Glossary

List of terms used throughout the site with definitions

Special Education Needs terms

These terms are used throughout the range of services

  • Academic Year

    The school year generally runs from 1st September to 30th June. 

  • Differentiation

    Differentiation is a teaching approach that tailors instruction to pupils’ different learning needs. 

  • Educational Psychologist

    Educational Psychologists are trained and qualified in understanding children’s emotional, social and learning development.  

  • Educational Setting

    This is usually the school which a child or young person attends. 

  • GDPR

    General Data Protection Regulation, a set of UK rules on data protection and privacy.

  • Learning Support Co-ordinator (LSC)

    This is the person who is responsible for coordinating special educational provision in the educational setting or school. Some schools use the term Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo).

  • Model of Continuum Support

    Support for your child/young person is needs-led, support varies depending on your child/young person’s needs at a given time. A child/young person may initially need intensive support, but as they progress through education general support for a child/young person and their educational setting/school is appropriate. 

  • Reasonable adjustments

    Reasonable adjustments are the reasonable steps that a school or setting should take in order to avoid putting disabled pupils and prospective disabled pupils at a substantial disadvantage compared to other pupils. 

  • Resources

    In educational terms, resources may be human (staff), time, budget (money), physical (books, teaching materials, workbooks, posters) and technology (computers/ computer programmes etc). 

  • Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)

    This is the person who is responsible for coordinating special educational provision in the educational setting or school. Some schools use the term Learning Support Co-ordinator (LSC).

  • Special Educational Provision

    Educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of the same age in ordinary schools. 

  • Statement of Special Educational Needs

    A statement of SEN is a statutory document which sets out a child’s needs and the support they should have.  It is reviewed every year to make sure that any extra support given meets the child’s needs.

  • Statutory Assessment

    A Statutory Assessment is a formal and detailed process to find out what a child’s special needs are, and what additional support they may need in an educational setting. 

Autism

Specific terms used in the Autism service.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong disability which affects how people communicate, learn, behave and socially interact. 

  • Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    A confirmed Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or a private diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ratified by a HSCT, usually as a letter issued to parents. 

Behaviour Support - Post Primary

  • Education Other Than at School (EOTAS) Placement

    EOTAS is a small group, specialist programme which pupils access off-site from their mainstream school. This support would normally be provided if a pupil has accessed in school Intensive Pupil Support with no clear evidence of progress. 

  • Partnership Provision

    Partnership placement is to provide targeted, intensive, purposeful and meaningful support to young people in Key Stage 3 who present with social, behavioural, emotional and wellbeing to enable them to remain in their mainstream school and to address their barriers to learning to support this inclusion. 

  • Social, Behavioural, Emotional and Wellbeing (SBEW) Needs

    SEN Category for the which the Service supports.

Down Syndrome

  • Cognition

    The mental action of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. 

  • Diagnosis of Down Syndrome (DS)

    A confirmed Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

  • Down Syndrome and associated SEN

    Is applied to children/young people with a medical diagnosis of DS who have greater difficulty than their peers understanding and learning basic numeracy and literacy skills.  They may also have speech and language difficulties and poor social skills, making it hard to focus and work independently.   

  • Literacy

    The ability to read and write. 

  • Numeracy

    The ability to understand and work with numbers applying simple numerical concepts.  

Educational Psychology

  • Assistant Educational Psychologist / Psychology Assistant

    Has a degree in psychology and works alongside an Educational Psychologist (EP) to support their work including observations, testing and consulting with educational setting staff.

  • Cognition and Learning

    Skills that children and young people will encounter at their school such as basic language, numeracy skills, memory and concentration skills, speech and language.

  • Critical Incidents

    A sudden, shocking or unexpected occurrence, that is outside of the range of ordinary human experience.  It usually involves a threat to life and physical or emotional loss. 

  • Difficulties with Numeracy

    The ability to understand and work with numbers applying simple numerical concepts.

  • Graduated Response

    A graduated approach based on a cycle of action that can be revisited with increasing detail, increasing frequency and with the increased involvement of educational professionals, based on the needs of the child/young person. 

  • Motor Development

    This is the process of learning how to use the muscles in your body to move. 

  • School Based Provision

    Schools have a duty to support all children.

  • Statutory Nursery Setting

    A school for pre-school age children which follows the legal framework of education e.g.  a nursery unit attached to a primary school or a controlled/maintained nursery school. 

  • Therapeutic Work

    Activities that are designed to improve an individual’s wellbeing.  For a child or young person this may be activities such as play therapy, art therapy or storytelling.

Exceptional Teaching

  • CAMHS Stepped Care Model

    The stepped care model aligns the needs of children and their families/carers to evidence-based care interventions delivered at the most appropriate step in the first instance and stepping up or down to other services as clinically required.

  • Education Welfare Service

    The Education Welfare Service works in partnership with schools, parents, EA Services and other professionals to reduce pupil absence and to raise achievement, enabling young people to maximise their educational opportunities and potential.

  • Medical Reasons

    Reasons relating to illness and injuries.

  • Numeracy

    The ability to understand and work with numbers applying simple numerical concepts.  

  • Occupational Therapy

    The use of particular activities as an aid to recovery from physical or mental illness.

  • Personal and Social Development

    A way for people to assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life and set goals in order to realise and maximise their potential.

  • Physical Health

    The state of being free from illness or injury.

  • Physical Medical Condition

    A health problem that requires ongoing management over a period of years or decades.

  • Reintegration

    The action of returning back to the educational setting.

  • School Age Mothers Programme (SAM)

    A programme to support young women of school age, who are pregnant or parents, to continue in compulsory education and beyond, if this is appropriate.

  • Social and Emotional Wellbeing

    Relates to being able to realise your abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and contribute to your community.

Language and Communication

  • Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

    A type of speech, language and communication need (SLCN) that affects the way that children understand and use language.

  • Expressive Language Needs

    Difficulty in remembering words or speaking in sentences.

  • Receptive Language Needs

    Difficulty in understanding or processing what is being said.

  • Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) as the primary identified SEN

    Language is the most dominant special educational need of the child/young person and that their language difficulties are not part of another biomedical condition.

Literacy Service

  • Assistive Technology

    Core to the work of the Literacy Service is the use of ICT to support learning, attainment and the independence of pupils.  Assistive technology is software, hardware or a device that assists in supporting learning and can be a significant way to enable a child to reach their full potential. 

  • Dyslexia

    A learning difficulty which primarily affects reading and writing skills as well as spelling, information processing and organisational skills. 

  • Literacy

    The ability to read and write. 

  • Specialist Teacher

     qualified teacher who has additional training and/or qualifications to teach children who experience difficulties. 

  • Specific Learning Difficulties

    A specific learning difficulty (SpLD) means that someone has a difference or difficulty with one or more certain parts of learning. Having a SpLD does not mean that children and young people cannot achieve and succeed in learning. 

Medical Needs

  • Adrenaline Auto-injectors

    Also known by the trademark EpiPen, is a medical device for injecting a measured dose or doses of adrenaline to treat a severe allergic reaction.

  • Anaphylaxis

    A severe allergic reaction.

  • Asthma

    A lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties.

  • Asthma clinic

    A centre with specialists to help you with your asthma.

  • Asthma nurse

    A nurse that can help support you to look after your asthma better.

  • Diabetic Nurse Specialist

    A health professional who looks after patients with diabetes.

  • Epilepsy

    A condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures.

  • Epilepsy Nurse Specialist

    A health professional who looks after patients with epilepsy.

  • GDPR

    General Data Protection Regulation, a set of UK rules on data protection and privacy.

  • Health and Social Care professionals

    People who maintain health in humans through the application of procedures of medicine and caring.

  • Health and Social Care Trust

    HSC (Health Social Care) Trusts are the main providers of health and social care service to the public. There are 5 HSCT in Northern Ireland.

  • Long-term Medical Condition

    An illness that cannot be cured.

  • Medical Condition

    A health impairment resulting from a disease or injury.

  • Medication Plan

    The printable document for the patient that specifies the complete medication, instructions, and indications. It is supposed to facilitate the correct administration of medication in the pharmacy.

  • Paediatric Diabetic Specialist Nurse (PDSN)

    Has the lead responsibility for providing specialist nursing skills, knowledge and expertise in the care and management of children with diabetes.

Moderate Learning Difficulties

  • Cognition

    The mental action of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. 

  • Literacy

    The ability to read and write. 

  • Moderate Learning Difficulty

    Cognition and Learning assessments for Literacy and numeracy are carried out by an Educational Psychologist (EP) from the Education Authority and based on scores of the child/young person, a determination is made as to whether or not there is evidence of a Moderate Learning Difficulty.

  • Moderate Learning Difficulty and associated SEN

    Is applied to children/young people with a moderate learning difficulty who have greater difficulty than their peers understanding and learning basic numeracy and literacy skills.  They may also have speech and language difficulties and poor social skills, making it hard to focus and work independently.   

  • Numeracy

    The ability to understand and work with numbers applying simple numerical concepts.  

SEN Early Years

  • Cognition and Learning

    Skills that children and young people will encounter at their school such as basic language, numeracy skills, memory and concentration skills, speech and language.

  • Early Years Hub

    The Early Years Hub (EYH) is the single point of referral to the SEN EYIS. Referrals to the EYH come from Educational Psychologists (EP) via Paediatricians for pre pre-school aged children and children in their final pre-school year who attend non-statutory settings/playgroups.  For children who attend a statutory nursery, referrals are made to the EYH by an EP following consultation with the nursery. 

  • Early Years Hub

    The Early Years Hub (EYH) is the single point of referral to the SEN EYIS. Referrals to the EYH come from Paediatricians for pre pre-school aged children and from Educational Psychologists for pre-school aged children.

Severe Learning Difficulties

  • Cognition

    The mental action of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. 

  • Literacy

    The ability to read and write. 

  • Numeracy

    The ability to understand and work with numbers applying simple numerical concepts.  

  • Severe Learning Difficulty

    Cognition and Learning assessments for Literacy and numeracy are carried out by an Educational Psychologist (EP) from the Education Authority and based on scores of the child/young person, a determination is made as to whether or not there is evidence of a Severe Learning Difficulty.

  • Severe Learning Difficulty and associated SEN

    Is applied to children/young people with a SLD who have greater difficulty than their peers understanding and learning basic numeracy and literacy skills.  They may also have speech and language difficulties and poor social skills, making it hard to focus and work independently.   

Statutory Assessment and Review

  • Annual Review

    Review of a Statement of Special Educational Needs which must be carried out at least once every 12 months. The review will examine progress or otherwise which the child has made, their current SEN and if the provision detailed in the Statement is still appropriate to meet their current needs. 

  • Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

    Assesses and treats children and young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.  

  • Early Years Education

    Usually begins when a child reaches the age of three and attends an early education setting soon after their third birthday. This may be a playgroup, pre-school, nursery school or nursery unit attached to a primary school. 

  • Educational Setting

    This is usually the school which a child or young person attends. 

  • EOTAS (Education other than at school)

    A small group, specialist programme which pupils access off-site from their mainstream school.

  • Personal Learning Plan (PLP)

    The PLP sets out the school’s programme of special educational provision for the child recording the provision which is additional to or different from whole school educational provision for all pupils to cater for different abilities and attributes.  

  • SENDIST

    The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) considers parents’ appeals against the decisions of the Education Authority about children’s special educational needs, where the parents cannot reach agreement with the Education Authority. It also deals with claims of disability discrimination in relation to children at school. 

  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

    Special educational needs is a term used to describe children and young people who have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of their age or have a disability which either prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of their age in ordinary schools. 

  • Special School

     A school which is specifically set up to provide education for children and young people with significant and complex Special Educational Needs.    

Vision Impairment and Deafness

  • Audiological Equipment

    Equipment that is used to assist those with hearing and balance problems. 

  • Audiologist

    Health care professionals who identify, assess and manage hearing and balance problems.   

  • Audiology

    The area of science that looks at hearing and balance issues.   

  • Bone Anchored Hearing Aids

    A type of hearing aid that is surgically implanted, which picks up sound and transmits it through the processor via vibrations to the inner ear.  It is primarily for people with permanent conductive loss or unilateral loss.  

  • Braille

    A form of written language for those with vision impairment, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. 

  • Braille Note Taker

    Portable device with built-in braille displays to that connect to the internet and allow users to perform educational setting, office or personal tasks away from home. 

  • Cerebral Vision Impairment

    A vision impairment caused by damage to the parts of the brain that process vision.  

  • Cochlear Implant

    A surgically implanted electronic device which provides electrical stimulation to the auditory nerve, bypassing the damaged inner ear. 

  • Diagnosed Degenerative Eye Condition

    This means eye functions get worse as time passes.  

  • Differentiation

    Providing different methods to learning so a child or young person can have access to a range of material aimed at matching the learner’s need.  

  • Educational Audiologist

    A professional with an additional qualification and specialist knowledge in language development, assistive technology and acoustics. An Educational Audiologist acts as a link between Education and Health. 

  • Glue Ear

    A common childhood condition where the middle ear becomes filled with fluid. 

  • Habilitation

    Habilitation aims to develop independent living skills of children and young people with a vision impairment. 

  • Habilitation Specialists

    A group of professionals who work with children & young people (who have a vision impairment. They aim to develop personal mobility, navigation and independent living skills. 

  • Hemianopia

    Partial blindness or a loss of sight in half of the visual field. 

  • Low Vision Clinics

    Clinics for patients who have a reduction in vision which cannot be treated by just wearing glasses. 

  • Magnification software

    Screenmagnification software enlarges text and graphics on a computer screen. 

  • Multi-sensory Impairment (MSI)

    A condition which causes difficulties with both sight and hearing. This is also known as deafblindness. 

  • National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP) Eligibility Framework

    A structure devised by experts to provide a way for Sensory Services to make decisions on how support is allocated for individual children and young people who are deaf, have vision impairment or multi-sensory impairment.  

  • Newborn Hearing Screening Programme

    A service to identify permanent, moderate, severe and profound deafness and hearing in newborn babies. 

  • Nystagmus

    An involuntary motion of the eyes.  It is caused by a miscommunication between the eye and the brain.  

  • Ophthalmologist

    This is a doctor based in a hospital who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgical care of the eyes. Also known as ophthalmic surgeons. 

  • Ophthalmology

    The type of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. 

  • Optometry

    Specialised health care profession that involves examining the eyes and related structures for defects and abnormalities. 

  • Paediatrics

    The type of medicine that involves the medical care of infants, children and adolescents. 

  • QTOD

    Qualified teachers of deaf children and young people are specialist teachers who have additional qualifications in teaching children and young people who are deaf.   

  • QTVI

    Qualified teacher of children with vision impairment are specialist teachers who have additional qualifications in teaching children and young people with vision impairment. 

  • Regional Vision Resource Base (RVRB)

    A service that makes the Northern Ireland Curriculum easier to access by supporting pupils with sight loss to become independent and effective learners.

  • Sensory Impairment

    When one of the senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste or spatial awareness – is not working as it should.  

  • Touch Typing

    The practice of typing using all one’s fingers and without looking at the keys.  

  • Visual Field

    The visual field is the entire area that can be seen when the eyes are focused on a single point. In addition to what can be seen straight ahead, the visual field includes what can be seen above, below, and to either side of the point the eyes are focused on.  

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