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Education Law

Expert Education Law advice courtesy of the dedicated team of nationally respected specialist lawyers at HCB.

  • Comprehensive advice on all aspects of education law
  • Proven expertise in special educational needs and higher education law

Types of Special Educational Needs

Our specialist solicitors have years of experience supporting children and young people with special educational needs. We have supported young people with a vast array of special educational needs and disabilities.

Each special educational need has a unique impact on each child and young person. We have endeavoured to pull together our combined experience of each special educational need to give an indication of the likely impact and level of intervention that may be called for.

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of behaviours that affect a person’s ability to concentrate and control impulsivity. Typically, ADHD is one of three forms:

  • Inattentive ADHD
  • Impulsive ADHD
  • A combination of both

ADHD tends to be diagnosed when a child is relatively young. The NHS indicates that typical diagnosis range is from 6 – 12 years old.

ADHD has a very different impact for each child or young person. In our experience, ADHD will always qualify as being a special educational need because children or young people with ADHD tend to need support which is additional, or different, to that provided to pupils without ADHD.

Early identification can be very important for pupils with ADHD. As ADHD can result in difficult behaviours and impulsivity, it can expose children and young people to exclusion. It is important to recognise the difficulties as early as possible in order to protect against this as much as possible. It may be necessary to secure support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some useful further information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.hacsg.org.uk/

Anxiety

Many children or young people suffer from anxiety. It can be entirely normal. However, anxiety can be a special educational need when it creates a barrier to a child or young person’s ability to engage in normal day-to-day activities.

Anxiety can be issue-specific or present as a generalised anxiety disorder.

Typically, when a child or young person is suffering from extreme anxiety, it is very clear to their parents. Unfortunately, young people suffering from anxiety often do not receive the support that they need. We have supported several young people who have been unable to go to school as a result of their anxiety but have been refused special educational needs support from their school and local authority.

Anxiety can be a symptom of, or can cause:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Attachment disorder
  • School phobia
  • Social phobia
  • Phobia of foods
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Panic disorder

If your child or young person’s anxiety is creating a barrier to their ability to access normal day-to-day activities, especially school, it is likely that they have special educational needs. This will entitle them to special educational provision may call for an Education Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs.

If you think that your child needs additional support, our specialist solicitors  will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.anxietycare.org.uk

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/our-services/anxiety-information/

Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa (Anorexia) is a mental health condition which causes a person to try to keep their body weight as low as possible. Anorexia can affect people of all ages.

A child or young person with anorexia will try to keep their weight very low by barely eating, vomiting after eating and/or via excessive exercise.

Whilst Anorexia has very obvious physical signs, the root of the difficulties is a mental health condition. As Anorexia is recognised as a disability, it can also be treated as a special educational need.

Children and young people with Anorexia can require special educational provision to help them learn how to manage their mental health condition, maintain a healthy body weight and to manage the impact of the Anorexia in the interim period.

As Anorexia can result in fatigue and difficulties with concentration and attention, it is important that adequate support is provided in school, as well as support from medical professionals.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of Anorexia is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors  will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anorexia-nervosa/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://www.b-eat.co.uk/

Aphasia

Aphasia is a speech and language communication difficulty. It is normally associated with damage to the brain as a result of injury, stroke, medical negligence or accident.

Aphasia causes a person difficulty with the use of single words, or putting words together in a sentence.

There are three forms of Aphasia:

  • Receptive – difficulties with understanding either individual words, or whole sentences, either read or heard
  • Expressive – difficulties with speaking, or writing individual words, or whole sentences
  • A combination of both

Children or young people with Aphasia will normally require support from a Speech and Language Therapist. As this support is not typically available to pupils in a mainstream school, Aphasia would normally be considered as a special educational need.

It is important to secure an assessment of needs as soon as possible. This can be through an EHC needs assessment or statutory assessment. This will be to identify the extent of the special educational needs and plan the appropriate special educational provision. Depending on the extent of the difficulties, it may call for support from an Education Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Aphasia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.aphasianow.org/About_Us/

Asperger’s syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome is an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) otherwise referred to as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The key different between Asperger’s and ASD / ASC is the lack of a language disorder and/ or the lack of a learning difficulty. 

Asperger’s syndrome is often referred to as a difficulty with social skills. That is because people with Asperger’s syndrome will typically have difficulties with social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

Like all ASCs / ASDs, Asperger’s cannot be cured. However, children and young people with Asperger’s may be supported with special educational provision to help them develop social communication, interaction and imagination skills.

Asperger’s syndrome can have a significantly different impact. It is crucial to understand the impact of Asperger’s on the child or young person in question. Commonly, children and young people with Asperger’s have special educational needs, because they require special educational provision. It is important to identify what the necessary special educational provision is as soon as possible.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of need is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to engage with education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Autistic-spectrum-disorder/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.autism.org.uk/

https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/

Auditory processing disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a difficulty in the brain with processing and understanding auditory input. It is different from a hearing impairment because the sound is carried to the brain properly, but the brain is not able to interpret it.

Children with APD can appear to be distractible. This tends to be as a result of a difficulty with processing several competing audible inputs.

Children and young people with APD may well require regular input from a speech and language therapist, small classroom settings, careful control of noise in a learning setting and, potentially, 1:1 sessions for learning. This can all be considered special educational provision and, as a result, APD is typically a special educational need.

As with all special educational needs, early identification and early support are crucial.  This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. The child or young person may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

https://www.sense.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/auditory-processing-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://apduk.org.uk/

Autistic spectrum condition

Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) is also referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autistic Spectrum Condition can cause difficulties with:

  • Flexibility of thinking
  • Social communication
  • Social interaction

ASC / ASD is a developmental difficulty which causes people to lack interest in others, not develop social communication and interaction skills and can result in a child or young person become isolated.

The impact of ASD / ASC varies, not least because the difficulty exists on a spectrum. It is very important that a person with ASD / ASC is identified as soon as possible to ensure that the nature and extent of their difficulties are understood.

Support for ASD / ASC will almost always amount to special educational provision. Support with social communication, social stories and small group work is often used. This can be supported by specialist teachers and speech and language therapists.

If a school is not able to provide the level of support that the child or young person needs, the school should explore with parents seeking an Education Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Autistic-spectrum-disorder/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.autism.org.uk/

https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/

Behavioural difficulties – EBD, SEBD, SEMH

Children and young people with behaviour difficulties tend to show emotional or behaviour responses which are different from that generally accepted. 

If a child or young person is demonstrating behavioural difficulties they may be said to have Emotional Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) or Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD). In England this has also been classified as Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH)

Children and young people with behavioural difficulties often present with disruptive behaviour anti-social behaviour, aggression and difficulties maintaining relationships 

In our experience, children and young people with behavioural difficulties require specially designed environments. They will often need smaller groups with familiar peers, where extra support can be offered. Structure and routine can also be crucial.

As with many special educational needs, the level of support necessary for behavioural difficulties can vary significantly. In almost all cases, children and young people with behaviour difficulties require special educational provision. Often, it is appropriate to seek the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.sebda.org/sebd/

Brain Injury

A child or young person may suffer a brain injury during birth or may acquire a brain injury following an accident, personal injury, medical mistreatment, stroke or any number of other reasons.

A brain injury can have significant and varied impact on a child or young person. The nature of the injury, the swiftness of treatment and the age of the child or young person at the point of suffering the brain injury are all very important factors.

Brain injuries can result in:

  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Social difficulties
  • Learning difficulties
  • Sensory processing difficulties
  • Motor skill difficulties
  • Attention and concentration difficulties

As the brain is responsible for controlling all functions, almost every aspect of a child’s life can be affected as a result of brain injury.

Following a brain injury, it is very important to understand the impact of the injury and the prognosis. This will enable those supporting the child and young person to plan supporting the short, medium and long term.

Whenever we have helped a child or young person who has suffered a brain injury, they have special educational needs. The support that they need in school amounts to special educational provision. This can require a variety of specialist therapy, equipment, specialist teaching staff and strategies. It is important that all of this support is properly implemented, monitored and reviewed.

Special educational provision at school level may be adequate for a child or young person with brain injury. However, in our experience, children or young people with brain injuries often require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of a brain injury is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://childbraininjurytrust.org.uk/

http://www.braininjuryhub.co.uk/

https://www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/brain-injury-rehabilitation-services

Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder which is caused by mental health difficulties. People of any age can struggle with Bulimia.

Bulimia is different from Anorexia. Typically, a person with Bulimia will restrict the amount of food they eat, then binge eat and purge by vomiting or misusing medication.

Children and young people with Bulimia can require special educational provision to help them learn how to manage their mental health condition, maintain a healthy body weight and to manage the impact of Bulimia in the interim period.

As Bulimia can have a significant impact on a child or young person’s ability to access education. It is important that they receive the necessary support in school. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Bulimia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/e/eating-disorders

Cancer

The Equality Act 2010 specifically provides that cancer is a disability.

This means that a child or young person with cancer should also be treated as a disabled person.

If a child or young person, as a result of having cancer, is having difficulties accessing learning, or requires additional support to keep up with work, then they may require special educational provision. That means that they also have special educational needs.

Naturally, parents of children and young people with cancer will want to focus on ensuring that their child is able to get healthy or, if that is not possible, is supported in the best way possible. Deciding whether to seek additional educational support must be for the family to discuss. In our experience, this also involves close liaison with medical professionals about prognosis and treatment plans.

The level of support that a child or young person with cancer needs can vary dramatically. In some cases, it is necessary to seek a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk/childhood-cancer

http://www.cclg.org.uk/childhood-cancer

Cerebral atrophy

Cerebral atrophy is a medical condition which results in a deterioration in the brain. It affects the area of the brain responsible for movement, muscle control, posture, balance and motor skills.

The support that a child or young person may require is likely to be from therapists, such as speech and language, occupational and/or physiotherapists. The type of support and therapy that a person may need entirely depends on the nature and extent of the atrophy.

In our experience, there is often confusion that therapy is a health provision rather than an education provision. Often, local authorities can apply blanket policies that forms of therapy are not “education”. This is wrong in law as determining what is “education” is subjective to the person’s needs.

If your child or young person is struggling with cerebral atrophy, they may well need the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan. It can often be useful to seek specialist legal advice in order to secure the support that is required.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ion/library/patient-info/a-z/c-d/cerebral-atrophy

Cerebral palsy

There are several forms of Cerebral Palsy .The common feature is that Cerebral Palsy is a malformation of the brain which occurs either naturally, or as a result of illness or injury. Cerebral Palsy occurs during the development of the brain and, therefore, occurs in childhood or at birth.

As it is a developmental disorder, the symptoms of cerebral palsy are typically seen within the first three years of a child’s life. The key symptoms are:

  • muscle stiffness or floppiness (hypotonia)
  • muscle weakness
  • random and uncontrolled body movements
  • balance and co-ordination problems
  • communication difficulties

The impact of cerebral palsy varies greatly. Some people may have mild difficulties whereas others are very severely disabled. Many people with cerebral palsy also have a number of associated problems, including:

  • repeated fits or seizures
  • drooling problems and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)

There are three different types of Cerebral Palsy

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy is typically marked out by increased muscle tone which can cause stiffness and make it difficult for a person to move their limbs, or body generally.
  • Dystonic / Athetoid / Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy a person with form of cerebral palsy has difficulty controlling and / or coordinating their movements. It also causes a person to have difficulties maintain postural control. This is often as a result of varied muscle tone.
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy is where the specific area of the brain responsible for balance and coordination does not develop properly. It can also cause difficulties with perception of distance.

A person may have one form of cerebral palsy, or a combination of each form of cerebral palsy.

A child or young person affected by cerebral palsy is very likely to have special educational needs. That is because it amounts to a disability that requires special educational provision. A pupil with any form of cerebral palsy is likely to require therapeutic support, specialist adaptive equipment and / or additional specialist teaching support.

It is very important to secure an assessment as soon as possible. This is likely via either a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment.

In our experience, children and young people with cerebral palsy will require a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan. If you are facing difficulties securing this level of support, or the Statement or EHCP does not provide for adequate support, you should consider seeking specialist legal advice.

Our team has substantial experience supporting children and young people who have suffered cerebral palsy as a result of negligent medical treatment at birth.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cerebral-palsy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.scope.org.uk/

http://www.brainandspine.org.uk/

Conduct disorder

Conduct disorder is a board term covering a range of difficulties which cause a person to struggle with accepting authority, comply with instructions or directions and/or follow socially acceptable behaviour.

It is often very difficult to identify if a child or young person has conduct disorder and, in our experience, they are often labelled as “naughty”. The distinction is that a person with a conduct disorder has an underlying inability to comply, rather than making the choice to refuse to comply.

Typically, support for a conduct disorder can include the use of therapists, such as speech and language therapists and cognitive behavioural therapy. This is a special educational provision and it can be necessary to secure it through a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

As it can be difficult to secure additional support for conduct disorder, because of the misunderstanding of the difficulties, it can be useful to seek special educational needs legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information-0/search-medical-conditions/conduct-disorders

https://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/CG158

http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information/clinical-specialties/child-and-adolescent-mental-health-services-camhs

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder which can affect the respiratory, digestive and reproductive organs. One of the most common features of cystic fibrosis is that it can cause the respiratory or digestive system to become blocked.

As cystic fibrosis can cause difficulties with the digestive system, children and young people can often struggle to maintain their weight. This difficulty with absorbing adequate nutrition can cause significant difficulties with being able to concentrate and fully engage with learning.

Cystic fibrosis is a disability, but the level of special educational provision required can vary. It may be that it is necessary to secure additional support through a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Heath and Care Plan.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of cystic fibrosis is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

It is often helpful to take special educational needs legal advice to establish whether the legal test for a Statement or EHCP is met.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/

http://www.geneticalliance.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cystic-fibrosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Developmental delay

If a child or young person is making no progress, or is making progress at a rate far slower than their peers, they may have developmental delay.

Developmental delay may affect many areas:

Cognitive – which affects a person’s ability to learn

Speech and language – the ability to use and understand language and all forms of communication.

Social and emotional – which affects a person’s ability to learn social skills, develop social skills, interaction and/or communication and can cause difficulties with self-control and behaviour

Fine motor skills – control of fingers and use of small objects such as cutlery, pens etc.

Gross motor skills – control of large muscles resulting in the ability to walk, sit etc.

A person may be affected by one, or several areas of developmental delay. If a person struggles with all areas listed above, they are likely to have general developmental delay.

Developmental delay can vary significantly. It can range from relatively mild to severe which can result in significant disabilities.

Typically, if a child or young person reaches the diagnostic threshold for developmental delay, they have a special educational need which requires special educational provision. The nature of the special educational provision can vary depending on the nature of the special educational needs. In our experience, a child or young person with this area of need often requires the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are seeking support for a child or young person with developmental delay, it can be helpful to seek advice on special educational needs law.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenwithalearningdisability/Pages/Copingwithdiagnosis.aspx

Down syndrome

Down syndrome – also referred to as Down’s syndrome or Trisomy 21 – is a genetic condition which occurs as a result of having an additional chromosome.

The impact of Down’s syndrome is that a person can display characteristic physical features and has learning difficulties to some extent. Learning difficulties are always associated with Down Syndrome, but the extent of those learning difficulties can vary significantly.

Down syndrome is often linked with other medical difficulties such as hearing and visual impairments, heart difficulties and thyroid disorders. Down syndrome is also associated with developmental delay.

Children and young people with Down syndrome can require a range of special educational provision which can include support from speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, specialist teaching support and help with developing social skills.

It is important to understand the extent and nature of a child or young person’s learning difficulties and whether any other developmental delay is present. That will then ensure that the appropriate special educational provision is delivered.  This means that a statutory assessment or EHC needs assessment is often necessary and, in our experience, it is commonly appropriate for a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan to be issued.

If you are trying to secure a statutory assessment, Statement or EHCP, or are worried about the amount of support that your child with Down syndrome is receiving, you should consider seeking special educational needs legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/

http://www.cafamily.org.uk/medical-information/conditions/d/down-syndrome/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Downs-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Duane Syndrome

Duane syndrome is a rare eye movement disorder. Typically, children with Duane syndrome receive diagnosis by the age of 10.

Duane syndrome affects the muscles that control how the eye moves. In all cases, a person with Duane syndrome will have little, or no, ability to look outwards (toward their ears) and often have limited ability to look inwards (towards their nose).

Surgery can be an option for Duane syndrome, but often this is not possible.

Children and young people with Duane syndrome can require therapeutic support along with differentiated equipment and provision to support their needs. The level of special educational provision that a child or young person with Duane syndrome can require varies considerably.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of Duane syndrome is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If your child or young person is not receiving adequate support in school, including additional support and equipment, seeking special educational needs legal advice can be useful.

Further useful information is available here:

http://www.eyesite.nhs.uk/TeenSight/EyeInfo/Conditions/DuaneSyndrome

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/duane-syndrome/

Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty which causes a child or young person to have difficulties developing mathematical skills and understanding.

The effect of Dyscalculia can vary significantly, meaning that special educational provision needs to be planned carefully. It is very common for Dyscalculia to link with Dyslexia . It is rare for Dyscalculia to exist in isolation.

Common symptoms of dyscalculia are:

1. Delay in counting.

2. Delay in using counting strategies for addition

3. Difficulties in memorising arithmetic facts and rules

As the effect of Dyscalculia can vary significantly, the nature of the necessary special educational provision can vary. In some situations, school-based special educational needs support may be adequate. In others, a child or young person will need a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

Given the varying effect of Dyscalculia, it is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of anorexia is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment.

If your child or young person has Dyscalculia, and you are not sure about what support they need, or are entitled to, it can be helpful to obtain specialist education legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexic/dyscalculia

http://www.dyscalculia.org/

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a specific learning difficulty with the acquisition, and recollection, of the ability to write letters and numbers. It affects the ability to learn the sequence of fine motor skills required to able to write.

Dysgraphia can also cause a person to have difficulties with the ordering or sequencing of words and numbers. This can mean that words, letters and numbers are written out of order, or backwards.

Dysgraphia has close links with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. Like Dyslexia and Dyscalculia, the impact of Dysgraphia can vary significantly, meaning that it is necessary to properly assess the need and establish what special educational provision is necessary.

Because the impact of Dysgraphia can vary, the level of necessary support also varies. In many cases, school based special educational needs support may be sufficient. In others, a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan is called for. To be able to establish which level of intervention is needed, expert advice can be useful.

If your child or young person has Dysgraphia, and you are not sure about what support they need, or are entitled to, it can be helpful to obtain specialist education legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://dysgraphia.org.uk/

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which can make it difficult to understand words and language. It has very strong links with Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia and ADHD.

Common features of Dyslexia are:

  • Confusing letters like b and d, either in reading or writing
  • Missing letters out when trying to spell a word
  • Reading very slowly and hesitantly and lacking fluency.
  • Leaving out whole sections of text when reading, or re-reading the same section.
  • Putting letters and figures the wrong way round;
  • Poor organisation skills and time management skills;
  • Poor memory and concentration

The impact of Dyslexia can vary significantly, meaning that it is important to properly assess the need and establish what special educational provision is necessary.

Because the impact of Dyslexia can vary, the level of intervention also varies. In many cases, school based special educational needs support may be sufficient. In others, a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan is called for. To be able to establish which level of intervention is needed, expert advice can be useful as is specialist education law advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Dyslexia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder which causes difficulties with the learning and acquisition of physical skills. It affects the organisation of fine and gross movements.

Dyspraxia typically cause difficulties with motor planning and coordination. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulties with hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking a ball
  • Difficulties in walking up and down stairs writing, drawing and using scissors
  • Handwriting and drawings may appear scribbled and more childish than other children
  • Difficulties getting dressed, doing up buttons and tying shoelaces

Dyspraxia is thought to have strong links with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia and Autism.

Support for Dyspraxia can include therapeutic support from occupational therapy and may include adaptive environments, equipment and specialist teaching.

As the effect of Dyspraxia can vary significantly, the nature of the necessary special educational provision can vary. In some situations, school-based special educational needs support may be adequate. In others, a child or young person will need a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

If your child or young person has Dyspraxia, and you are not sure about what support they need, or are entitled to, it can be helpful to obtain specialist education legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/

https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/special-educational-needs/dyspraxia/dyspraxia-aids

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Dyspraxia-(childhood)/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

Echolalia

Echolalia is a condition which causes a person to repeat the words, or whole phrases, spoken by another person. Echolalia has strong links with Autism. The majority of people with Autism demonstrate some form of Echolalia.

It is common for most children to use Echolalia whilst developing their language skills. However, it occurs more frequently, and for far longer, in children with Autism as they struggle it develop spontaneous language skills.

There are two forms of Echolalia:

  1. Immediate Echolalia -  the repetition of words and phrases immediately, or shortly after, they were originally spoken
  2. Delayed Echolalia is the repetition of words or phrases that are echoed much later than originally spoken. This can be anything from hours to weeks later.

For obvious reasons, it can be far easier to recognise immediate echolalia than delayed echolalia.

Echolalia is indicative of delayed language skills and may also be suggestive of other underlying difficulties such as Autism. As such, if Echolalia is identified, it is very important to investigate the root cause. This can often be through a statutory assessment or EHC needs assessment.

Children and young people with Echolalia are likely to require special educational provision to cater for the difficulty itself, and the underlying difficulty. This may well be through the additional provision of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If your child or young person is demonstrating Echolalia, and you are struggling to secure support or assessment of their needs, you should consider seeking specialist education law advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.autism-help.org/communication-echolalia-autism.htm

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition in the brain which causes a person to suffer seizures of varying degrees. It can occur naturally, or as a result of suffering a brain injury, person injury or negligent medical treatment at birth.

During an epileptic fit, the internal messages within the brain are not being relayed properly. This means that each seizure can be different and each person with Epilepsy experiences the condition in a different way.

Epilepsy is typically managed by medication but it can require support in school that amounts to special educational provision. This is particularly the case if the frequency of seizures has an impact on the child or young person’s health or otherwise on their ability to engage in learning.

If Epilepsy is causing difficulties accessing learning, then additional support must be provided. This can be school-based, but if substantive external support and additional teaching time is required, then a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan may be required.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of Epilepsy is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child or young person needs extra support in school as a result of Epilepsy, it can be useful to seek special educational needs legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/

https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/what-epilepsy

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Epilepsy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Fragile X syndrome

Fragile X is caused due to a genetic mutation. It results in cognitive impairments and, most commonly, learning difficulties. The severity of those difficulties can range from moderate to severe.

Typically, Fragile X causes difficulties in all areas of life. This means that children and young people with Fragile X will require special educational provision to learn and develop skills in all areas. This can include specialist tuition in areas such as independent living, social skills and community engagement.

Males with Fragile X tend to have far more complex needs than females. However, in all cases, a child or young person with Fragile X should be considered to have special educational needs, so it is important to establish the necessary special educational provision as soon as possible. This will be through a statutory assessment, or EHC needs assessment. This may well then result in the preparation of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If your child or young person has Fragile X, and you are struggling to secure additional support for them, or are unhappy with what support they are receiving, you should consider taking legal advice on special educational needs. 

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.fragilex.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/02February/Pages/Fragile-X-syndrome-studied.aspx

Global developmental delay

The development of children and young people is tracked in five areas. Is a child or young person fails to make two or more milestones in all of these areas, a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay may be appropriate.

The five areas of development are:

Cognitive – which affects a person’s ability to learn

Speech and language – the ability to use and understand language and all forms of communication.

Social and emotional – which affects a person’s ability to learn social skills, develop social skills, interaction and/or communication and can cause difficulties with self-control and behaviour

Fine motor skills – control of fingers and use of small objects such as cutlery, pens etc.

Gross motor skills – control of large muscles resulting in the ability to walk, sit etc.

A child or young person with global developmental delay will most likely be considered to have special educational needs and should qualify for special educational provision. The nature of that provision will depend on the extent each of the areas of development are affected. However, it is likely that a child or young person will require specialist teaching, adaptive equipment, small classes, therapeutic input and /or individual tuition.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of your child or young person’s global developmental delay is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If your child or young person has Global Developmental Delay, and you are struggling to secure additional support for them, or are unhappy with what support they are receiving, you should consider taking legal advice on special educational needs. 

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.cafamily.org.uk/medical-information/conditions/g/global-developmental-delay/

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenwithalearningdisability/Pages/Copingwithdiagnosis.aspx

Glue Ear

Glue ear is an inflammation of the middle ear resulting in a build up of fluid. Glue ear is common amongst children. The cause of glue ear is unknown, however, a build up of ear wax and water in the ear are known not to causes of Glue Ear.

The main symptom of Glue Ear is loss of hearing. This can vary in severity.

Other symptoms can be

  • Clumsiness as problems with balance.
  • Problems with speech and language.
  • Difficulty interacting socially.

Glue Ear can result in hearing impairment and, as such, can result in special educational needs requiring special educational provision. The level of intervention can depend on the level of difficulty caused.

If you think that your child needs additional support, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some useful further information can be found here:

https://www.sense.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Glue-ear/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Hearing impairment

A hearing impairment is caused by the way that sound is carried from the ear into the brain. It results from a deterioration in the signal reaching the brain, rather than how the brain interprets that signal. As such, it is distinct from auditory processing disorder.

A hearing impairment can have significant varied impact on a child or young person’s ability to access learning. In some cases, minimal support or special educational provision is required. In other situations, where the hearing impairment is significant, the child or young person can require substantive special educational provision including specialist teaching and adapted equipment and environments.

It is important to understand the nature of a child or young person’s hearing impairment in order to ensure that they are receiving adequate special educational provision. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. This may require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Need or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.sense.org.uk/

https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/supporting-you.aspx

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/03/hearing-loss/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hearing-impairment/Pages/Introduction.aspx

High-functioning autism

High Functioning Autism is an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), also referred to as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As such, it can cause difficulties with:

  • Flexibility of thinking
  • Social communication
  • Social interaction

ASC / ASD is a developmental difficulty which causes people to lack interest in others, not develop social communication and interaction skills and can result in a child or young person become isolated.

High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are often confused. That is because a key requirement for Asperger’s is the lack of a cognitive difficulty. Clearly, a young person who is ‘high functioning’ will also not have a cognitive difficulty.

Securing support for children and young people with High Functioning Autism can be problematic. Often, because children and young people with High Functioning Autism, are capable of making academic progress, schools and local authorities do not consider that they qualify for special educational provision. This is not correct.

Children and young people with High Functioning Autism still have difficulties with flexibility of thinking social communication and social interaction. As such, special educational provision will be necessary. The nature of that provision can vary. It can be sufficient to provide school based special educational needs support, however, often a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan is necessary because of the specialist nature of support required.

Given that the necessary special educational provision can vary, it is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of your child or young person’s special educational needs is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Autistic-spectrum-disorder/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.autism.org.uk/

https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a condition which results in a build up of fluid on the brain. The fluid puts pressure on the brain which can be extremely dangerous.

This condition can occur at any age and often occurs in people suffering from  Spina Bifida .

There are two types of hydrocephalus; acquired hydrocephalus, which occurs after birth, or congenital hydrocephalus which is present at birth.

It is unlikely that hydrocephalus, in itself is a special educational need. However, because the fluid puts pressure on the brain it can cause significant difficulties. If that happens, it can cause the development of special educational needs requiring special educational provision. As such, it is very important to monitor the impact of the fluid to establish whether it is affecting the child or young person’s ability to access learning.

It is important to understand that nature of a child or young person’s hearing impairment in order to ensure that they are receiving adequate special educational provision. It may be necessary to secure a statutory assessment or EHC needs assessment in order to obtain a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors  will be happy to help.

Further useful information is available here:

https://www.shinecharity.org.uk/

https://www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/types-of-brain-injury/hydrocephalus/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hydrocephalus/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Learning difficulties

Learning difficulties can be extremely varied. A child or young person can have learning difficulties which affect all areas of education and may be as a result of an underlying condition.

A child or young person with learning difficulties can present with the following difficulties:

  • learning new skills
  • learning social skills
  • communication
  • poor memory
  • poor attention span

Learning difficulties can be mild, moderate or severe. It is important to understand the nature of a child or young person’s learning difficulties in order to ensure that they are receiving adequate special educational provision.

Given that the necessary special educational provision can vary, it is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of your child or young person’s learning difficulties is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. It may then be appropriate to seek additional support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.mencap.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenwithalearningdisability/Pages/Whatislearningdisability.aspx

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/parentsandyouthinfo/parentscarers/generallearningdisability.aspx

Motor skills difficulties

Motor skill difficulties can relate to either fine motor skills or gross motor skills.

  • Fine motor skills manage the ability to control small muscles. Skills that are affected can be the ability to use a pen or cutlery.
  • Gross motor skills relate to control of large muscles. This affects the larger movements such as walking as well as maintaining postural control when sitting and standing. 

A child or young person with fine or gross motor skill difficulties may require therapeutic support from occupational therapists and/or physiotherapists. It is possible that they will also require specialist equipment, adapted learning environments, specialist teaching and differentiated curriculums.

It is important that a child or young person’s motor skills difficulties are identified as early as possible. This can require an assessment of special educational needs through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment.

For some children and young people with motor skill difficulties, school based special educational needs support may be adequate. In other situations, a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan may be necessary.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

https://www.swft.nhs.uk/our-services/children-and-young-peoples-services/occupational-therapy/fine-motor-skills-information-schools

http://www.babycenter.com/404_whats-the-difference-between-fine-and-gross-motor-skills_6562.bc

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/special-ed-physical-disabilities/13498-does-your-child-have-problems-with-gross-motor-skills/

Multi-sensory impairment

Multi-sensory impairment (MSI) affects both hearing and sight. It is typically a combination of both hearing impairment and visual impairment.

The impact of multi-sensory impairment can vary significantly. In some cases, hearing is more impaired that vision or vice versa. In others, multi-sensory impairment can cause the child or young person to have little, or no, functional vision or hearing.

Because multi-sensory impairment can have such a varied impact, the nature of the resulting special educational needs and necessary special educational provision can vary. In our experience, only the minority of children and young people with multi-sensory impairment can be adequately supported with school-based intervention.

Typically, it will be necessary to secure a statutory assessment or EHC needs assessment in order to obtain a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned about the level of special educational needs support your child or young person is receiving, or are having difficulties securing a Statement of Special Educational Needs of EHCP, our special educational needs solicitors are here to help.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.sense.org.uk/content/multi-sensory-impairment-and-down-syndrome

https://www.seeability.org/

Moderate learning difficulties

Moderate learning difficulties can affect all areas of learning and may be as a result of an underlying condition, brain condition or brain injury.

A child or young person with moderate learning difficulties can present with the following difficulties:

  • learning new skills
  • learning social skills
  • communication
  • poor memory
  • poor attention span

Given that the necessary special educational provision can vary, it is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of your child or young person’s learning difficulties is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. It may then be appropriate to seek additional support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.mencap.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenwithalearningdisability/Pages/Whatislearningdisability.aspx

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/parentsandyouthinfo/parentscarers/generallearningdisability.aspx

Muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy weakens muscles, making it difficult for a person to contract their muscles. This can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to complete typical day to day activities and, therefore, is a disability.

Muscular dystrophy is a degenerative condition, meaning that the severity of the impact will increase. Difficulties caused by muscular dystrophy can be:

  • Problems with swallowing and breathing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Falling over
  • Difficulty standing

As muscular dystrophy can have a significant physical impact on a child or young person, it affects their ability to engage effectively with education. Often, specialist equipment, teacher and differentiation of the curriculum can be required.

As the impact of muscular dystrophy can change throughout a pupil’s academic career, it is important to ensure that their special educational needs are monitored. This will ensure that the special educational provision can be monitored and reviewed as needed.

In our experience, children and young people with muscular dystrophy tend to require a statutory assessment or EHC needs assessment and the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/muscular-dystrophy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental health condition which is often linked to anxiety.

A person with obsessive compulsive disorder struggles with obsessive thoughts about a particular issue. This then leads to the person having to follow a pattern of behaviours in order to relieve the anxiety associated with the thoughts.

The impact of obsessive compulsive disorder can vary significantly. It can be extremely disruptive to a child or young person’s ability to access learning and engage with education. That is because the obsessive thought, and associated anxiety, can be highly distracting. The compulsive behaviour can also interrupt a child or young person’s learning.

It is very important to assess the impact of obsessive compulsive disorder on a child or young person’s ability to engage with education. This can often be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment.

The form of special educational provision required by obsessive compulsive disorder can vary according to the child or young person. Often, counselling and/or cognitive behavioural therapy can be appropriate. This can often require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.ocduk.org/ocd

http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Obsessive-compulsive-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.anxietycare.org.uk/docs/ocd.asp

Oppositional defiant disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder is a psychiatric condition which affects a person’s behaviour. It is a form of conduct disorder.

Typically a child or young person with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) will display aggressiveness and a tendency to deliberately seek to irritate others.

A child or young person with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can present with persistent disobedience, particular in terms of opposing authority figures, such as teachers. Typically though, a child or young person with Oppositional Defiant Disorder will respect basic social rules and behaviours. 

For a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, a child or young person must display defiant behaviour for at least six months. The behaviour must feature at least five of the following:

  • Frequent loss of temper
  • Frequently arguing with adults and/ or actively defying rules and requests from authority figures.
  • Deliberately seeking to irritate others
  • Blaming others
  • Being overly sensitive
  • Heightened anger or resentment towards others
  • Spiteful or vindictive conduct
  • Swearing frequently

It is important to secure special educational needs support for a child or young person with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. A child or young person with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can present with challenging behaviour that will often conflict with school’s behaviour policy. This can expose them to being at very high risk of exclusion . As such, it is important to ensure that the nature of the special educational needs are identified as early as possible.

Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. It may be appropriate to seek a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.cafamily.org.uk/medical-information/conditions/c/conduct-disorder-and-oppositional-defiant-disorder/

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/03March/Pages/New-guidelines-on-child-antisocial-behaviour.aspx

http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/crdweb/ShowRecord.asp?LinkFrom=OAI&ID=12006006118

Pathological demand avoidance

Pathological demand avoidance is a  developmental disorder  related to autism .

Pathological demand avoidance is increasingly controversial, with a number of local health groups refusing to recognise it as a condition in its own right. This is causing children and young people difficulties in securing adequate special educational provision.

Children and young people with pathological demand avoidance (PDA) can come across as being manipulative and appear to have good social skills. Pathological demand avoidance can be linked with anxiety. Children and young people with PDA seek social control in order to avoid demands being placed on them. As such, their controlling behaviour is a result of anxiety related with demands being placed on them.

A person with pathological demand avoidance does not display typical signs of autism, such as avoidance eye contact.  

Children and young people often display the following behaviours:

  • Distracting others to prevent demands being placed on them
  • Coming up with excuses for not complying with a demand
  • Creating fictional reasons for not being able to comply with a demand
  • Using noises to ‘drown out’ the demand
  • Lashing out in response to a demand

Behaviours used to deflect from demand can conflict with school behaviour policy. This can mean that the child or young person becomes at risk of exclusion . It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment, through a statutory assessment, or EHC needs assessment is undertaken. It may also be necessary to secure a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/

http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/pda.aspx

http://www.cafamily.org.uk/medical-information/conditions/p/pathological-demand-avoidance-syndrome/

Pervasive developmental disorder

Pervasive Developmental Disorder is a condition which causes a person to have underdeveloped social skills and difficulties understanding and using language. It can also often be referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).  It can also mean that a person can become obsessed with particular activities and may be resistant to change.

Pervasive developmental disorder is usually treated as a special educational need because of the special educational provision that it calls for.

Pervasive developmental disorder can include other conditions such as Autism  and Asperger’s Syndrome . A person with severe pervasive developmental disorder will typically be considered to have Autism / ASD/ ASC. If a person has mild pervasive developmental disorder, they are likely to be considered to have Asperger’s Syndrome. 

It is important to ensure that the nature of special educational needs is identified as early as possible. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. It may be appropriate to seek a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving sufficient special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://asdclinic.co.uk/conditions/pervasive-developmental-disorder/index.php

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/pdd-nos

Prader-Willi syndrome

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which causes weak muscle tone, incomplete sexual development, short stature, learning difficulties, behavioural problems and constant hunger.

Prader-Willi syndrome requires carefully planned management and special educational provision because of the complex mixture of needs that present.

A child or young person with Prader-Willi syndrome has special educational needs. They will require special educational provision which caters for the child of young person’s learning difficulties and accommodates the muscle tone. This can require the use of specialist teaching, equipment, adapted environments and differentiated curriculum.

As Prader-Willi can cause a person or young person to have difficulties in all areas, including self-help and independent living, substantial special educational provision is required to develop these area. As such, it is important that a statutory assessment, or EHC needs assessment, of the child or young person’s special educational needs is undertake as early as possible.

It is likely that a child or young person with Prada-Willi will require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This will ensure that the special educational provision is kept under review and specialist support and intervention can be secured.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs have not been fully identified, it can be useful to seek special educational needs legal advice.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.pwsa.co.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prader-willi-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD)

Profound and multiple learning difficulties is an umbrella term. It is used for a person who has a complex array of significant difficulties. All children and young people with profound and multiple learning disability should be recognised as having special educational needs.

As PMLD is an umbrella term, there is no one definition for the condition.

It is important to ensure that the nature of the special educational needs is identified as early as possible. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education.

In our experience, every child or young person with PMLD requires the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are struggling to secure support, or are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving appropriate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure advice about special educational needs law.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.pmldlink.org.uk/

http://disabilitylearning.co.uk/about-us/

https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/pmld

Rett Syndrome

Rett syndrome is a genetic disorder which affects girls. It affects the way that genes function which can cause a person’s development to slow, or regress. It results in severe mental and physical disabilities.

Your child may benefit from some of the following treatments and aids:

  • speech and language therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • occupational therapy
  • specialist teaching
  • adapted learning environment
  • specialist equipment
  • therapeutic horse riding
  • hydrotherapy
  • music therapy

Because of the profound and severe mental and physical disabilities that result from Rett syndrome, all children and young people with Rett syndrome should be recognised as having special educational needs. Substantive special educational provision is necessary in every case.

In our experience, every child or young person with Rett Syndrome requires the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are struggling to secure support, or are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure specialist advice on education law and special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.rettuk.org/

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Rett-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx#Management

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/all-disorders

Semantic pragmatic disorder

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder is a speech and language difficulty that causes complex communication problems. 

The semantic element of the disorder causes children and young people to have difficulties with understanding the meaning of sentences and words. Pragmatic difficulties cause a child or young person to have difficulties with social language. 

Semantic pragmatic disorder can result in:

  • Delayed language development
  • Difficulties understand abstract concepts
  • Inattentiveness and distractibility
  • Echolalia
  • Difficulties taking turns in conversations
  • Inability to follow changes of topic
  • Difficulties understanding implications

It is important to ensure that the extent of your child or young person’s special educational needs is identified as early as possible. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. It may be appropriate to seek a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://senmagazine.co.uk/articles/articles/senarticles/semantic-pragmatic-disorder-the-reality-behind-the-label  

http://spdsupport.org.uk/

Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing disorder is a condition which affects the way that the brain receives and interprets sensory information. It has also been referred to as Sensory integration disorder (SID)

A child with sensory processing disorder will struggle with responding to sensory stimulation. It can affect sight, touch and/or movement.

Sensory processing disorder can affect each child or young person differently. Typically, specialist provision is required meaning that a child or young person with sensory processing disorder is likely to be considered to have special educational needs.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the impact of sensory processing disorder is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education.

It may well be appropriate for a child or young person with sensory processing disorder to receive the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

Support for sensory processing disorder is likely to include occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, physiotherapy, specialist teaching and equipment and adapted learning environments.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure advice about special educational needs law.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.sensoryintegration.org.uk/

Severe learning difficulties

A child or young person with severe learning difficulties can present with significant difficulties related to:

  • learning new skills
  • learning social skills
  • communication
  • poor memory
  • poor attention span

A child or young person with severe learning difficulties will require special educational provision and should be recognised as having special educational needs.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the child or young person’s learning difficulties is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education.

It may well be appropriate for a child or young person with severe learning difficulties to be receive the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

Support for severe learning difficulties is likely to include over-learning, help with acquiring new skills and generalising learning, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, specialist teaching and equipment and adapted learning environments.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.mencap.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenwithalearningdisability/Pages/Whatislearningdisability.aspx

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/parentsandyouthinfo/parentscarers/generallearningdisability.aspx

Smith-Magenis syndrome

Smith-Magenis syndrome is a genetic disorder which causes learning difficulties, behavioural difficulties and can result in distinctive physical features.

Children and young people with Smith-Magenis syndrome tend to have weak muscle tone and significantly disrupted sleep.  Whilst children and young people with Smith-Magenis can present with challenging, opposition and self-injurious behaviours, they can also be extremely charming.

Smith-Magenis syndrome can cause significant difficulties accessing learning because of a combination of the learning difficulties and the disruptive effects of poor sleep and negative behaviours.

Special educational provision for children and young people with Smith-Magenis syndrome tends to include behaviour support programmes, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. The style and pace of education will also need to be varied according to their learning difficulty.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education.

In our experience, children and young people with Smith-Magenis syndrome tend to require the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor .

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.smith-magenis.co.uk/

http://www.cafamily.org.uk/medical-information/conditions/s/smith-magenis-syndrome/

Spina bifida

Spina bifida is a spinal deformity which occurs during the first month of development of pregnancy. Spina bifida commonly results in a gap in the spine. There are three forms of Spina bifidia which have a different effect to the spine and the spinal chord.

Spina bifida affects every person differently. Common difficulties are:

  • difficulties moving the lower limbs
  • Learning difficulties
  • Hydrocephalus 

Special educational provision for children and young people with Spina bifida tends to include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, specialist equipment and an adapted learning environment. It can also require specialist teaching to cater for the child or young person’s learning difficulties. 

It is important to establish what special educational provision is necessary as a result of a child or young person’s Spina bifida. It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. Often, it is necessary to secure support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Spina-bifida/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://bodyandhealth.canada.com/condition/getcondition/spina-bifida

https://www.shinecharity.org.uk/

Social skills difficulties

Social skills enable a person to understand social rules and to manage social interactions. There are two main forms of social skills.

Environmental Social Skills – these are particularly important for listening, understanding and complying with instructions.

Social Interaction Skills – these are important for starting and maintaining a conversation, complementing others and resolving conflict.

A child or young person with difficulties in social skills difficulties is likely to struggle with engaging with education and is likely to be isolated in school. This can expose the child or young person to heightened anxiety and / or depression.

Support for social skills difficulties is likely to amount to special educational provision as it will involve educating or training a child in skills which are typically developed without specific teaching. As such, it is likely that a child or young person with social skills difficulties should be treated as having special educational needs.

It is important to understand the extent of a child or young person’s social skill difficulty as early as possible. This may require a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. It may also be appropriate to seek the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.anxietybc.com/self-help/effective-communication-improving-your-social-skills

Sotos syndrome

Sotos syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which tends to result in significant physical growth at an early age. It is usually associated with prominent physical features.

Children and young people with Sotos syndrome can also have the following difficulties:

  • learning disabilities;
  • low muscle tone (hypotonia);
  • speech impairment; and
  • behavioural difficulties

Support for severe learning difficulties is likely to include over-learning, help with acquiring new skills and generalising learning, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, specialist teaching and equipment and adapted learning environments.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the child or young person’s learning difficulties is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education.

It may well be appropriate for a child or young person with Sotos syndrome to be receive the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.sotossyndrome.co.uk/

Syndrome Without A Name (SWAN)

Children and young people with complex physical disabilities and/or learning difficulties which cannot be fully understood, or identified, are often described as having a Syndrome Without A Name (SWAN).

The term SWAN covers all special educational needs and disabilities which cannot be categorised. As such, it covers a significant variety of difficulties. This means that the level and form of special educational provision that is required can vary significantly.

If a child or young person has SWAN, it is very important to seek a detailed assessment of their special educational needs as soon as possible. Often, because there is no clear description for a child or young person’s needs, they do not receive the special educational provision that they require.

It is important to ensure that a detailed assessment of the child or young person’s learning difficulties is undertaken as early as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education.

It may well be appropriate for a child or young person with SWAN to receive the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.undiagnosed.org.uk/

Tourette's syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome is a condition which affects the brain and central nervous system. It results in a person losing control over their movements and speech. The involuntary movements or vocalisations are generally referred to as ‘tics’.

The current support for Tourette’s syndrome tends to be cognitive behaviour therapy and, occasionally, speech and language therapy.

Teaching a child or young person how to manage their tics will amount to special educational provision. Therefore, Tourette’s syndrome is seen as being a special educational need.

It is important to identify what special educational provision a child or young person with Tourette’s syndrome needs as soon as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to remain in education. It may be necessary to secure support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.tourettes-action.org.uk/7-about-ts.html/  

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tourette-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Visual impairment

A visual impairment is caused by the way that light is carried from the eye into the brain. It results from a deterioration in the signal reaching the brain, rather than how the brain interprets that signal. As such, it is distinct from visual processing disorder.

A visual impairment can have significant varied impact on a child or young person’s ability to access learning. In some cases, minimal support or special educational provision is required. In other situations, where the hearing impairment is significant, the child or young person can require substantive special educational provision including specialist teaching and adapted equipment and environments.

It is important to understand that nature of a child or young person’s visual impairment in order to ensure that they are receiving adequate special educational provision.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their needs has been fully identified, it can be useful to secure legal advice about special educational needs.

Further useful information can be found here:

https://www.sense.org.uk/

https://www.seeability.org/

Visual processing disorder

Visual Processing Disorder (VPD) is a difficulty in the brain with processing and understanding visual input. It is different from a hearing impairment because the sound is carried to the brain properly, but the brain is not able to interpret it.

Children and young people with VPD may well require specialist equipment and adapted learning materials, small classroom settings, careful control of noise in a learning setting and, potentially, 1:1 sessions for learning. This can all be considered special educational provision and, as a result, VPD is typically a special educational need.

It is important to understand the extent of a child or young person’s social skill difficulty as early as possible. This may require a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. It may also be appropriate to seek the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor.

If you think that your child needs additional support for their special educational needs, our specialist solicitors will be happy to help.

Some further useful information can be found here:

https://www.sense.org.uk/

Worster-Drought syndrome

Worster-Drought syndrome is a rare form of  Cerebal Palsy . It causes problems with the mouth and tongue.

Worster-Dought syndrome can have a variety of symptoms which can include involuntary lip, tongue and palate movements.  The condition can also cause difficulties with coordination and can result in spasticity.

A child or young person with Worster-Dought syndrome typically has severe speech delay. This typically requires support from a speech and language therapist. Many children with Worster-Dought syndrome also have learning difficulties and/or emotional and behavioural difficulties.  

It is important to identify what special educational provision a child or young person with Worster-Drought syndrome needs as soon as possible. This can be through a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment. Special educational provision should then be delivered to ensure, so far as possible, that the child or young person is able to engage with, and benefit from, education. It may be necessary to secure support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan.

If you are concerned that your child or young person is not receiving adequate special educational provision, or that the extent of their special educational needs has not been fully identified, it can be useful to secure help from a special educational needs solicitor.

Further useful information can be found here:

http://www.cafamily.org.uk/medical-information/conditions/w/worster-drought-syndrome/

http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information-0/search-medical-conditions/worster-drought-syndrome

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