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SEND• 3 Min read

10th September 2019

SEND Jargon Buster: Your Guide to SEND Terms & Acronyms

Teaching within SEND has numerous requirements for pupils with varied needs and disabilities. As such, the SEND sector has an almost intimidatingly large number of acronyms and terms to learn.

Worry not, at Engage, we’ve put the most frequently used terms into an easy-to-use reference guide which you can see here or download and print out to take with you!

Download the SEND Jargon Buster here

Let’s Get Jargon Busting!


ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder

A special education need which impacts on social communication, social interaction, interests and behaviour.

ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

A special education need which affects concentration and the ability to focus.

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A behavioural disorder which includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

ARP – Additional Resource Provision

An umbrella term for a wide range of provision where the Local Authority contracts resources in addition to those provided by the school


BSL – British Sign Language

The most common sign language used by deaf people in the UK

BSP – Behaviour Support Plan

A school document which is created to help a pupil with behavioural difficulties


CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

The term for all services working with children and young people who have difficulties with their emotional or behavioural wellbeing

CAF – Common Assessment Framework

Professionals complete this form as the first step to assess the needs a child or young person may have

CFA – Children and Families Act (2014)

The law which introduced the current system of supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

CoP – Code of Practice

A government document that schools, EYFS settings and local authorities follow when identifying children with SEN and meeting their needs


DfE – Department for Education

The national government department overseeing schools and education

DDA -Disability Discrimination Act

Lays out the duty on employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities

DLA – Disability Living Allowance

A benefit which can be claimed by the family of a child with special needs

DSA – Disabiled Students Allowance

A monetary allowance for disabled students to cover some of the extra costs incurred because of their disability


EB(S)D – Emotional, Behavioural (and Social) Difficulties

A condition in which behaviour or emotional responses of a child adversely affect their performance at school

EHC(P) – Education, Health and Care (Plan)

This plan outline educational needs a child has and the provision that the local authority must put in place to help them

EYFS – Early Years Foundation Stage

The standards for learning, development and care of a child from birth to 5 years old


FE – Further Education

Education below degree level for people above school age, such as Sixth Form

FMS – Fine Motor Skills

The co-ordination of small muscles and the eyes, such as buttoning clothes


GMS – Gross Motor Skills

Larger movements made3 with the arms, legs, feet, or entire body, such as running or jumping

GDD – Global Developmental Delay

The term used when a child has not met two or more milestones in all areas of development


HI – Hearing Impairment

Partial or total inability to hear


IASS – Information, Advice, and Support Service

A provider of independent and impartial advice to parts of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

IEP – Individual Education Plan

A school-based document which records, tracks, and reviews the support a child with special education needs receives in school

IPP – Individual Pupil Profile

A document which contains a series of observations and assessments on a child’s strengths, weaknesses, and special education needs


LA – Local Authority

The body responsible for public services such as libraries, schools, parks, and child protection

LD – Learning Difficulties

Difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the normal level expected of those of the same age, especially because of a mental disability or cognitive disorder

LO – Local Offer

The SEND local offer is providedby the Local Authority and gives information for parents in a single place

LSA – Learning Support Assistant

A member of staff in a school provided to support teachers and pupils in the classroom

LAC – Looked After Child

The term for a child who is looked after by a local authority


MLD – Moderate Learning Difficulties

The umbrella term used to describe children who have cognitive ability and attainment levels significantly lower than that of their peers

MS – Multiple Sclerosis

A condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms such as problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, or balance

MSI – Multi-Sensory Impairment

Pupils with MSI have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties


NEET – Not in Education, Employment or Training

This term is used to describe young people (18-24) who are not in education, employment, or training


OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterised by unwanted thoughts and repetitive activities

ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder

A disorder that is defined by a pattern of hostile, disobedient, and defiant behaviours

OT – Occupational Therapist

A therapist who provides support to people whose health prevents them from doing particular activities

OFSTED – Office for Standards in Education

A non-ministerial department of the government which is responsible for inspecting a range of educational institutions


PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System

An approach to developing communication skills using pictures

PCP – Person-Centred Planning

A way of planning that sees people using health and social services as equal partners in the development and monitoring of their care to ensure it meets their needs

PD – Physical Disability

A limitation on a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina

PDA – Pathological Demand Avoidance

A condition characterised by an overwhelming need to avoid or resist demands

PMLD – Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities

Children with PMLD have complex learning needs and may also have other significant difficulties such as physical disabilities or sensory impairment

PfA – Preparation for Adulthood

A section in the Code of Practice which lays out the need for local authorities and their partners to work together with young people to help them achieve successful outcomes in the long term

PRU – Pupil Referral Unit

A type of school which caters for children who aren’t able to attend a mainstream school because they require greater care and support than their school can provide

PSP – Pastoral Support Plan

A school-based programme which is designed to help a child improve their social, emotional, and behavioural skills


S(a)LT – Speech and Language Therapist

A member of support staff who provides treatment for children who have difficulties with communication

SEND – Special Education Needs and Disability

The umbrella term for children who have a learning difficulty and/or a disability that means they need special health and education support

SEN(D)Co – Special Education Needs (and Disability) Co-Ordinator

The teacher who is respoinsible for special education needs and disability provision in a school

SLD – Severe Learning Disabilities

A very significant intellectual or cognitive impairment that impacts a person’s ability to live independently

SLCN – Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Children with SLCN may have a single specific language impairment or experience secondary communication needs resulting from another condition


VI – Visual Impairment

Decreased or total inability to see


YP – Young Person

A person generally from 14 to 18 years of age

YSS – Youth Support Service

A local authority team that supports young people who are not receiving the standard of care of protection appropriate to their age

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