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Getting additional support

Photo: Not all deaf children will have special or additional educational needs

If your child is deaf they might need extra support from their school or nursery. This could mean that your child has special educational needs (SEN) (the term most commonly used by education services in England and Northern Ireland), additional learning needs (ALN) (the new term used in Wales as of September 2021) or additional support needs (ASN) (the term more commonly used in Scotland).

What are special educational needs (SEN)?

England and Northern Ireland define SEN as:

“a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made”.

“Learning difficulty” means that the child has (or is likely to have) significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of their age, and/or has a disability which makes it harder for them to use everyday educational facilities.

“Special educational provision” is the additional or different help given in school to children with SEN.

What are additional learning needs (ALN)?

A new system for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales was implemented in September 2021 beginning with new applications. In time, all current support plans (including Statements, IEPs and LSPs) will be replaced with a new plan.

Find out more about the changes in Wales on our page Additional learning needs (ALN) in Wales, our guide for parents on Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and our Individual Development Plan (IDP) template.

Also see, Written Statement: Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act 2018 Implementation.

What are additional support needs (ASN)?

In Scotland, a child or young person has ASN if they can’t benefit from the education offered by their school or nursery without additional support for learning being provided.

Does my deaf child have SEN/ALN/ASN?

Not all deaf children will have special or additional educational needs. For example, in England around 40% of deaf children aren’t formally identified as having SEN.

Whether or not your child is recognised as having SEN, ALN or ASN will depend on how much their deafness impacts on their ability to take part in education and other aspects of school life, and what extra support they need as a result. It can also depend on the approach taken in your area to how children are identified and recorded as having SEN, ALN or ASN.

How is additional support provided?

Additional support can be provided by the school itself, or by outside agencies such as an educational psychologist or a speech and language therapist.

Examples of additional support your child might receive are:

  • equipment, such as a radio aid or soundfield system to help them hear their teachers
  • support from a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD), communication support worker (CSW) or a learning support assistant
  • the school improving the acoustics of the school or classroom, for example by reducing background noise, and fitting carpets and curtains to help prevent sound echoing around a room
  • staff teaching in a deaf-friendly way, for example not talking when turning away from the class to write on the board, making sure your child has understood tasks, and making sure videos have subtitles.

Find out more

Find out more about the additional support your child could be entitled to.

England - Getting additional support

Northern Ireland - Getting additional support

Scotland - Getting additional support

Wales - Getting additional support