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Support for children with special educational needs (SEN)

Does your child have special educational needs?

Find out about your child's rights to education.

Educational help and support for children with a learning disability

If you're a parent, guardian or carer of a child of school age with a learning disability , you'll want to know what support they should get and how to make sure they get it.

Our suite of pages about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are full of guidance and useful information.

Where to find more support and advice about SEND

The Learning Disability Helpline team are a great source of information about special educational needs (SEN).

Plus, lots of parents and carers of people with a learning disability happily share experiences and advice on our online community .

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Frequently asked questions about educational support for children with a learning disability

SEN means Special Educational Needs.

SEND means Special Educational Needs and Disability.

Every council must have a Local Offer of support it expects to be available in the local area for children and young people with SEND. The local offer will be available on the council’s website – if you are unsure, you can find your local council.

The local offer should have information about the following types of support for children and young people with SEND:

  • Education support, including nurseries, schools and colleges. 
  • Health support, including therapies available to children or young people. 
  • Social care support, including short breaks. 
  • Support to help young people to live independently.
  • Support to help young people to find employment opportunities. 
  • Support to help young people find suitable accommodation.

All councils must provide the opportunity for you to give feedback about your local offer, and they must publish how they intend to address any issues you raise.

Every council must provide an independent Information, Advice and Support Service. The support service is available for children and young people with SEND and their parents.

The IASS will provide information on things like:

  • local policies and practice around SEND
  • the law on SEND
  • the Local Offer
  • personal budgets
  • other sources of support.

The IASS will also provide support for children, young people and families, including:

  • advocacy
  • key working
  • help to complain if something goes wrong
  • Independent Supporters who can support families and young people with SEND to get an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Find out more about your local information, advice and support service.

An EHC plan sets out what help a child or young person needs while they're at school. This is known as a special educational need. 

An EHC plan also outlines any special educational provision that child might receive. Your local authority will need to assess your child to decide whether they need an EHC plan.

Find out more on our website.

The first thing you can do is request a meeting with the people involved or write to the school or local authority about your concerns. This problem solving toolkit from disability charity Cerebra has some helpful model letters and tips for preparing for a meeting.

If the people involved aren't able to find a satisfactory solution, you can take your concerns further and you may end up in contact with the SEND tribunal.

Find out more on our website.

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