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Devon’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer

Early years – universal support

Universal support is available to all children through midwives, health visitors, GPs and early years settings.

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.

Where does universal support come from?


Midwives provide support for you and your child for a short time after giving birth.

Health visitors

Health visitors are there to support you and your child through their early years. They can help with things including:

  • emotional and mental health
  • healthy lifestyles
  • toileting
  • sleep problems
  • support with housing and financial concerns
  • developmental reviews

Early years settings

Early years settings include nurseries, childminders, pre-schools and other organisations which enable children to develop a variety of skills.

Early years settings use the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to support planning activities for your child’s development including supporting social skills, independence, confidence and self-esteem, communication and language skills, as well as your child’s physical and cognitive development.

They can support you with activities to do with your child, parenting advice, play sessions, meeting other parents, universal and targeted support for your child and links to specialist support services for SEND.