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Starting your SEND Journey

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Noticing a difference

Remember that every child develops at their own pace, and differences do not always mean that there is a problem, but trust your instincts as a parent. 

If you feel that something is different or if your child's behaviour raises concerns, it's worth looking into so that they can get the help they need. 

It doesn't always mean getting them diagnosed with something, it may be simple things you can try at home or at school to make things easier for them. Support is available with or without a diagnosis.

You can speak to a health visitor or school nurse on 01226 774411 to talk about child development if there is anything that you are unsure about. 

Information and support for you

When you think your child might have additional needs, you may want to find out lots of information and build your knowledge so that you are in a better position to help your child and talk to professionals.

The Local Offer Website is a good place to start, it's designed to help you find the information you need from noticing a concern, through diagnosis, and into adulthood. Make sure to save it to your favourites, and keep checking back.

You can use the 'search a service' option or browse the site from the home page.

Watch this short video all about the Local Offer Website 👇

Getting Information Face-to-Face 

In Barnsley, there's a monthly information session called the Local Offer Drop-in. It happens on the first Wednesday of the month from 10 am to 12:30 pm at The Ozone, Barnsley Football Club.

It's a place where you can meet SEND professionals such as the Disabled Children's Team, Community Paediatrics, EHCP Team, SENDIASS, Families Information Service, and more. Parents and carers find it helpful, especially if they're just starting their journey with SEND.

Talking to other parents who understand 

Joining a Parent Group is a good way of getting information, it's good to find out from parents what they experienced, and what worked well for them.  

Many parent groups have active Facebook pages, including:

If your child is at school or nursery they may offer their own SEND parent group or coffee morning, talk to the SENCO to find out if they have one. 

Sign up to the Disabled Children's Register

Be the first to know about new support groups, local services, and exciting events, and have your say in public consultations, about SEND.

You don't need a diagnosis to join the voluntary disabled children's register.

Read more about the Disabled Children's Register here

Online Support Hub from Community Paediatrics

If you aren't sure, you could look at the Online Support hub from Community Paediatrics and Autism Assessment Service. 

You will find helpful guides and information about common concerns including:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Behaviours that challenge
  • Education
  • Genetic Conditions
  • Sensory Processing issues
  • Toileting 

Find out more: 

Visit the hub here: Community Paediatrics & Autism Assessment Support Hub

If you feel an assessment, or review would help your child

You can talk to a professional who knows you, it could be your GP, Health Visitor or someone at your childcare setting or school and see what they think, together you can request an Early Help Assessment which will get you on the right pathway to support.

Different services have different criteria for getting an assessment. For example, in Barnsley to access the Autism assessment pathway (ASDAT pathway) you must start with an Early Help Assessment. Read more about Early Help for a child with SEND here. 

Find out more
You can read more about the ASDAT pathway in Barnsley on the Paediatric Autism Assessment Service webpage

Integrated Review for 2-year-olds
Every child in Barnsley is offered a review when they are about 2 years old it's a golden opportunity to think about how your child is progressing and how to support their future development. It's usually done by a health visitor or a child development practitioner from Barnsley's 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service.

What to expect
📝 You'll get a letter, inviting you to make an appointment, and a questionnaire. You know your child best and the information you share is very important, it can be fun too, having a go at the different activities with your little one!

🎨 If your child goes to an early years setting their key worker will discuss your child's development with you and complete a summary of your child’s learning and development, before the review.
This is why it's called an ‘Integrated Review’ because it brings you, your setting and your health professional together making sure that everyone gets the full picture of where your child is at in their development.

🤝 The reviews might highlight the need for some additional support for your child, and together you will come up with a plan of what would help. It could just be simple activities to do together at home.

You do not have to wait for your child’s review to raise any concerns, speak to your childcare provider if you have one, or the 0-19 Public Health Nursing Team on 01226 774411

Barnsley Specialist Children's Health

Barnsley Speech & Language have an amazing toolkit section on their website packed with resources for families. 


  • Activities to support speech and language while you wait for an appointment 
  • Games and methods to help stretch children's vocabulary 
  • Information about stammering, tongue tie and swallowing difficulties
  • Helpful videos, vlogs and much more 

Find out more:

Barnsley Speech & Language Toolkit 

Barnsley Speech & Language YouTube Channel 


Portage Service

🏡 Portage is a home visiting educational service for very young children with SEN and disabilities.
Specially trained home visitors will visit you regularly and support you and your child to enjoy play and learning activities.

The home visitors will talk to you about a developmental plan or profile, which will detail your child’s abilities, strengths, support needs and future learning goals.

The Portage Service is free and can be provided soon after the birth of your child, or when their additional needs start emerging.

If your child is in an early years setting or school

If your child is in an early years setting or school and you start to notice a difference in their development, you should talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

If your child goes to a childminder, they will be the SENCO for that setting. 

They can help you get support with.
  • Communication difficulties
  • Educational Progress and Development
  • Physical disabilities and adjustments
  • Behaviour
  • Emotional or mental health issues
👩‍🏫 It might mean making adjustments to the way they teach your child, trying new strategies to help them or referring to other services for support. 

🌻 SEND Support Parent Guide
Barnsley Council and The Parent/Carer EHC Discussion Group have created a Parent Carer and Young People guide to SEND support in school. Download your copy here

Finding a SEND service on the Local Offer Website

As you start the SEND journey, you'll come across different services depending on what your child needs. The Local Offer has a database of services, where you can find:

  • Contact details
  • Any referral criteria
  • What the service offers
Try it below

You may not always know the name of the service you are looking for, so you can also search by keyword eg ‘diabetes’
(just make sure you are adding it to the right box!) 

Please note 
If you are looking for services which may not be SEND-specific, eg, Family Hubs (these are universal services) you'll find these on the Virtual Family Hub

Contact us

Need help?

0800 0345 340

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Barnsley's Virtual Family Hub

💻 Visit the Virtual Family Hub 

Where you'll find information about Family Hubs & Start For Life, Universal Services, Help with childcare costs and childcare providers, leisure groups, holiday clubs and activities and much more!