What to do if you think your child has special educational needs

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

  • reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels
  • behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • physical ability.

Learn more about the definition of SEND.

Support available

There are many ways in which you can get support for your child or young person and your family. We've put together 10 easy questions for you to find out who you can talk to, and what support they can offer.

Support in education

Most children and young people with SEND can have their needs met in mainstream education settings (early years, schools and colleges) and will be given support.

Every education provider has an obligation to support children and young people with SEND, as outlined in the:

Most children with SEND don’t need an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

However, an EHC plan may be needed if:

  • a child or young person's needs cannot be met through the support they are currently getting in their mainstream educational setting, where the education setting has done everything it can and they require additional support.
  • despite the support provided, the child or young person isn't making progress in their learning or development, or when the progress they are making is due to significant levels of support.

Who to talk to first

The first step is to talk to your child or young person's education setting to share any concerns you have and discuss support that can be put in place them.

You may be able to access support from local community services via: