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Categories of need

Categories of need

Within my plan, my plan+ and EHC Plans support will be targeted based on your child’s area of need. Below is an explanation of how each need is classified by the SEN Code of Practice.


Communication and interaction

Paragraph 6.29 'Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others.  This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to; understanding what is being said to them, or they do not understand or use social rules of communication.  The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time.  They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives'


What might you see?

  • Poor attention control
  • Listening difficulties
  • Poor auditory memory (the ability to hold and process information)
  • Poor phonological awareness (ability to recognise sounds within words)
  • Expressive language difficulties
  • Social communication difficulties


Cognition and Learning

Paragraph 6.30 'Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation.  Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.'


Paragraph 6.31 'Specific learning difficulties (SplD) affect one or more specific aspects of learning.  This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia'


What might you see?

  • Poor language, memory and reasoning skills
  • Poor sequencing and organisational skills
  • Poor numerology (understanding of how numbers behave, patterns etc.)
  • Poor comprehension skills


Sensory/and or physical

Paragraph 6.34 'Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided.  Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI) , hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habitation support.  Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties.  Information on how to provide services for deaf/blind children and young people is available through the Social Care for deaf/blind Children and Adults guidance published by the DoH.  Some children may also have issues with processing sensory information (such as sight, sound, touch).'


What might you see?

  • Difficulties with loud noises or bright lights and textures or tastes e.g. food or clothing
  • Unpredictable behaviour patterns and a high level of proprioceptic need
  • Easily distracted or fatigued
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Often struggles with transitions
  • Difficulty navigating the environment e.g. clumsy or uncoordinated 


Social, emotional and mental health

Paragraph 6.32 ' Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways.  These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour.  These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained.  Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.'


What might you see?

  • Withdrawn behaviour (hypo) or extreme behaviour and emotions (hyper)
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Immature social skills and poor peer and adult relationships
  • Difficulty expressing their emotions
  • Requires lots of reassurance
  • Poor impulse control (interrupting, fiddling with objects)