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As you watch your child grow and develop you may notice that they may have difficulties in areas that are different to that of their peers. In the main, they are just that – worries. However, it is often a comfort to know that you have sort out help if you have concerns. The world of SEN can often be a minefield. Not only because you are trying to understand your child’s struggles, but also because nationwide special educational needs support is a multi-layered system that is grossly underfunded and brings together many stakeholders such as education, health, and social care. Decisions are made across agencies from local authorities, schools and the health service – all of which come with their own agendas.

To try to make this process easier for parents, The SEN Expert has put together a handy document for you to complete to give you an evidence base to use to support any concerns you have. Parents can then use this to discuss their concerns with their school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or GP.

Complete the table below over a month, highlighting any behaviours that you see. Using the commentary box to write down any detailed examples you have. It is important to note that this table is not a diagnosis, it is a tool to help parents feel empowered in discussing special educational needs with professionals.


Parental Observations

Which strategies have you used with your child that have been successful?






Describe your concerns below:






Cognition and Learning

Struggles with reading, writing and spelling

Difficulties with numerosity

Comprehension concerns

Processing difficulties such as sequencing, inference, coherence and elaboration

Weak working memory

Poor short-term verbal memory

Other types of executive function difficulties


Physical Difficulties

 Poor coordination

Issues with movement

Struggles to see the board at school.

Struggles to hear, sitting sideways with one ear aimed at the teacher

Tires easily

Weak fine motor skills

Weak gross motor skills

Communication and Interaction


Struggles with social communication skills

Misunderstands humour or colloquialisms

Avoids socialising

Uses echolalia

Language use is repetitive

Becomes overwhelmed in stimulating environments

Rigidity of thought

Thrives on routine

Social, Emotional and Mental health


Overly emotional

Lacking in emotion, seems detached

Overly anxious

Changes in physical appearance

Changes in behaviour

Becomes overly attached

Asks to go home/asks to stay later in school

Change in subject matter they write/draw/create