SEN and disability in the early years - for parents and carers

Some children may need extra help because of a range of special educational needs. 

Such as:

  • Thinking and understanding
  • Physical or sensory difficulties
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Behavioural, emotional and social difficulties

A person has 'Special Educational Needs', often known as 'SEND', if they have a learning difficulty or disability that means they need special educational support.

What to do if you think your child has an additional need

If you are worried about your child's progress, development, or behaviour, you may like to speak to one of the following:

  • A health professional - Medical Needs and concerns should be raised with your GP or health visitor. If needed, they can make any referrals to other services.
  • Early Years Provider – speak to your child’s early years setting who can offer further support through the SENCO.

Support available through your child’s Early Years Setting

All settings will have a nominated member of staff to act as Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). The role of the SENCO is to:

  • ensure all practitioners in the setting understand their responsibility to children with SEND
  • ensure that children with SEND are identified and their needs are met
  • advise and support colleagues in the setting
  • make contact with other professionals and outside agencies working with children, such as Health Visitors and Speech and Language Therapists

The SENCO will follow the Graduated Response for Early Years, The Graduated Response outlines the support, adaptations and strategies that early years providers can put in place for any with child emerging or identified Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Where to find support and advice

Local Offer – find services in you area that offer  support and advice.

Early Start Hubs - All children and parents can access The Cheshire East Parenting Journey in their local Childrens centre / family hub. 

  • Sensory rooms – can be booked for you to enjoy together.
  • Little stars – is a stay and play especially for children with additional needs.

Where to find out more

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023

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