If your child's special needs have been picked up at an early age, you may be thinking about suitable pre-school education and for your child to have opportunities for play, stimulation and interaction. For other children it is when they start attending a playgroup or nursery that difficulties or issues may come to light. Chapter five of the SEN Code of Practice provides guidance to Early Years providers about how they should identify and support children with special needs.
Most children under two can benefit from the facilities available for all very young children, such as parent and toddler groups, music groups or soft play sessions. The Nottinghamshire Help Yourself website, which includes the Local Offer has details of child minders, toddler groups and nurseries, including the local Child Minding Network. Just click on the following link to access this information: Childcare
All nurseries, playgroups, Children's Centres and childcare providers should welcome young children with special needs, but some services aim to offer something extra. And if your child's special needs are complex or severe, you may be looking for something more specialised. Within the Local Offer we have asked providers to highlight the types of support and provision that they may make for specific types of special needs and disabilities.
In addition the Schools and Families Specialist Services support children in Nottinghamshire with complex special educational needs and disabilities and their families from birth to seven, with particular focus on educational issues. Parents can self-refer or a professional can complete a Request for Involvement form.
The service will visit the home and the child and ask a set of standard questions. The case is then discussed at a weekly Allocations Panel. If the referral meets the criteria, then support is decided on and this can be short term or longer term intervention work, dependent upon the child's needs and circumstances, up to the end of Key Stage One if this is appropriate. Support can include home teaching, providing advice and support to parents on a range of issues, transition support, providing advice and training for staff in schools and early years setting, and liaising with other agencies to ensure that support for the child and family is coordinated and effective.