The Equality Act 2010 says that someone has a disability if they have:
'A physical or mental impairment, which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities'.
Long-term means it's lasted a year or more. Substantial means it's not minor.
- hearing and sight impairments
- long-term physical or mental health conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, anxiety and depression
- conditions that change, so sometimes symptoms are minor and at other times they’re more severe, such as rheumatoid arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME)
- conditions that affect development, such as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
- learning disabilities
- brain injuries
Children and young people with these kinds of conditions don’t necessarily have SEN, but there are large overlaps between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Not all children with special educational needs are also disabled.
You can find out more about what a disability is, and isn’t, by looking at the guidance about the Equality Act on GOV.UK.