Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability so what is a disability?

(1)     A person (P) has a disability if –
(a)     P has a physical or mental impairment and
(b)     The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

(2) A reference to a disabled person is a reference to a person who has a disability.

(3)     In relation to the protected characteristic of disability—
(a)     a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person who has a particular disability;
(b)     a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who have the same disability

When considering if someone may fall within the Act, think about:

  • Do they have a physical/mental impairment?
  • Has it lasted 12 months or is it likely to do so?
  • Does the impairment have, or has it had, a more than minor or trivial impact on their normal day-to-day activities

An impairment may be developmental, mental, physical, sensory, or a learning difficulty, or a combination of these things.

Long term means it has lasted or is likely to last 12 months or more.

Substantial means that it affects a person's life on a daily basis. It is more than minor or trivial, it must have a substantial adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.  This may include health needs or SEN, depending on how much it impacts on a persons daily life.

There is a duty on all educational establishments and public bodies to make reasonable adjustments.

When thinking about whether an action or change is reasonable you need to consider all the circumstances, for instance—

  • How effective is the proposed adjustment?
  • The size of the organization and the cost.  

The Children and Families Act 2014 Part 3 focuses on children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and gives a description in Section 20 of a special educational need (SEN)

A child or young person may have a SEN or a disability or both. 

Children and young people with a disability that is covered by the definition will also be protected under the Equality Act 2010