Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is a term used to describe learning difficulties or disabilities that makes it harder for a child or young person (0-25 years) to learn compared to children of the same age.

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

  • Behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • Reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • Ability to understand things
  • Concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • Physical ability.

More information

Contact the team to make a referral.

If you think your child may have special educational needs, contact the SEN co-ordinator, or ‘SENCO’ in your child’s school or nursery.

Contact your local council if your child is not in a school or nursery.

Your local Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service can give you advice about SEND.

Coming into hospital can be a worrying time for some people with SEND. But there is extra support you can get while you are in hospital.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 and the Children and Families 2014 gives guidance to health and social care, education and local authorities to make sure that children and young people with SEND are properly supported.

If you know you are going into hospital soon there are some things, you can do to help yourself feel ready. You can:

  • Talk through what might happen with family, friends, or a health professional
  • Read through any information the hospital or doctor has given you – you might need someone to help you with this
  • Have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) or hospital passport ready – this will help you tell the hospital staff what reasonable adjustments you need.
  • Make sure the hospital knows what reasonable adjustments you will need before you go there. In the first instance contact the clinic you will be attending or you can contact the Learning disability team at LearningDisabilityTeam@liverpoolft.nhs.uk.

The NHS has to make it as easy for disabled people to use health services as it is for people who are not disabled. This is called making reasonable adjustments.

Reasonable adjustments tell people who will look after you in hospital the support you need. We are all different, so it is important you talk about this.

Some examples of reasonable adjustments are having:

  • A carer stays in hospital overnight with you
  • Information in easy read or plain English
  • A longer appointment
  • Time to meet your learning disability nurse before you go into hospital
  • More time and support to make sure you understand what you need to at the hospital.

You or your carer can include in your hospital passport any help you need with eating or drinking, or how to tell if you are in pain.

The SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014 gives guidance to health and social care, education and local authorities to make sure that children and young people with SEND are properly supported.

If you or a child that you care for needs extra health and education support, an application can be made for an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) to your local council.

Schools in England must provide support to children with special educational needs (SEN) as part of their standard offer to children. This is called SEN support. Schools are deemed to have £6000 of national funding within their existing budgets to support children at the SEN Support level.

Where a child requires additional support that goes beyond what a school, college, or nursery can typically deliver from their own budgets or staffing then they may need an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

An EHC plan is a legally binding document outlining a child or teenager’s special educational, health, and social care needs. The document has to list all of the child’s special educational needs, provision to meet each of the needs and that provision has to be specific, detailed, and quantified. The plan names the school/setting which is to provide the provision and the plan is legally enforceable ultimately through Judicial Review. 

Section G of the EHCP looks specifically at the healthcare provision requirements, like equipment or medication. A child or young person may require monitoring software or a specialist wheelchair, for example.