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Jargon Buster

These are some of the acronyms and phrases you might come across in your role as a parent carer. It’s not an exhaustive list, so if you know of any we can add, please contact us. Thank you.

  • ABA: Applied Behaviour Analysis, defined as the science in which the analysis of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior, and in which experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for change in behaviour.
  • Aiming high: Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC) is a central government programme to help disabled children, young people and their families. Now incorporated in Cheshire East’s Short Breaks Service.
  • Annual Review: The process of ensuring that a Statement of Special Educational Needs continues to describe the child’s needs and how they should be met through a meeting held once each year.
  • Blue badge: The Blue Badge scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled. Apply to your local Council.
  • Camhs : Child and Adolescent Mental Health services. Provided in Cheshire East by CWP(Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Mental Health Trust).
  • Carer: a person who is looking after a child but isn’t their birth parent
  • Carer’s allowance: A benefit you apply for and receive if you are caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week. See Gov.uk for more information.
  • Child tax credit: A benefit for families not working. See Gov.uk for more details.
  • Code of Practice: a government document that schools, early years settings and local authorities follow when identifying children with SEN and meeting their needs. The new Code Of Practice for September is still in Draft form.
  • Council tax benefit: for those on low incomes, apply to Cheshire East to reduce your council tax bill. If you have a room set aside for use related to your child’s disability, you may be able to go down a council tax band. Apply to Cheshire East Council.
  • Differentiation: The way in which the early years setting/school’s curriculum and teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of a child.
  • Direct payments: If you or someone you care for get help from social services, you can apply for direct payments. These let you choose and buy the services you need yourself, instead of getting them from your council.
  • DLA : Disability Living Allowance. This is being gradually replaced by PIP(Personal Independence Payments) for adults, but children up to 16 still qualify for DLA. Financial assistance for those with disabilities, not means tested. The care component has low, middle and high rates and the mobility component has low and high rates. Can help you qualify for further benefits, see Gov.uk for more details.
  • Early Years: Birth to five years
  • Early Years Action: Collecting information about a child (0-5) who has special educational needs and requires help which is different from that provided as part of the usual curriculum, and designing a programme (often called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) for them. The programme will be drawn up by the early years practitioner/ teacher who works with the child and the SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO) and shared with parents.
  • Early Years Action Plus: Seeking advice or support from external specialist services for a child who cannot progress adequately on Early Years Action, and drawing up a new or revised programme to that provided at Early Years Action.
  • Early Years settings: All pre-school education provision, such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries, childminders, portage services, pre-schools and District Specialist Centres.
  • Early Years Foundation Stage: The framework used by all early years settings which sets out standards and provides a flexible approach which supports learning and development until the end of the reception year at school.
  • Educational Psychologist (EP): A professional employed by the local authority to assess a child’s Special Educational Needs and to give advice to schools and settings as to how the child’s needs can be met.
  • EHC Plan: Education, Health and Care Plans will replace Statements of Special Educational Needs from September 2014. Still in development stage and will be phased in gradually over the next 3 years. Current Statements remain legally binding until a separate EHCP assessment has been carried out.
  • Employment and support allowance: ESA, benefit for adults unable to work.
  • Graduated approach: A model which recognises that children may need different levels of support at different stages in their early years or school lives.
  • Individual Education Plan: A plan written by an early years practitioner/teacher/SENCO, outlining the way the child’s needs are being met, setting SMART targets and shared with parents.
  • Independent Parental Supporter: Someone who can give support to parents/carers, for example, by going to meetings, encouraging parents to get involved and helping them to understand systems related to special educational needs. Part of Parent Partnership in Cheshire East.
  • Key Stages: The different stages of education that a child passes through:

Early Years Foundation Stage – age 0-5 (Early years setting, Nursery and Reception);

Key Stage one – age 5-7 (Years 1 and 2);

Key Stage two – age 7-11(Years 3, 4, 5 and 6);

Key Stage three – age 11-14 (Years 7, 8 and 9);

Key Stage four – age 14-16 (Years 10 and 11);

Key Stage five – age 16-18 (Sixth form)


  • Learning difficulties: Problems or conditions which make learning harder for the individual than it is for most people.
  • Local authority (LA): A local government body that is responsible for providing education. For children with special educational needs the LA is responsible for carrying out Statutory Assessments and maintaining Statements. Cheshire East Council (CEC).
  • Independent living: support for adults to live in the community rather than in a residential home.
  • Local Offer: Part of the reforms in September 2014, it is a way of enabling the sharing of information about all services available in the local area. Covers social, health and education services: what is available, how to access it, cost, and reviews.
  • Motability: scheme to rent a vehicle using DLA to cover the costs.
  • Note in Lieu: A document which the Local Authority may produce following Statutory Assessment. It describes a child’s special educational needs, explains why a Statement is not needed and sets out what help should be provided to support the child. The local authority will ask for the parent/carers agreement before sending this document to professionals, including the school.
  • Occupational Therapist (OT): A professional trained to give advice on equipment, adaptations and activities to support the learning/ social development of people with physical, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
  • Paediatrician (community): A doctor who specialises in children’s diseases and may be responsible for the continuing care of children with special educational needs both before school entry and in special and mainstream schools.
  • Parent Partnership Service: A service which provides information and support to parents/carers whose children have special educational needs.
  • Parental leave: Eligible employees can take unpaid parental leave to look after their child’s welfare, eg to:

Spend more time with their children

Look at new schools

Settle children into new childcare arrangements

Spend more time with family – eg visiting grandparents

Their employment rights (like the right to pay, holidays and returning to a job) are protected during parental leave.


  • Personal budget: Your personal budget is the money you get from Cheshire East, or other funding, to pay for the help you need.
  • PIP: Personal Independence Payment  helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. It is being phased in for adults over the next few years.
  • Portage: Home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs.
  • Preparing for Adulthood: formerly known as Transition, The Preparing for Adulthood programme will provide knowledge and support to local authorities and their partners, including families and young people, so they can ensure disabled young people achieve paid work, independent living, good health and community inclusion as they move into adulthood.
  • Respite:  the provision of short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home. Can include residential provision, or Short Breaks.
  • School Action: Collecting information about a child who has special educational needs and requires help which is different from that provided as part of the usual curriculum, and designing a programme (often called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) for them. The programme will be designed by teachers who work with the child and the SENCO.
  • School Action Plus: Seeking advice or support from external specialist services for a child who cannot progress adequately on School Action, and drawing up a new or revised programme to that provided at School Action.
  • ‘SMART’ targets: Targets which are Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed. This is what targets for individual children should be like.
  • Short breaks: Short breaks can last from just a few hours to a few days – from daytime and evening activities to weekend and overnight or maybe longer. They can take place in a community setting, the child’s own home, the home of an approved carer or in a residential setting. They also provide parents and families with a necessary and valuable break from caring responsibilities.
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN): The needs of children who have a learning difficulty, which means that they require special educational provision to be made for them. Children who have a learning difficulty find it harder to learn than the majority of children of the same age, or they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from accessing the education provided for other children.
  • Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO): The person responsible for the planning of special educational needs within school or early years settings.
  • (SENDIST) Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal: An independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by the local authority on Statutory Assessments and Statements.
  • Special School: A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs.
  • Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD): Learning difficulties in specific areas, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.
  • Speech & Language Therapist (SALT): A professional trained to give specialist assessments, advice and treatment for children with communication difficulties.
  • Statement of Special Educational Needs: A legal document that sets out a child’s needs and the extra help he/she should get.
  • Statutory Assessment: A very detailed assessment of a child’s special educational needs. It includes parental, educational, psychological and medical advice and also the advice of any other professional involved with the child. It may lead to a Statement of Educational Needs.
  • Supported living: Supported living is a type of residential support that helps vulnerable adults, including people with learning disabilities, to live independently in the community.
  • Surestart: The children’s centres are open to all parents, carers and children and many of the services are free. You can get help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment. They provide learning and full day care for preschool children and advice and support for parent carers of disabled children.
  • Transition plan: A plan drawn up during the Year 9 Annual Review of a Statement. It should take account of the views of the young person, his/her parents and all the professionals involved with the young person. It must involve the Connexions Personal Adviser. The plan sets out the steps that need to be taken to move from school to adult life.

Abbreviation List

The following list contains abbreviations that you may see written in relation to a child’s Special Educational Needs.

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

AEO Assistant Education Officer

ASD/C Autistic Spectrum Disorder/Condition

BESD Behavioural, Emotional and Social Development

BSL British Sign Language

BSS Behaviour Support Service

CAF Common Assessment Framework

CoP Code of Practice

DfE Department for Education (government)

EA Equality Act

ENT Ear, Nose and Throat

EO Education Officer

EOTAS Education Other Than At School

EP Educational Psychologist

EWO Educational Welfare Officer

EY Early Years

FE Further Education

GP General Practitioner (your family doctor)

HI Hearing Impairment

IEP Individual Education Plan

IPS Independent Parental Supporter

LA Local Authority

MLD Moderate Learning Difficulties

NAS National Autistic Society

NC National Curriculum

NHS National Health Service

OT Occupational Therapist

PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties

PSHE Personal Social and Health Education

SALT Speech and Language Therapist

SCD Social Communication Disorder

SEN Special Educational Needs

SENCO Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

SENDIST Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

SLD Severe Learning Difficulties

SpLD Specific Learning Difficulties

TA Teaching Assistant

TAC Team Around the Child meeting

TR Transition Review

VI Visual Impairment

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