The home environment is important in supporting a child to learn, but when life is taken over by hospital visits and therapies, it might not seem a priority.

It's important for parents to understand that learning can take place any time and be incorporated into daily routines. It doesn’t need to be a planned session; sharing a book, singing a song or playing a game are all about learning too. A network of supportive family and friends can help, by recognising when parents need a break and stepping in.

When a child starts nursery or school, the family has an important role in sharing information. Staff may need training if they will be required to administer medication, act in a potential emergency or ensure that communication systems are consistent. Take the opportunity to talk to the teacher or nursery leader first so the staff team can prepare for a smooth start. Our advice on transition will give you an idea of what information is useful.

Make a communication passport to help the staff get to know your child before they start. A home/school diary can then be used to provide ongoing communication.

For a child with additional needs, sharing information is important to ensure they receive joined-up, consistent support. So schools will often ask parents for their permission to share information with other professionals. The school special educational needs co-ordinator (Senco) will be able to provide more details about who is sharing the information and what might be included at each stage.

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