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What is SEND?

Physical and sensory

Physical and/or Sensory needs are one of the broad areas of need identified in the SEND Code of Practice (2015).

This includes:

  • physical disability (PD)
  • visual impairment (VI)
  • hearing impairment (HI)
  • multi sensory impairment (MSI) which is a combination of hearing and vision difficulties

In the code of practice it says:


Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habilitation support. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties. Information on how to provide services for deafblind children and young people is available through the Social Care for Deafblind Children and Adults guidance published by the Department of Health (see the References section under Chapter 6 for a link).


Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.