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Extra help for pre-school children

Children up to statutory school age with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) may be able to get home visits and extra teaching to help with their development.

There are 4 teams who help:

  • Portage service – working with children from birth to their third birthday
  • Early Years SEND Inclusion Team – working with children from birth until they go to school
  • Early Years Autism Team – working with children from birth until they go to school
  • Early Years Inclusion Practitioners – supporting children in settings and foundation stage of school who are at risk of exclusion

Ask for extra help

If you think your child needs extra help with their development, the first step is to discuss concerns with professionals involved. If needed, an application to the Early Years Team can be made.

The Early Years Referral Panel will look at your application and decide which service is best placed to meet your needs. The panel meets every two weeks during the term-time.

Your child can also be referred by their:

  • playgroup or nursery
  • public health nurse (health visitor)
  • paediatrician

Early Years Panel Referral Form 2019-20   

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Portage service

‘Portage’ home visitors work with babies and young children (up to the age of 3) who have significant learning difficulties and disabilities.

Your portage home visitor will:

  • find out what your child can do, what they like to do and what you would like to teach your child
  • agree 6-month goals for what you want your child to achieve
  • break these goals down into activities
  • show you how to teach the activities
  • work with other professionals who are helping your child

They’ll visit you either weekly or every 2 weeks during school term times.

When your child is 3 years old

Your child may be transferred to the Early Years SEND Inclusion Team if they need help at home after their third birthday.

Early Years SEND Inclusion Team

Specialist advisors and practitioners may visit your child and your family at home or at their nursery or both. They work with children who have a:

  • much greater difficulty in learning than most others of the same age
  • disability that stops them doing activities that most other children of the same age can do

They work with children from just after birth until they start school.

Your Early Years SEND Inclusion advisor or practitioner can:

  • teach your child in your home and show you how you can teach your child
  • use play to help your child learn by observing and imitating them – this is called ‘modelling learning’
  • give you and the nursery advice on how to improve your child’s learning, communication, personal and emotional skills
  • contribute to an assessment
  • tell you about other help you can get for your child

Early Years Autism Team

Specialist advisors and practitioners work with children with a diagnosis of autism, from birth until their first term in school. They may work at home or in settings or both. The Early Years Autism Team can:

  • Develop understanding around sensory processing and social communication
  • Model some strategies for parents and professionals
  • Give advice about environments and the role of the adult in the nursery
  • Contribute to an assessment

Early Years Inclusion Practitioners

The Inclusion Practitioners work with children at risk of exclusion, until they are statutory school age. This work is based in settings and schools and can take the form of:

  • Advice
  • Modelling
  • Intensive support
  • Supporting dual placements
  • Supporting statutory assessments
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