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Sensory and/or Physical Difficulties

What is Sensory Processing Disorder? | Kati Morton

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Information from the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years

6.34 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.

6.35 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.

How is this need identified?

Sensory and Physical                       

Sensory needs can be hearing loss and/or visual impairment or sensory processing difficulties and physical difficulties, can occur for a variety of reasons, e.g. congenital conditions , injury or disease.

Different forms of Sensory and Physical Difficulties

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be sensorineural, conductive or mixed

The levels of hearing loss are mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Vision Loss

Visual impairment is an eye condition that cannot be fully corrected by glasses or contact lenses

The levels of vision are mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Multisensory Impairment

Multisensory impairment occurs when there is a hearing loss and visual impairment, which are both educationally significant although they may be at different levels.

Sensory Processing Difficulty

Our bodies and the environment send our brain information through our senses.  We process and organise this information so that we feel comfortable and secure. When a child has difficulty coping with these demands, they may have sensory processing difficulties.

A child may be under-sensitive or over-sensitive in the 5 areas:




Oral Sensory


Physical Difficulty

Physical/medical injures can be for a variety of reasons, eg congenital conditions (some progressive), injury or disease.

A child with a physical difficulty may have a diagnosed medical condition which affects them physically. There may be an undiagnosed condition where the child presents with delayed development or impairment with their physical ability and/or presentation.