Most children with special educational needs will get the support they need from their local school.
If you as a parent, your child's school or another professional have concerns about your child's development, his or her teacher should follow a step-by-step process to provide them with extra support. During school years the 2 stages of assessment and support are School Action and School Action Plus.
At each of these stages the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) at your child's school will help to monitor their progress and will draw up an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which should be reviewed regularly – ideally every term. The SENCO will also work with other professionals to get the right package of support for your child. As a parent you should play an important part in developing the IEP, and your child's views should also be considered.
We didn't even know my daughter had autism until she went to school and the SENCO realised something was wrong. The school have done everything for her.
If your child needs additional support, his or her school may make an arrangement with the SENCO to provide extra help. This support will be provided within the school, and with school resources.
School Action Plus
If your child's school cannot meet his or her needs they may request additional external support, for example, from a physiotherapist, a speech and language therapist or an educational psychologist.
For most children, these stages will provide enough support to meet their educational needs. However, in some cases you as a parent, the school or a professional may decide your child should have a statutory assessment to see whether they need additional support. If they do, your child will be given a statement of special educational needs. This final assessment is different from other assessments because the statement is a legal document and the local authority must provide the educational support that it describes.