SEND Committee glossary 2020

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

Lajna Imaillah UK

Glossary of Terminology

The SEND Committee has created a glossary of terminology used in relation to Special Educational Needs & Disability. This list should help promote awareness and understanding of some of the conditions, in order to become more inclusive within our Jama’at Structure.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA): ABA refers to interventions that are developed from a branch of science called Behaviour Analysis. ABA is much more than an intervention for children with Autism. It can be used to help with anything from treating eating disorders to traffic control. Behaviour Analysts examine the causes and consequences of behaviour. They then develop interventions based on this information. The goal is to increase behaviours that are helpful and decrease behaviours that are harmful or affect learning. ABA therapy programs can help: increase language and communication skills; improve attention, focus, social skills, memory and academics and decrease problem behaviour.

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder involves being unable to follow instructions, acting impulsively and being unable to keep still. It can also affect the ability to focus as well as hyperactive behaviour.

Auditory memory: Things remembered from what has been heard.

Augmentative and alternative communication: an umbrella term that encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language.

Autism is a complex neurological developmental condition that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills and how they experience the world around them. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ is considered to be on the autistic spectrum, which causes difficulty building social relationships, communicating, and reading body language.

Braille is a tactile reading and writing system used by blind and visually impaired people who cannot access print materials. It uses raised dots to represent the letters of the print alphabet. It also includes symbols to represent punctuation, mathematics and scientific characters, music, computer notation and foreign languages.

Cerebral Palsy: While Cerebral Palsy (pronounced seh-ree-brel pawl-zee) is a blanket term commonly referred to as “CP” and described by loss or impairment of motor function, Cerebral Palsy is actually caused by brain damage. The brain damage is caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the brain that occurs while a child’s brain is still developing — before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth. Cerebral Palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS): Provides multidisciplinary mental health services to children and young people with mental health problems and disorders.

Comorbidity: In medicine, comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder; in the countable sense of the term, comorbidity is each additional disorder or disease. The additional disorder or condition may, also, be a behavioural or mental disorder

Cognition and Learning: The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgement.

Developmental Delay or Global Delay: is used when a child takes longer to reach certain developmental milestones than other children their age. This might include learning to walk or talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally. Someone with another condition, like Down’s syndrome or Cerebral palsy, may also have Global developmental delay.

Differentiated curriculum: Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Teachers take account of this when planning their lessons, organising the classroom and choosing books and materials. They are then able to choose from the range of available approaches and resources to make a selection which best fit the learning styles of a particular child or group of children. This is what is meant by a differentiated curriculum.

Dyscalculia: A learning disability known as “maths dyslexia”, where numbers become inverted making it difficult to perform basic maths calculations.

Dyslexia: A learning difficulty where letters become inverted, making reading and writing difficult.

Dyspraxia: A developmental disorder affecting organisation and planning of physical movement.

Dysgraphia: the inability to write coherently – just holding a pencil and organizing letters on a line is difficult.

Dysphagia refers to difficulties eating, drinking and swallowing

Down’s syndrome: Also known as Down syndrome’s or trisomy 21, is a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and certain physical characteristics.

Echolalia can seem like a person repeating words they don’t understand, rather than trying to communicate. But echolalia can in fact be meaningful communication. A person might use phrases that they frequently hear in their favourite TV programme or song. The person might repeat what you say because they don’t understand the question or how best to respond. They may memorise the words that were said to them when they were asked if they would like a drink, and use them later, in a different situation, to ask a question of their own.

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP): EHC plans set out how services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs. EHC plans are based on a coordinated assessment and planning process which puts the child and young person and their parents at the centre of decision making. EHCPs are legally required to have an Annual review.

Epilepsy: A neurological condition in which the affected person has recurrent seizures because of an altered state in the brain.

Educational Psychologist: Help in assessing your child’s special educational needs and giving advice to schools.

Expressive Language: is a broad term that describes how a person communicates their wants and needs. It encompasses verbal and nonverbal communication skills and how an individual uses language

Hypermobility: Joints, which are excessively mobile.

IEP: Individual Education Plan. All children who are on the SEN register will be set targets and reviewed twice yearly. These targets are written on their IEP, and given to all staff that teaches that student in order that they can reach their targets.

Fine Motor Skills Small movements of the body for example, using fingers to pick up small items, holding a pencil or doing up zips and buttons.

Fragile X Syndrome: The commonest cause of learning difficulties after Down’s syndrome; it is an inherited condition associated with a fragile site at the end of the X chromosome.

Gross Motor Skills: Whole body actions for example, playing games, swimming or riding a bicycle.

Hearing impairments: this term covers the whole range of hearing loss, from mild hearing loss through to profound Deafness. A hearing impaired student’s preferred communication will depend on the degree of their hearing loss and their upbringing.

Learning Support Assistant (LSA): An assistant providing in-school support for pupils with special educational needs. An LSA works under the direction of a class teacher as considered appropriate.

Learning disability: People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people. The level of support someone needs depends on the individual. For example, someone with a mild learning disability may only need support with things like getting a job. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability may need fulltime care and support with every aspect of their life they may also have physical disabilities.

People with certain specific conditions can have a learning disability too. For example, people with Down’s syndrome and some people with autism have a learning disability.

Makaton is a sign language programme designed to provide a means of communication to children and young people who cannot communicate efficiently by speaking.

Mainstream school: This is a school that provides education for all children, whether or not they have special educational needs or disabilities.

Inclusion is a universal human right. The aim of inclusion is to embrace all people irrespective of race, gender, disability, medical or other need. It is about giving equal access and opportunities and getting rid of discrimination and intolerance (removal of barriers). It affects all aspects of public life.

Multi-sensory impairment (MSI): Pupils with multi-sensory impairment have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties. They are sometimes referred to as deaf blind but may have some residual sight and/or hearing.

Neurotypical is a word used to describe a person who has a typical brain. This not only includes non-autistic people, but also people without mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities or any other neurological illness or disorder such as epilepsy or brain tumours. It is the opposite of neurodivergent.

Occupational therapy can help you with practical tasks if you are physically disabled, are recovering from an illness or operation, have learning disabilities, have mental health problems or are getting older. Occupational therapists 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 it.

Oro motor is related to the mouth and other parts we use for speech and eating.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of alternative and augmentative communication in which a child is taught to communicate with an adult by giving them a card with a picture on it. PECS is based on the idea that children who can’t talk or write can be taught to communicate using pictures.

Physical disability (PD): Disabilities that limit mobility. Among the causes are congenital conditions, accidents or injury. Some pupils with PD may also have sensory impairments and/or learning difficulties.

Physiotherapy helps to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. It can also help to reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future.

Proprioception is often referred to as “heavy/hard work” in the therapy world. Proprioceptive receptors are located in the joints, muscles, and tendons ALL OVER the body, including the jaw and vertebrae. These receptors are activated by elongation, compression, or traction. Therefore, during heavy/hard work activities the core of the body and extremities recruit a large number of muscles. When the muscle bellies contract, the proprioceptors of the joints are triggered. Weight bearing on joints also triggers the proprioceptive receptors. The interoceptors are also a part of the proprioceptive system. They are located within the gut and internal organs. The interoceptors are responsible for the feeling of hunger or lack of hunger as well as the need to go to the restroom, and other internal organ sensations.

Receptive Language: The ability to understand what is being said.

Registered Behaviour TechnicianTM (RBT®) : is a paraprofessional who practices under the close, on going supervision of a BCBA, BCaBA, or FL-CBA. The RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behaviour-analytic services.

SENCo: The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, who is the head of the Special Educational Needs department.

Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming.

Sensory sensitivity refers to how aware your children are with regard to each of their sensory channels: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and pain. All individuals have varying degrees of sensitivity and have varying ways of outwardly responding and expressing their awareness of these sensitivities.

SEN Code of Practice: A document from the government which provides practical advice to those carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for children’s special educational needs.

SEN register: A list of students who have Special Educational Needs.

Special educational needs and disability (SEND): A child or young person has special educational needs and disabilities if they have a learning difficulty and/or a disability that means they need special health and education support, we shorten this to SEND.


Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. Sign Language is used mainly by people who are Deaf or have hearing impairments. BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE (BSL) Within Britain the most common form of Sign Language is called British Sign Language (BSL). BSL has it’s own grammatical structure and syntax, as a language it is not dependant nor is it strongly related to spoken English. BSL is the preferred language of around 145,000 people within the UK (2011).

Speech and language difficulties: Difficulties with building vocabulary, word finding skills and in reading the unspoken tools of communication, such as body language and inference.

Tactile: The tactile system involves the entire skin network including in the mouth, where tactile nerve endings are present in the cheek linings. Tactile input includes light touch, firm touch, and the discrimination of different textures including dry to wet and messy. The tactile system is also responsible for the processing of pain and temperature. Tactile input can be alerting, calming, or over-stimulating, depending on the person. Each form of tactile input is processed differently as well.

Transition: Movement between different environments, rooms or settings. All transition involves change and it is vital to prepare children, no matter how young they are, for this. When children are prepared for transition they adapt more easily to changes.

Vestibular system: Our vestibular system (or sensory system) gives us an awareness of balance and spatial orientation so we can coordinate our movements. People with autism have a harder time managing their movements, such as their walk and gait.

Visual impairment is a broad term that is used to refer to any degree of vision loss that affects a person’s ability to perform the usual activities of daily life. It does not refer to the kind of vision many of us have who need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to read a book comfortably or see highway signs when we’re driving a car. Instead, visual impairment refers to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected to normal vision, even when the person is wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. Because it is so broad a term, “visual impairment” usually includes blindness as well.