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Supporting Student with SEN

Definitions of SEN

SEN declaration form

2.1 Legal Definition: What is a disability under the DDO?

1Under the DDO (Cap. 487), a disability means total or partial loss of a person's bodily or mental functions, total or partial loss of a part of the body, the presence of organisms causing disease or illness (such as HIV), the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body, or a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour, and learning difficulties. A disability includes not only a disability which presently exists, but also a disability which previously existed but no longer exists, which may exist in the future or which is imputed to a person.


1 Disability Discrimination Ordinance and Equal Opportunities Commission.



2.2 Who are Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

SEN applies to students who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it significantly harder for them to learn or access education than most others of the same age. It is used interchangeably with the term “disability” and describes a board range of physical and mental conditions. It covers a wide range of needs, including:


Cognition and learning needs

  • Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorders
  • Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) / Dyslexia
  • Profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD)
  • Intellectual disability

Communication and interaction needs

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Speech and language impairment

Sensory and/or physical needs

  • Chronic illness / visceral disability
  • Hearing impairment (HI)
  • Physical disability (PD)
  • Visual impairment (VI), excluding common eye sight problems, e.g., near-sightedness

Social, emotional and mental health

  • Multiple types of disabilities


2.3 Diagnosis of SEN

If a student is diagnosed or suspects his/her difficulties are related to any type of SEN, he or she is strongly advised to contact SEN Support, Counseling and Wellness Center,  right away for the verification of the disability. Confidentiality to all personal information provided is guaranteed.