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Finding extra support for your disabled child outside EHCP

An education, health and care plan (EHCP) is a legal document issued by your local authority. It outlines the support your child must have to meet their Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Whether your child has an EHC plan or not, you may still get extra support from your local authority.

Accessing the Local Offer

One of the best places to find out what support is available is the Local Offer section of your local authority’s website.

Each Local Offer should list information, advice and services, such as play schemes and extra-curricular activities, available for children and young people with SEN.

The Local Offer should also give you information about what respite care and short breaks are available to you as a family and tell you what funding you can get for this.

What’s available in your Local Offer depends on where you live. Your local authority may offer services from other authorities if they have agreements with them.

Contact your local authority to find your Local Offer (GOV.UK)

Speak to others

Talk to others about what support is available to you. 

Your school

Speak to your school's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). The SENCO manages support for children with additional needs and liaises with parents, teachers and other professionals responsible for their support. They will be able to advise you about what’s available and how you can get it.

Local parent advice services

Your local authority has a duty to support your child to achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes. For advice about how the school is meeting your child’s educational needs, contact your local parent advice service.

The service may have a different name depending on your area. They’re sometimes called:

  • Parent Partnership 
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)
  • Information Advice and Support Service (IASS)

Find your nearest service (Information Advice and Support Services Network)

Social services

If your child receives Disability Living Allowance, you will need to make a special request to social services to ask for a referral for short breaks. These can be anything from soft play sessions, trips to the cinema or play schemes for your child.

If your child has complex needs or you require respite care, ask social services about whether a care package is available. If care packages are offered by your local authority, a social worker would carry out an assessment to find out what help you might need. 

If you have a named social worker, include them in discussions as they can refer you to services and support.

Other parents

Talk to other parents or carers of children or young people about what support is available. 

Many local authorities have parent carer forums that work with the council to make sure that local services meet the needs of disabled children and their families. Ask your local authority if there is a parent carer forum in your area.

Contact your local authority (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 30/07/2021

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