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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Other support services for special educational needs in under fives

There are schemes to support families with young children with special educational needs (SEN), including Early Support, parent partnership services and home visiting services. These schemes address both your child's needs and yours.

Getting support

Contact your local authority to get hold of the information about all services available in your area like:

  • the full range of government services available locally and how to access them
  • support available from local parents groups and voluntary organisations
  • schemes that 'join up' the people who you come into contact with in supporting you and your child

In addition, every local authority has an 'Early Years Development and Childcare Plan'. This lists local preschools for young children with special educational needs and disabilities.

You can get more information about all these schemes from your local authority's website.

Early Support

Early Support aims to ensure that both parents of children with disabilities and professionals supporting them are better informed about families' needs and requirements. It then identifies how these can best be met.

It provides useful resources that you can use with the professionals who provide help and support for your child. It also offers detailed information on specific types of disability and what you as a parent need to be aware of.

Parent partnership services

Parent partnership services provide support and advice to parents whose children have special educational needs, particularly during the assessment process. They provide accurate and unbiased information on the full range of options and are there to help you make informed decisions about your child's education.

Home visiting services

There are a number of different types of home visiting service:

  • some local authorities have teams of teachers working as part of an Early Years Inclusion Team
  • Sure Start Children's Centres also have support workers who visit families at home
  • families can also receive regular visits through Home Start, which offers a network of trained parent volunteers who support parents needing extra help for many different reasons

Portage is another home visiting educational service for preschool children with additional support needs and their families. It takes place in the child's home, equipping parents with the skills and confidence to help their child. Portage home visitors may be teachers, speech or occupational therapists, nursery nurses, health visitors, community nurses, social workers, or parents or volunteers with relevant experience.

They are all trained by the National Portage Association. These schemes run in many areas. You can find out more by contacting the National Portage Association on 01935 471 641 (Monday and Thursday, 9.00 am to 1.00 pm).

Parent support groups

Parent support groups give you the opportunity to meet other families with young disabled children. There are also several voluntary organisations offering support for parents of children with special educational needs.

Useful contacts

Additional links

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