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Working with SEN and Disabled Children

Posted on 19th December 2016 by Jimmy Haarhoff

Working with SEN and Disabled Children

Physical Education is at the heart of the national curriculum. The government even provide funding (School Sports Premium Funding) to many schools across the UK in order to push physical education in primary schools. But, what about children with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities? Do they get the same amount of physical exercise?

Studies have found that children with special education needs and disabilities are less likely to participate in school sports. This means the rate of health implications is much higher amongst SEN and disabled pupils.

Physical Education helps children learn new skills, develop confidence and find new hobbies and interests along the way. S2S Courses feel very strongly that all children, regardless of ability, should have the same opportunities. We encourage children to participate in our sports sessions and help one another in time of need regardless of their ability.

Removing Barriers

When working with SEN and disabled children, it is very important that barriers to learning are reduced as much as possible, or completely removed.

In order to make physical education sessions more inclusive it helps to anticipate any barriers SEN or disabled children may face in taking part.

Planning Sessions

First of all, identify if the sessions will need to be modified or adapted and substitute in activities that provide the same amount of learning and physical endurance.

Research alternative activities or ask fellow co-workers what has worked for them - don’t worry if you need to implement a brand new activity, as long as everyone can join in, you can’t go wrong.


Adjusting Surroundings

With regards to surroundings, there are many procedures that can be carried out to reduce the overwhelming barriers many SEN and disabled children face each day.

  • Remove any flashing or bright lights - this can overwhelm children and may make it harder for them to focus. It can also cause anxiety levels to rise.
  • Music may also not be a good idea - some SEN and disabled children may enjoy music during their sessions, but make sure it is not too loud. If you see a child getting stressed, turn it down or off (preferably off) and move on, making sure they are ready to do so beforehand.


Behaviour is a common concern, especially in sports, so why not try the positive behaviour strategy? If you see a child doing something wrong, praise their peer for something they’re doing right, this will show children what they should be doing instead.

Will any additional support be needed?

If you have a pupil who is unable to walk, for example, identify if they will need any assistance. You can either ask a support staff member or place the whole group into teams of two, children love helping one another, so let them.

Asking the whole group to get into teams will not draw attention to just one student and, therefore, the individual won’t feel as though they are being singled out or ridiculed.

With this in mind, it is very important you consider any medical implications. You will need to carefully manage a child’s physical regime to cater for specific medical conditions. If you are uncertain about carrying out a specific activity, don’t! Get help first, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you have any questions or need support, please feel free to contact S2S Courses. We have many coaches across many different backgrounds, with knowledge in a wide range of sporting areas. We adapt all our activities when needed and can guide you through the process. Give us a call on 0121 222 5464 or email info@s2scourses.co.uk.

Get Everyone Involved

Get Everyone InvolvedAfter removing barriers, you should start to feel confident in catering your sessions to suit everyone’s needs. SEN and Disabled children will start to widen their knowledge and skills, develop both physically and socially, and understand different roles and responsibilities - lowering the rate of health implications.

S2S Courses offer a wide range of physical activities ranging from soccer and dance to multi-sport events, in term-time and during the school holidays.

If you want to engage your child in unique, fun, energising sports, call S2S Courses today on 0121 222 5464 or email info@s2scourses.co.uk

Jimmy Haarhoff

By Jimmy Haarhoff

Jimmy is Steps2Sport's Managing Director. His vision is to inspire children, young people and families for life.

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