Seriously, ever since I started this journey with my children with ADHD I have come across so many acronyms. I’ll be honest. I would often just nod in some meetings because I was so overwhelmed by all the initials being thrown at me I thought WTF? And BRB (be right back!). Sometimes specialists and people working in a particular area forget that what is normal terminology for them is a “do what when?” to us parents.
So, I thought I would put together a Special Educational Needs glossary for parents to have at a glance. Please do send me more to add in as and when they are thrown at you!
A state-funded school which is directly financed by the Department of Education. They are self-governing and independent of control from the Local Authority
Review of the EHCP, completed within the 12 months of making the plan and then on an annual basis. An interim review will be held every six months for children in Early Years.
Attachment Disorder is a broad term which describes the consequences of failure to form normal attachments to parents or primary caregivers in early childhood.
The term is used for people who have difficulties with concentration like ADHD, but without hyperactivity or impulsiveness.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterised by problems with attention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and difficulties with regulating emotions.
Alternative Provision or setting that provides education for children when they cannot attend a mainstream school.
Auditory Processing Disorder is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information.
Autism Spectrum Disorder covers a range of neurodevelopmental disorders including Autism and Asperger’s. It is characterised by difficulties with social interaction, communication and restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests. The term Autism was changed to ASD in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental disorder characterised by the obsessive idea that a part of one’s body is severely flawed and requires exceptional measures to hide or fix it.
A record of health or social care services that are being provided to your child/ young person.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service is part of the NHS helping children and adolescents with social, emotional, and behavioural problems.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an intervention used to challenge or change unhelpful thoughts or beliefs and aid an individual’s personal coping strategies.
Conduct Disorder is a mental disorder which is diagnosed in childhood or teen years. Conduct disorders are repetitive and persistent patterns of behaviour, where the young person behaves in ways which go against social norms and that are not in line with normal behaviours for the age of the child.
Developmental Coordination Disorder, also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical coordination. It causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for their age and appear to move clumsily.
Department of Education
A delay in reaching the normal stages of development, e.g., sitting, walking, talking
Adapting teaching methods, considering that children progress at different rates, utilising a range of resources and learning styles tailored to a child or group
Disability Students Allowance. Most UK undergraduate or taught postgraduate students with a disability are eligible for this monetary allowance to help cover some of the extra costs that may be incurred due to their disability.
A legal document showing all the details of the education, health and social care support that is to be provided for your child/young person with SEN or disability by your Local Authority. It is for children, sometimes up to 25 years old, whose SEN needs, or disabilities impact their education.
Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. Designed to support the emotional needs of the student.
Small movements of the body e.g., holding a pencil, gripping, buttons, threading, picking something up
First Tier Tribunal
Responsible for handling appeals against the Local Authorities’ decision regarding a child’s Special Educational Needs.
Global Delay Development is an umbrella term for a general delay in acquiring normal developmental milestones
Gross Motor Skills
Whole body actions e.g., running, swimming, bike riding
Generalised Anxiety Disorder, is characterised by excessive, uncontrollable, often irrational worries about a thing or event and interferes with a person’s everyday life.
Difficulty in concentrating, sitting still for any length of time, restless, fidgety and can also have sleeping difficulties
The ability to move joints with an increased range of motion
Individual Education Plans are designed for children with SEN to help them in school, building on their curriculum to apply strategies to meet their specific needs.
Local Authority, responsible for providing education and EHCPs.
Looked After Children. This term typically denotes children cared for by Government, though exact definitions vary between the four nations. More than 93,000 children in the UK are in care, 70,000 in England. Most are taken into care over fears of abuse.
Learning Disability. Learning disabilities or learning disorders are umbrella terms for a wide variety of learning problems.
Local Education Authorities are local councils in England and Wales that are responsible for their area, district/county.
Educational abilities that are significantly lower than children of a similar age, e.g., reading, numeracy
LAs are required to publish a ‘local offer’. This is intended to provide info about provisions it expects to be available to children with SEN and disabilities, in their area both in and outside of school.
Learning Support Assistants, usually work with students who have special needs, or don’t speak English to help them cope with the classroom environment.
Schools in England that are maintained by the LA, including special schools
A unique language programme that uses symbols, signs, and speech to enable people to communicate, when they cannot communicate efficiently by speaking. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.
Mediation (for EHCP)
Mediation is run and facilitated by an independent third party. It enables you and the LA to discuss, in an informal and confidential setting, any aspects of the LA’s decision and/or the contents of an EHC plan, including the health and social care sections
Moderate Learning Difficulty children will have difficulty accessing the normal curriculum even with additional support. They have a general developmental delay which may present as immaturity and inability to mix with their peer group.
Changing the National Curriculum in some way to meet the child or young person’s individual needs.
A person with a mental or neurological function that differs from a neurotypical person.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental disorder where the individual feels the need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions) or has repeated thoughts or obsessions which impact their daily life negatively.
Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a disorder where children have disruptive and oppositional behaviour that is particularly directed towards authority figures, such as parents or teachers. ODD is less severe and more common than conduct disorder. Children with ODD are constantly defiant, hostile, and disobedient.
Office for Standards in Education. An inspection team that visits and inspects schools and Local Authorities
Occupation Therapists are health care professionals. They work with people of all ages and can look at all aspects of daily life in your home, school, or workplace. They look at activities you find difficult and see if there’s another way you can do them.
Pathological Demand Avoidance is a profile that describes those whose main characteristic is to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The diagnostic category of pervasive developmental disorders refers to a group of disorders characterised by delays in the development of socialisation and communication skills. Parents may note symptoms as early as infancy, although the typical age of onset is before three years of age.
A personal budget is an identified amount of funding that the Local Authority can give to a child/young person’s parent(s) to ensure a particular provision that is specified in the Education, Health and Care Plan is upheld.
Pupil Referral Unit is an alternative education provision, specifically organised to provide education for children who are not able to attend for several reasons. These include neurodiverse learning styles which make it challenging for the pupil to engage in mainstream school.
Pastoral Support Plan is designed to support any pupil for whom the normal. school-based strategies have not been effective. It is a structured, coordinated, 16-week school intervention designed to support pupils at risk of permanent exclusion.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Changes that a school and other settings are required by law to ensure a child with a disability is not discriminated against.
The ability to understand what is being said.
Speech and Language Therapists provide treatment, support and care for children, and adults, who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking, and swallowing. Speech and language therapists (SLTs) work with parents, carers, and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists, and doctors.
Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties, “Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn…., disruptive or disturbing behaviour.” (SEND code of practice).
Special Educational Needs or SEND Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Special education is the practice of educating students in a way that accommodates their individual differences, disabilities, and special needs.
The teacher responsible for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities within the school.
SEND information, advice and support services that offer impartial advice for Parents and Carers
School Focused Plan is for children without an EHCP in school, outlining what the school is doing to support that child.
Severe Learning Difficulties are significant and severe issues in learning across the whole curriculum and wider life skills.
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition that affects how your brain processes sensory information (stimuli). Sensory information includes things you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. SPD can affect all the senses, or just one
Specific Learning Difficulty. A specific learning difficulty means that someone has a difference or difficulty with one or more certain parts of learning.
A term used to refer to the ability to hold and use information in the brain over short periods of time. Information is not ‘stored’.
A young carer is someone aged 25 and under who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.
I really hope this SEN glossary helps. There are so many more initials and jargon words out there, so please do send me any to add. This is definitely a work in progress and we’re all here to help each other on this journey!
I have started a private support group on Facebook for parents and carers who need support with their child with ADHD. It’s a friendly place to chat with others. Please do click this link ADHDinchildren to join. And for anyone on Instagram, I’m there too ADHD Mum.