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Starting your SEND journey

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Starting your SEND journey
When you think your child might have additional needs, the first step is gathering information, building your knowledge so that you are in a better position to help your child and talk to professionals.

Where can I get information?

You can find information right here on the Local Offer Website

The Local Offer is known as the website for families to find out anything and everything about SEND.

It is regularly updated with information that will take you through your journey from having a concern right through to becoming an adult. Make sure to save this page to your favourites, and keep checking back. Use the 'search a service' option or browse the site from the home page. 

National Websites, such as:

  • Contact: for disabled children & their families 
  • NHS: for information about a range of health conditions 
  • Special Needs Jungle: for targeted information on a range of SEND issues

The Families Information Service is a great place to start when looking for information.

There is a Family Information & Involvement Officer for Disabled Children and Young People who is available to talk to Wednesday 1pm - 5pm and from 9am - 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays. They do not have a case load or work 1:1 with families but they can signpost to services. They are knowledgeable in all services that support SEND, SEND families, referral pathways and how to access them. They can also give you information on early help and how to access it. 

The Families Information service facilitates the monthly Local Offer Drop in which takes place on the first Wednesday of each month from 10am - 12:30pm @ The Ozone, Barnsley Football Club. It's a drop in session where you can meet SEND professionals from: 

  • The Disabled Children's Team
  • Community Paediatrics  
  • EHCP Team 
  • Families Information Service and more 

Parents say that the Local Offer Drop in has been really useful and is a must for families starting their SEND journey. 

Facebook pages can be really helpful. SEND specific pages regularly share useful, targeted information.

Take a look at the pages below, to get you started 

Joining a Parent Group is another good way of gathering information, and finding support for you and your child or young person. Find out from parents what they experienced, what worked well for them.

Many parent groups have active Facebook pages, including: 

Information Sessions can help you find out more about what help is available for your family. Families Information Service, runs regular information sessions, where you can meet SEND professionals, ask questions and meet other parents. 

Ring 0800 0345 340 for more info about these sessions. 

If you feel an assessment would help your child

Start by talking to a professional that knows you and your child.

This could be your health visitor, a teacher, childminder or nursery practitioner, or GP tell them what’s going well, and what you are worried about.

Different services have different criteria for getting an assessment. For example, in Barnsley in order 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 by clicking the box below.

Integrated Review for 2 year olds

When your child is around two years old, you will be invited to attend a health review carried out by a health professional (usually your child’s health visitor or a child development practitioner).

They will talk with you about your child’s progress and help you with any concerns.

If your child attends an early years setting, such as a day nursery, pre-school or childminder, they will discuss your child’s development with you regularly.

When your child is aged between two and three years old they will summarise this discussion on a form and will give you a copy. This is called the ‘Two Year Progress Check’.

At this point, either one or both of these reviews might highlight the need for some additional support for your child. This will involve you, your health professional and your child’s key person or SENCO, meeting to discuss what needs to be done to help your child. This is called an ‘Integrated Review’ because it brings you, your setting and your health professional together ensuring that a complete picture of your child’s development can be drawn and shared.

Try not to worry, the help and support could just be simple activities to do together at home.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, then you should speak to your early years setting (if you have one) or contact the 0 – 19 public health nursing service on 01226 774411 and ask to speak to a health visitor.

You do not have to wait for your child’s review to raise any concerns.

Questions about health

If you have questions about your child’s health talk to:

  •  Your midwife
  •  A health visitor 01226 774411
  • Your GP

They will be able to offer initial advice, and if necessary, they can refer you to other health services; for example Children’s Physiotherapy, or Occupational Therapy.

If your child is in an early years setting or school

Talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

 They can help with.

  • Communication
  • Educational Progress and Development
  • Physical disabilities and adjustments
  • Behaviour
  • Emotional or mental health issues

Click the box below to look at the Education section of the Local Offer for more about the role of a SENCO and how they might help your child.

SEND services : Who can help?
You can search for a service on the Local Offer.

You may not always know the name of the service you are looking for, so try searching by keyword eg ‘diabetes’

Results will show:
  • Contact details
  • Any referral criteria
  • What the service offers
Try it below

Jargon Buster : What does that mean?
Local OfferA local offer gives children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families information to help them find the right help and support in their area.
SENDIASSSpecial Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service
SENCOSpecial Educations Needs Co-Ordinator 
EHCPEducation, Health & Care Plane
Integrated ReviewBringing together you, a health professional and an education professional to review your child's progress.