’s not part of higher education usually carried out at a University. (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree). Courses range from basic English and maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

Health Visitor
A qualified nurse employed by the NHS who gives advice on general child health, particular health problems and has specific responsibility for monitoring Under 5’s.

Hearing Impairment (HI)
Pupils with a hearing impairment range from hearing loss to those who are profoundly deaf.

Inclusion
Educating children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in mainstream (local) schools wherever possible.

ICB
An integrated care board (or ICB) is a statutory NHS organisation which is responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the NHS budget and arranging for the provision of health services in a geographical area.

ISPEA
Independent Provider of Special Education Advice or (ISPEA) is a leading charity in England providing free independent legal advice and support to families of children and young people with SEND.

IT / ICT
Stands for Information Technology (sometimes called Information and Communication Technology)

Job Coach
A job coach finds out what the work involves and then plans ways to help the young person fulfil their tasks. Support is ongoing until the employee has learned the job.

Key Stages
The Educational Stages that schools split year groups into:
Early Years (up to the end of Reception Class – ages 3 – 5)
Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2 – ages 5 – 7)
Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 – ages 7 to 11)
Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9 – ages 11 – 14)
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11 – ages 14 – 16)
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13 – ages 16 – 18)

Learning Difficulties
A child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age.

Learning Mentor
An adult or older pupil who is linked with a child to provide support across a number of areas such as learning or behaviour.

Local Authority (LA)
The local government body of a county or city that provides services, including education, for local people.

Local Offer (SEND Local Offer)
A local offer is published by every Local Authority as a statutory requirement and provides information about the support and services that children and young people who have special educational needs & disabilities and their families can get. It includes information about education, health and care provision. It also gives information about training, employment and independent living for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Looked After Child (LAC)
Any child who is in care of the local authority, or who is provided with accommodation by the local authority social services department for more than 24 hours.

Mainstream School
A Local Authority maintained school that is not a special school (i.e. it is an ordinary school). Mainstream schools form the majority of schools and include Infant, Junior, Primary and Secondary schools.

Maintained School
A state school including community, foundation and voluntary schools as well as community special and foundation special schools.

Mental Capacity Assessment (MCA)
A mental capacity assessment is carried out to see if someone is legally unable to make decisions. If someone can not make a decision by themselves, they should still be supported to have their say.

Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)
Stands for Moderate Learning Difficulties. The general level of academic attainment of children and young people with MLD will be significantly lower than that of their peers. Generally, they will have difficulty acquiring literacy and numeracy skills.

Monitoring
The ongoing assessment of work, progress, expenditure, or achievement.

Multi Agency Team
Professionals from different specialisms (health/education/ social care/voluntary organisations) working together in the best interest of your child.

Multi Agency Meeting
Multi Agency Meetings are a key element of the process of successfully working with children and young people who have been identified as having unmet needs and require support from more than one agency/service to meet these needs. For example, housing.

Multi Agency Working
Practitioners from different sectors and professions working together to provide joined-up support for children, young people and families.

Multi-Disciplinary
Involving professionals from a range of disciplines (usually Education, Social Care and Health)

Multi-Sensory Environment
A place (usually a classroom or therapy room) where children have the opportunity to learn/receive information using all of their senses.

Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI)
Pupils with multi-sensory impairment have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties. They are sometimes referred to as deafblind but may have some residual sight and/or hearing.

National Curriculum
What the Government has decided that all children in mainstream schools will learn.

Neurodiversity
The diversity or variation of cognitive functioning in people. Everyone has a unique brain and therefore different skills, abilities, and needs.

Neurodiverse
Describes the diversity and variation of cognitive functioning in people. Neurodiverse is typically used to describe neurodivergent people.

Neurodivergence
Cognitive functioning which is not considered 'typical'. For example, autistic, dyslexic, and dyspraxic people.

Neurodivergent
Describes people who have a neurodivergence.

NHS
National Health Service. The UK's state healthcare provider. NHS services are usually free at the point of contact. 

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC)
NHS Continuing Healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals aged 18 and over who are not in hospital but have complex ongoing healthcare needs.

Occupational Therapist (OT)
A professional employed by the Health Trust to work with the child, parents and teachers. Occupational Therapists use therapeutic techniques (advising on equipment and environmental adaptations where appropriate) to improve a child’s ability to access the physical and learning curriculum.

Outreach Services
Support services provided to schools or pupils by specialist professionals: for example, providing support for communication or behaviour difficulties.

Panel (includes Early Years Panel)
A group of various SEND professionals that convene to ensure appropriate decisions are made regarding individual Children or Young People’s SEND needs.

Paediatrician
A doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Parent Carer Forum
A Parent Carer Forum is a representative local group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families. Please refer to the Hounslow Local Offer for the Hounslow Parent Carer Forum contact details.

Peer Support
Peer support is when other pupils provide emotional, social or practical help to each other. Pupils are usually trained to provide this support.

Personal Assistant (PA)
Personal Assistants are approved support staff who offer a range of individual support and care to disabled children and young people.

Personal Budget
A personal budget is money set aside for a young person or a parent by their local council. It can be used to buy some of the support a child or young person gets in their education, health and care plan. Sometimes a local council will keep this money and use it to buy some support that a young person or their family might need. Parents of children with an EHC plan and young people with an EHC plan can choose whether or not they wish to have a Personal Budget.

Person Centred
Person Centred approaches explore what is happening from the person and other people's perspectives. It reviews what's working and not working, what's important to the person now and in the future and agrees outcomes for change.

Physical Disability (PD)
Disabilities that limit mobility. Among the causes are congenital conditions, accidents or injury.

Preparing for Adulthood
The transition of a young person leaving childhood and preparing to become an adult

Physiotherapist
A specialist who works with children who have movement difficulties. They can advise parents on suitable exercises for their children.

Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties – in addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care.

Psychiatrist
A doctor who helps people who have difficulties with the way they feel and behave. Child Psychiatrists specialise in helping children.

Published Admission Number
Refers to the number the school can admit to the relevant age group in any one year.

Pupil Referral Unit
Provides education for excluded pupils or others who may be out of school for a variety of reasons.

Pupil Premium
Additional funding for schools to spend in order to raise the achievement of disadvantaged pupils. The Pupil Premium for each school is calculated according to the number of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
This is a school established and maintained by a local authority that is specially organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick or otherwise unable to attend mainstream school.

Quality Assurance Framework (QAF)
includes an audit system to evaluate how effectively multi-agency processes and procedures are being implemented to evidence compliance with primary legislation within the EHCPs.

Reasonable Adjustments
Reasonable Adjustments are changes schools and other settings are required to make which could include: changes to physical features – for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom or providing extra support and aids (such as specialist teachers or equipment).

Respite Care (see also Short Breaks)
Respite Care involves short term or temporary care of the sick or disabled for a few hours or weeks, designed to provide relief to the regular caregiver.

Resource Base
A Resource Base is a classroom or area for enhanced support, based within a mainstream school, providing education for pupils with a range of complex needs.

Safeguarding
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding means: protecting children from abuse and maltreatment. preventing harm to children's health or development.

Speech and Language Therapist (SALT, SLT, SaLT)
A specialist therapist who helps children who have speech, language and communication difficulties.

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)
Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties. These needs are a type of special educational need where a child communicates through behaviour in response to unmet social, emotional or mental health needs. Children with SEMH needs often have difficulties in managing their emotions or their behaviour. They can show inappropriate responses to their emotions.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A child is said to have a special educational need if they have learning difficulties that need special educational provision.

SEN Support
When a class or subject teacher, working with the SENCo, identifies that a child has Special Educational Needs that require advice and/or support from outside agencies. They take action by giving help that is additional to, or different from, the help most other children have.

SEND Code of Practice
This is the statutory guidance that supports Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. It tells local authorities, early years settings, schools, colleges, heath and social care providers and others what they must and should do to identify, assess and provide for children and young people with SEN or disabilities.

Sensory & Physical SEN Team
A team of experienced qualified teaching and non-teaching staff who provide skilled support for children who have hearing, vision and multi needs sensory impairment including deaf/blind. Teaching staff offer a wide range of skills to teach and support children and families from the time of diagnosis in the critical early years’ and throughout school life.

Sensory Impairment (SI)
Sensory impairment is when one of your senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and spatial awareness, is no longer normal. For example, if you find it hard to hear or have a hearing aid then you have a hearing impairment.

Short Breaks (see also Respite Care)
Short Breaks offer disabled children and young people the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities, giving their families a break and providing them with the confidence their child is well supported by a trained worker. They can include overnight respite (see respite care), afterschool, holiday and Saturday clubs, involving a range of activities.

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
Speech, Language and Communication Needs – pupils may have difficulties with expressive language or receptive language and/or processing difficulties.

Specific Learning Disabilities (SpLD)
An umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occurring difficulties, usually dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADD and ADHD.

Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD)
Pupils with severe learning difficulties have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and learning self-help skills. Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum.

Special Education Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)
SENDIASS offer free information, advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs, and the young people themselves 16 years old and over. They are statutory services which means there has to be one in every local authority.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)
A child or young person who has special educational needs may:
1. Find it harder to learn than other people their age.
2. Face challenges that make it hard to go to school or college.
3. Need extra or different support to learn.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)
A panel of experts and Judges set up to arbitrate when disagreements occur between parents and the local authority about then provision for a pupil’s Special Educational Needs, or when a parent alleges discrimination on the grounds of a child’s disability.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
The SENCO is the person at a school who is in charge of making sure students who have special educational needs or disabilities get the support they need.

Special School
A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Education, Health and Care Plans whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream school.

Supported Internships
Supported internships are a structured study programme based primarily at an employer. They enable young people aged 16-24 with a statement of SEN, or an Education, Health and Care plan to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.

Teaching Assistant (TA)
A person employed in school to support children’s learning under the direction of a class teacher.

Transition Plan
Developed at the Annual Review Meeting which sets out the steps needed to move from one school to another (College or University) or from School / College / University to adult life.

Visual Impairment (VI)
Visual Impairment – a range of difficulties from partial sight through to blindness.