Special educational needs

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Definition
Also known as SEN is ‘a term used in some countries to refer to children with impairments that are seen as requiring additional support.’ (UNESCO, 2017a: 7). Definitions of SEN differ in each country, yet it can include children having physical or mental disabilities, as well as cognition or educational impairments.

‘A commonly held idea is that children with special educational needs do not belong in mainstream schools or general education systems’ (UNESCO and Leonard Cheshire Disability (UK), 2019: 6). The Salamanca Statement (1994) was the first international document which challenged such a belief by introducing a human rights-based approach to the education of persons with disabilities (Florian, 2019, cited by UNESCO and Leonard Cheshire Disability (UK), 2019).

References
UNESCO. 2017. A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002482/248254e.pdf

UNESCO; Leonard Cheshire Disability (UK). 2019. Inclusive education for persons with disabilities – Are we making progress? Background paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in Education – Every learner matters, Cali, Colombia, 11-13 September 2019. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370386?posInSet=11&queryId=8251b10e-fda6-4bf5-a11e-a077d7076fa4

To explore further
IIEP-UNESCO. 2019. On the road to inclusion: highlights from the UNICEF and IIEP Technical Round Tables on Disability-inclusive Education Sector Planning. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000372193

IIEP-UNESCO; UNICEF; GPE (Global Partnership for Education); UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. 2021. ‘Chapter 11 Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities’. In: Education Sector Analysis Methodological Guidelines – Volume 3. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000377738/PDF/377738eng.pdf.multi

UNESCO; Leonard Cheshire Disability (UK). 2019. Inclusive education for persons with disabilities – Are we making progress? Background paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in Education – Every learner matters, Cali, Colombia, 11-13 September 2019. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370386?posInSet=11&queryId=8251b10e-fda6-4bf5-a11e-a077d7076fa4

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