If you are worried and think your child needs extra support, speak to the people already involved in your child’s life; such as their teacher, nursery or pre-school staff or your GP.
You are best placed to spot specific behaviours or trigger points for your child. Perhaps keep a diary about your concerns so that you can discuss this with the people supporting your child.
Remember, children can behave differently between school and home, sometimes schools don’t see the triggers you do and sometimes schools see triggers that don’t happen at home. It’s good to talk these things through.
It can be difficult to know whether your child needs additional support, as they are all different and can reach age-related expectations at different times. The Foundation Years website offers a useful guide about what to expect, when? which gives an overview of developmental milestones and should help you to know what to expect as your child develops.
You can also talk to nursery or pre-school workers, teachers or a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) about the support your child needs. Every school has a SENCo who is responsible for all SEND services within their school, and is there for parents, carers and families to talk to if they have any questions or concerns.
Your school or early years setting can help; they can also get more support from other professionals such as:
- Babcock LDP have advisory teachers who support schools and educational psychologists who support children and young people
- Children and Family Health Devon (CFHD) have health professionals and therapists who support children’s health needs
- Disabled Children’s Service for children between 0 and 18 with a disability; they assess children to find out what help they could be entitled to
How does support work in schools?
SEND support works best when we try lots of different ways and methods to support a child. Then we watch and see what works best so that we can do more of the things that help, and reduce anything that the child doesn’t respond to. This is known as a graduated approach.
In Devon, there is a Graduated Response Tool that is used by people that work with children to provide ideas and more information. This helps schools look at the different ways children can be supported.
Supporting children with SEND is everyone’s responsibility, but schools have a detailed process to follow if one of their pupils has needs that need supporting to make sure the child gets all the help they require.
- identify and assess if a child or young person has SEND
- put in place additional support
- inform parents about the assessment
- put in place a plan for additional provision
- do their best to make sure children get the support they need
- ensure that children and young people with SEND engage in the same activities that all other learners do
- review progress with the family
When they review the support with the child’s family, it may be that more help is needed to help the child reach their full potential.
If this is the case, it may mean that Devon County Council is required to provide more specialist educational support, and the school or you as a parent or carer can request an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment to find out if more help is needed.
If the assessment shows that an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required, this plan will give details of that extra help.
This could be more specialist provision in mainstream schools (some schools have special units designed to provide specialist support for certain needs) or a placement in a special school.