Advice About Childrens Services

We aim to support parents of children and young people with additional needs to have access to good and useful information.

Most children and young people will have their needs met within a mainstream school or additional resources setting, while others will attend special schools. Those with particularly complex needs or multiple needs may benefit from specialist services delivered by independent providers ,such as ourselves.

The basic principle around ensuring your child is receiving the most appropriate support involves identifying their specific needs and agreeing a plan and resources to meet those needs.

Parent and carers views are important and it is always wise to ask for advice early and ensure you are involved in all the decision that affects your child.

Education Resources

Tips for moving LAs with an EHCP

Coronavirus and SEND Law

Special Needs Jungle have produced a parent guide to Coronavirus and it’s impact on SEND Law

Department for Education SEND Guides

The SEND Guide for Parents and Carers

Easy Read Version

This guide explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) works.
It covers:
the law and guidance on which the system is based
places to go for help and further information
details about changes to the system from 1 September 2014
It may also be useful for staff dealing with the parents and carers of children and young people with SEND in:
schools and colleges
early years education settings

How to find a school

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums is a network of over 150 Parent Carer Forums in England. The forums are arranged into 9 regions and are shown below, these follow the same regional breakdown as the Department of Education; each of the regions has a regional representative. All regional representatives work together to form the national steering group.

ISPEA is a national charity providing free legally based advice to families who have children with special educational needs.  All trained volunteers give legally based independent advice and support in England and Wales to help the right education for children with SEND.  There is also considerable information available on their website including common problems, taking action, exclusion, transport, refusal to assess and more. Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are entitled to support with their education. Follow this link to access their free resources.

ISBI is dedicated to helping parents find schools and has been a trusted source of information on independent, special and boarding schools in the UK and international schools worldwide for 25 years. The web site service is free to use for parents and offers a comprehensive search facility for schools on the internet. The website is designed to help you search, select and shortlist schools for further investigation and school visits.

Gabbitas is a directory designed specifically for parents offering step by step guidance on all aspects of finding the right provision for a child with special educational needs.  The Guide includes details of special schools throughout the UK together with information on special needs provision at mainstream independent schools.

Parent Advice and Support Service

Parents can often benefit from live discussion with another parent / trained advisor and the following organisations offer specialist support:

Council for Disabled Children advice for parents

Umbrella supports families living in Derby City and Derbyshire providing a range of exciting activities. Most services in Derbyshire are provided in Amber Valley, Erewash, Derby City, South Derbyshire and South Derbyshire Dales. Anyone can refer a child or young person to Umbrella including families, social workers, teachers and youth workers. We support children and young people aged 5 to 30 with any special need, including physical, sensory, learning & behavioural disabilities and additional needs. We are able to support a child or young person no matter what their disability as our services are person centred to meet individual needs.

SOS! SEN We offer a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

The National Autistic Society Parent to Parent (P2P) is a UK-wide confidential telephone support service providing emotional support to parents and carers of a child or adult with autism.  The service is provided by trained parent volunteers, both mothers and fathers, who offer telephone support from their own homes.

Contact a Family is the only national charity that exists to support the families of disabled children whatever their condition or disability. With over 30 years of experience, their vision is that families with disabled children are empowered to live the lives they want and achieve their full potential, for themselves, for the communities they live in, and for society. They offer support, information and advice to over 340,000 families each year and campaign for families to receive a better deal.  

Educational Equality provides independent information to the families of those with special educational needs throughout England.

Epilepsy Action is the UK’s leading epilepsy organisation and exists to improve the lives of everyone affected by the condition. As a member-led association, we are led by and represent people with epilepsy, their friends, families and healthcare professionals. Telephone: 0808 800 5050

Family Lives works to transform the lives of families making happier relationships, happier families and a stronger society.  Their experience enables families to cope with problems or challenges that they face.  Trained family support workers, paid and volunteer, offer free and immediate and ongoing help on the phone, online or in local communities. Telephone: 0808 800 2222 

The Fragile X Society was formed in 1990 by families whose children had just been diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome. At that time there were no facilities to support and inform families about any aspect of fragile X, and so the Society came into existence. The charity has now grown to consist of a team of dedicated employees and volunteers. Telephone: 01371 875100

The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association is dedicated to supporting people with Prader-Willi Syndrome their families, carers and professionals. Telephone:01332 365676

Special Needs Jungle was started in 2008 by Tania Tirraoro, as a way of preserving the knowledge she had gained successfully navigating the ‘jungle’ of the statementing system for her first younger, then her older son. Over the years, it has expanded from a personal blog into a site that is packed with useful information about special educational needs and disability issues faced by children and their parents. It has personal stories from parents, articles from those providing useful resources and has become a narrative guide to the SEN reforms that have taken place.


Useful information

Guide for young people aged 16 to 25 on how to resolve SEND disagreements

Department of Education Parent & Carers Guide to the New SEN System Aug 2014 SEN Support Flow chart Stage 1 SEN Support Flow Chart Stage 2 SEN Support Flow Chart Stage 3 SEN Support Flow Chart Stage 4 Check Your Childs Key Stage and Year Group This is me! – NAS Assessment Profile This toolkit gives children and young people with autism the chance to say what changes they would like to make to education, health care and social care plans. Suitable for all ages and abilities, This is me! has been written and developed by The National Autistic Society in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and with the help of children and young people on the spectrum. A Guide to the Children and Families Act

Derbyshire County Council Educational Psychology Service

Derbyshire County Council Information for Children Educational Psychology SEP 17 Older Derbyshire County Council Information for Children Educational Psychology SEP 17 Younger Derbyshire County Council Information for Parents and Carers Educational Psychology Service SEP 17

Health Resources

Information Guides


For people with a learning disability

You may be finding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak stressful. You may be worried about changes that might happen because of it, including having to stay at home. You may also be worried about your family or those close to you.

The Children’s Commissioner has published this guide to help children through this period.


Preparing children and young people for wearing a face covering/mask.

In the near future we know that young people and children may experience staff and other in the community wearing face coverings, or they may be expected to wear a face covering themselves. Our schools have been spending time with young people to prepare them for this so they can feel comfortable with this new expectation.

Here are their top tips:

  • Use simple words to explain why people are wearing masks. “to stop the germs” “to keep us safe”
  • Give young people time to look, watch, and get used to what’s new. Allow students to see familiar staff wearing masks, research suggests that younger children (under 6 –developmentally) are not able to recognise familiar adults when wearing a mask, consider using see through masks or clear visors
  • Answer all questions, as consistently and honestly as you can.  It may be useful to have a list of common questions and staff responses (these may be unique to each individual or house)
  • Make the experience fun, personalise the masks to match young people’s interests, put masks on teddies, allow the young people to explore the masks, touch them, hold them, play with them
  • Give choices, all masks do not look or feel alike, many of our young people may struggle with the feel of the mask, give time to touch and explore the masks, think about ties or ear loops which would be best?

Autism Little Learners have a number of social stories, including the use of face coverings/ masks which you may find useful.



Public Health England has easy read guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may affect you

Easy read guide about Coronavirus and how to keep safe


Coronavirus Easy_read_looking_after_your_feelings_and_body @ 30 March 2020

Easy read guide on how to shield the vulnerable from Coronavirus

COVID 19 Easy_read_guidance_on_shielding_March_2020

There is also other information available about coronavirus (COVID-19) from Mencap

Mencap Easy Read information Coronavirus

There are ways you can take care of yourself and prevent spreading the virus:

• as you are asked to now stay at home you should keep in touch with people you trust (like friends, family and employer) over the phone or internet – follow the advice from the stay at home and social distancing guidance
• there may also be self-advocacy groups in your area offering more support online or by phone – you can ask your families or carers for help to search for these groups
• it is also important to get information about coronavirus (COVID-19) only from places you can trust, such as the NHS website

While it is important to be aware of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important not to forget about any other health conditions you might have. Make sure you take any medication you have been prescribed, keep any hospital appointments you have (unless you have been told otherwise by the hospital) and tell people if you can’t attend appointments.

For Autistic people

You may be finding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak stressful and be worried about getting the virus or changes that might happen because of it, including having to stay at home. There are ways you can take care of yourself and prevent spreading the virus.
Managing difficult feelings or behaviours to do with hygiene, washing or fears of infection
Some mental health problems can cause difficult feelings or behaviours to do with washing or hygiene. If you experience this, you might find it hard to hear advice about washing your hands.

It is important to follow government advice on helping to avoid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), but if you find you are going beyond the recommendations, if this is making you feel stressed or anxious, or if you are having intrusive thoughts here are some things you could try:
• don’t keep re-reading the same advice if this is unhelpful for you
• let other people know you’re struggling, for example you could ask them not to discuss the news with you
• breathing exercises can help you cope and feel more in control. You can find a simple breathing exercise on the NHS website and Mind’s pages on relaxation have some relaxation tips and exercises you can try
• set limits, like washing your hands for the recommended 20 seconds
• plan something to do after washing your hands, which could help distract you and change your focus
• it could also help to read some of Mind’s tips in their information on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

The National Autistic have advice and resources which you may find useful.

Resources by the National Autistic Society

Coronavirus and SEND Law

Special Needs Jungle have produced a guide to Coronavirus and SEND Law


The health needs of people with learning disabilities

Useful websites

Choice and medication:      

Care Resources

Cerebra. Families where a child has a brain condition face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. But we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be over come. Our Vision is that every family that includes a child with a brain condition will have the chance to discover a better life together. Our Mission is to listen to families that include children with brain conditions. We use what they tell us to inspire the best research and innovation. Then we help them put the knowledge into practice so they can discover a better life together.


Challenging behaviour: a guide for family carers on getting the right support for children: Supporting Young People with Challenging Behaviour – Links   Advice on where to get grants –      

University College London -Social Media Guide for young people with autism, and their parents