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New to Special Educational Needs (SEND)

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.

About Special Educational Needs (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 list of conditions that may affect a child or young person.

Where to 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.

Help with education

All children and young people with SEND are entitled to a mainstream education. This means that all education providers must support children and young people with SEND. In most cases they can do this through special educational needs (SEN) support.

When children and young people need more support than their school or other setting can provide you can consider applying for an education, health, and care (EHC) plan.

Further information can be found at:

Support within education toolbox Parents / carers – Rotherham SENDIASS

Information on all mainstream and specialist education provision in the borough including support services can be found Education and childcare – Rotherham SEND Local Offer

Financial help

As the parent or carer of a child or young person with SEND, you may be entitled to extra benefits to help care for your family.

There are various sources of financial support available that could help.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If your child needs more care, attention, or supervision than a child of the same age who doesn’t have SEND, then you may be able to apply for Disability Living Allowance (under 16) Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults: Overview - GOV.UK or Personal Independence Payment (over 16). Personal Independence Payment (PIP): How to claim - GOV.UK

Parents, carers, and young people with SEND may also get extra money from universal benefits. Universal benefits are available to everyone, not just people affected by SEND, and include funded childcare and Universal Credit.

For more information on financial help go to Money Matters – Rotherham SEND Local Offer