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If you're new to SEND then knowing where to start finding the right support for your child can be overwhelming.  Your child may have just been diagnosed with SEND, or may be in the process of being assessed. Or perhaps you've just started to notice that your child or young person is developing, behaving, or learning differently to their peers.  It can be a confusing time. The Local Offer website gives you the right information at the right time to support you and your family.

What is SEND?

SEND is the wider term used for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  Special educational needs and can affect a child or young person’s:

  • ability to learn
  • behaviour or ability to socialise and make friends
  • reading and writing
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels
  • physical ability.

Contact, a national charity working for families of disabled children have a very comprehensive list of conditions that may affect a child or young person.

Where do I start?

It can be overwhelming knowing where to start - here, parents of children and young people with SEND share their tips on how to organise yourself and what you can do start finding the right support for you and your child

  • Do some research around your child's area of need, what you are concerned about, or the disability you think they may have.
  • Look into joining some local support groups. You will find there's a lof of information, guidance and resources from fellow parents/carers in the online support groups such as those available on Facebook. Many charities have closed Facebook groups just for parents or carers which you can ask to become a part of. The benefit of looking online is that you can access support from the comfort of your own home.
  • Think about how you can stay organised - it's likely you'll receive lots of paperwork, so you'll need a place to keep it tidy and safe.
  • Keep to your appointments and record all communications if you can. If you speak to someone on the phone for example, make a note of what was discussed or agreed.
  • Try making a file of your child or young person's symptoms and needs. It can be frustrating to keep repeating this information with different professionals, so having a place where everything is written down can help you cope with this.
  • Visit your local Family Centre. You could take your child to a baby and toddler clinic, a place for sharing any concerns you have about your child, not just for weighing babies.
  • Remember that you are not alone and there is support available. If you're struggling to access support, you can start by contacting SENDIASS on 

    Phone 01992 555847 Email info@hertssendiass.org.uk

What kind of support can I expect for my child with SEND?

Education Support for children with SEND

Every child or young person with Special Educational Needs should have SEN support. This means help that is additional or different from the support generally given to other children or young people of the same age.

Most children and young people with SEND have their needs met through mainstream education. Those with more complex needs may need specialist provision.  Every nursery, school or college should have a member of staff called a SENCo/InCo.  Their role is to ensure children with additional needs get the appropriate support to access education. If your child is in nursery or school (or about to start), one of the first things you can do when you have concerns about your child's learning is to talk to the SENCo.

There is help and support available to you and your child even if they're not currently in school, or if you're in the process of choosing the right school for them. You can find out everything you need to know about educating a child or young person with SEND on our Education Support pages

The Specialist Advisory Service teams work in mainstream schools to support children with different special educational needs and disabilities.  You can contact a member of the specialist advisory services to discuss concerns you may have about your child by phoning the Advice Lines which operate in term time. The SENCo can refer to these teams with the parent or carer's consent if they feel that more targeted specialist support is needed. Health professionals can also make a referral to these teams, and families can self-refer if the child is not in a setting.

If your child has received extra SEN support at school but is still not making progress, it may be that your child will need an Education Health Care Plan.  An EHCP is for children with more complex needs, and will set out the extra help and support they will need to overcome barriers to learning.

Support for parents and carers of children with SEND

It's sometimes easy to forget that parents and carers need support too.  In fact, looking after your own physical and mental health is important for both you and your family.

Many parents and carers find that the most valuable source of support and information comes from other parents of children with SEND.  There are many organisations who can help support you and your child. You can find more information on these organisations and charities on our Support Groups and Networks page.

Parenting can be challenging sometimes and your wellbeing is important for both you and your child. In partnership with Herts Parent Carer Involvement, we created a webpage which offers some advice and tips on looking after your mental health

Finding activities and courses which you can do with your child can also be a helpful way of accessing support. Our events page has a range of activities for different age groups, as well as parenting courses, workshops and webinars which can offer practical support.

Affinity Hub is a website which signposts parents to organisations who provide emotional support to parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Financial support

Some parents will find that their income has been affected by a change in circumstances, particularly if you have had to give up your job in order to look after your child at home.

There are ways of applying for funding to help support you and your family.  You can find out more about your different options, such as Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance and tax credits, on the Money section of our website.

Support from Health professionals

Our services for children and young people area has more information about the health services available to SEND families.  The information on these pages is organised by area of need and you will find advice and information to support children and young people with various needs including speech and language, hearing and sight loss, learning difficulties and mental health.

Family Centres and Health Visitors (for children under 5)  offer advice and support to parents and carers.  You can find your local Family Centre here.  If your child is under 5, you can phone 0300 123 7572, choose your local area and then Option 2, to speak to an advisor.  You can ask them to put you in touch with your local Early Years SEND Champion who will be able to signpost you to relevant support in your area. 

If you are concerned about your child's development, or their mental or physical health,  you can also talk to your GP about your concerns.  If appropriate, they will refer you to a paediatrician for assessment.

The Children and Young People's Therapy Service provides Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy for children and young people in Hertfordshire.  For queries on the CYP Therapies service, you can phone 01923 470680 (option 3).

Social Care

Social care is a term that generally describes all kinds of personal care and other practical assistance for children, young people and adults who need extra support.  Some disabled children/young people and their parents will need practical support both inside and outside the home.  Local authorities have legal responsibilities to help families with disabled children.

Most children and young people with SEND will have their needs met by universal services. These are services that anyone can use such as GPs, health visitors, schools and community activities and services.

Children aged between 5 – 19 who receive middle or higher rate disability living allowance or PIP may be able to access our Short Breaks Local Offer and those with continuing needs can be supported by our 0-25 Together service, where they may be entitled to support through Direct Payments.

If you would like to find out more about social care and whether this may be an appropriate support for you and your family, you can phone the customer service centre on 0300 123 4043 and ask to speak to someone in the social care team.


Other organisations who can help

Herts SENDIASS: Impartial and confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and young people and children with SEND.

HPCI is an independent parent carer led organisation which aims to improve services for children and young people aged 0-25 years who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) is a charity offering free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with SEND

 

Page was last updated on: 20/08/2021 15:06:39

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