SEND Related Conditions
We accommodate students with a wide range of Special Educational Needs at our school. These are categorised into four main traits, that we have listed below. Please remember that this list is by no means exhaustive, and a young person may fall into more than one category or have more than one special educational need.
For a better understanding of SEND, the role a school plays, and for help with guidelines on what to do if you believe your child may need support, we recommend you view Norfolk County Council's SEND Local Offer.
Cognition and Learning
Broad learning difficulties are non-specific and can affect everything from basic literacy and numeracy skills to communication and social skills and may even impact upon the ability to be independent. They are differentiated into three divisions according to severity, moderate learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties and can affect every aspect of a person’s life. The assistance a child with these difficulties will have in school depends upon the severity of their condition.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty caused, people think, by certain messages in the brain not being properly or fully delivered. Because it is specific, dyslexia is not linked to intelligence and so with appropriate strategies can be managed to limit its effect on a child’s learning. Dyslexia often affects reading and writing and is commonly visualised as dyslexics seeing letters or figures as inverted or jumbled up. Dyslexics may often also have difficulties with spelling, handwriting, maths, understanding patterns, concentration or organisation. For more information from the British Dyslexia association please click here.
Dyspraxia, much like dyslexia is another specific learning difficulty with no bearing upon a person’s intelligence. Similarly, it is thought to be caused by imperfect delivery of message within the brain. It is defined by a difficulty with movement and dyspraxia sufferers will often appear clumsy. As well as physical movements, problems can occur with fine movements. Handwriting can often suffer and occasionally speech sounds can be impaired (Articulatory Dyspraxia) resulting in poor language skills. You can find out more from the Dyspraxia foundation here.
Dyscalculia is similar to both dyslexia and dyspraxia in cause but affects someone’s ability specifically in maths. They may have difficulty with mathematical ideas and concepts of numbers as well as with facts and procedures.
Communication and Interaction
Children who have difficulties in speech, language and communication fall into the category of communication and interaction needs. These children may face difficulties with understanding, or making others understand spoken language and may be significantly behind their classmates at the rate they learn these skills. They can also have difficulties with word context or meaning and may use words incorrectly.
Autistic spectrum Disorder (ASD) which also falls under the remit of communication and interaction includes autism, high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. These are what are known as spectral conditions, meaning someone’s experience of any of them may fall anywhere on a scale from very mild symptoms to very severe. People with ASD often see the world very literally and can struggle to understand a world where people don’t always say exactly what they mean, which invariably leads to frustration. Imagination and social and communication skills can be limited, however in other areas people with ASD can excel. Many with ASD have very good visual memory skills. In fact ASD can presents as a high level of skill or knowledge in one particular area.
More severe symptoms however can often include distraction or aversion to sensory experience like physical contact, noise or light. This can result in behaviours which may seem strange, such as distaste for normal reassurance even from parents or ‘hand flapping’ and ‘teeth grinding’. Whilst odd to the eyes of most, there is usually a good reason for all these behaviours. The National Autistic Society is an excellent place to start looking for further information and you can find it here.
Social, Emotional and Mental Health
Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs is the category created to encompass children whose difficulties range from emotional disorders such as depression to a lack of social skills to those with concentration difficulties. Children in this category can be of any ability level, the defining feature is that their SEMH needs are a serious barrier to their learning and occasionally the learning of others. ADHD and OCD are examples.
Physical or Sensory
This category extends to those whose difficulties include sensory impairments and physical difficulties. As a category it extends from quite minor and temporary impairment to serious, permanent and even life-limiting disabilities. These conditions can be apparent from birth or appear later in life. The role of the support department at Hellesdon High School is the same with children in this category as it is for children in any other: to ensure the fullest access to an educational and social school experience possible for every child.
Visual impairment in a person could be so mild as to be easily corrected with glasses or so severe that the person is totally blind to light. It could affect one or both eyes and extends to colour blindness. Students who suffer these impairments may struggle with a variety of aspects of school life. Those with severe or total visual impairment will require assistance in many areas of their school experience from educational to social involvement. Those with less acute impairments may still require assistance or bespoke strategies and resources. For instance accessing small or far away text or images may be an issue for even mildly visually impaired children and the colour of images or text/backgrounds could present a similar problem for those children with colour blindness. The RNIB provide some great information regarding some of these issues here.
Hearing impairment varies in severity from the very mild to the very profound and can affect one or both ears. There are a range of technologies and strategies available to assist a hearing impaired student with both the academic and social sides of school life. These strategies need to be matched to the child and their condition to best allow them to get the most out of their time at school. More information can be found on the Action on Hearing Loss (formally the RNID) site here.
Physical disabilities include orthopaedic, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders and can be the result of congenital factors, injury, or multiple illnesses. In school life, access can be an issue for such students as older buildings weren’t designed for wheelchairs, crutches and artificial limbs and the hustle and bustle of a busy school isn’t always ideal for those who may have these issues. Strategies are developed for individual students to allow them to participate and thrive as fully as possible in all areas of the school.
It should be remembered that this is only a small overview of a whole range of conditions that children in schools such as ours deal with on a daily basis.
If you think your child may have any one of these or any other SEND and has not yet been diagnosed please contact us so we can discuss your concerns.
If your Child attends Hellesdon High School, or is going to/might be going to attend and you have any concerns on any of these matters please contact our SENCo, information on how to do that is available here.