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Services to support children and young people with SEND

There are services within Dorset that support children and young people with SEND, their families, their setting or school. 

Parents and carers can access some of these services. There are other services that need a referral from the school, setting or a professional. 

Health services

Find out more about these health services:

Local council services

See the table for services run by us, the council. Select the service to find out more information or to contact the service: 

Local council services
Local council services What the service provides Who can access the service
Children who are disabled early help and Social Care Teams Needs assessment, care planning and support for disabled children and their parents or carers to live in their homes and communities Children, young people and parents or carers. Professionals using the Interagency Referral Form.
Portage Pre-school Support services (PPS) Supports children throughout the transition from early years to school.  Usually accessed by professionals, but parents or carers with concerns can also contact the service. 

Physical and Medical Needs Service (PMNS)

Helps schools support children and young people with physical and medical needs so that they can take part in all elements of school life. Parents, schools and other professionals. 
The Xchange: news and information for disabled children and their families Provides a dedicated website, monthly enewsletter, online care passport and free Dorset Max Card, plus other benefits for families with children or young people who have a disability. Parents and carers of children and young people who are disabled in Dorset. 

Family Information Service

FIS Facebook page

Provides support, advice and guidance to all families.
The outreach team provide extra support for families with children with SEND who are struggling to find childcare.
Vision Support Service (VSS) and Hearing Support Service (HSS) Help children and young people in their childcare setting, school or setting. Support includes involvement of family and professionals. 

HSS: audiology make referrals following diagnosis of permanent or temporary hearing loss. You can seek medical advice from your GP, school nurse or health visitor if you have a concern about a child's hearing. Referral to HSS will follow, if appropriate.

VSS: professionals can refer children, but the service then contacts parents directly for written consent. Referrals can also come from the school or setting where the child attends. 

Special Educational Needs Specialist Service (SENSS) Help for mainstream schools to support children and young people in school with specific learning difficulties and those with social communication needs.   Referral by the school. 
Behaviour Support Service

Support schools, their pupils, parents and governors in the promotion of:

  • positive behavioural, emotional and social development
  • the effective management of problem behaviour
Usually accessed by schools, but parents, carers and professionals can also make initial contact. 
Educational psychologists Build on work already done within the school and with other inclusion services as part of the graduated process for SEN. They support staff to develop activities for groups of children within a school.

Schools and organisations may contact the service.

Parents can't access the service directly. They should speak to the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) at the child's school about their concerns. 

Independent services

See the table for independent services in Dorset. Select the service to find more information or to contact the service:

Independent servicesWhat support the service providesWho can access the service
Home Start Help in the home to young families who are dealing with difficulties like bereavement, illness or depression. Families must have at least one child under the age of 5. Parents or families.
SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) Helps children, young people and families by offering advice, information and support.  Anyone.

National charity that supports families of disabled children. Support includes:

  • free information workshops
  • local information
  • information guides
  • advice
  • opportunities to meet other families
  • resources for professionals
Parents, carers, other family members and professionals.
Dorset Parent Carer Council (DPCC)

Represents the views of families whose children are disabled in Dorset. They do this by:

  • holding meetings, workshops and steering groups
  • talking at conferences
  • holding consultations with individuals and groups
Anyone can become a member by joining online. 

Provides independent careers guidance to young people and adults across Dorset. Your careers adviser is available to:

  • go to your year 9 annual review 
  • contribute to your transition plan
  • support you with applications for funding
  • help you move smoothly into adult services
  • write your Learning Difficulty Assessment to inform further education and training providers of your needs.
Children and young people with a statement of special educational needs in Dorset.
Global Mediation

Global Mediation provide a disagreement resolution and mediation service for children with SEND.

Parents and families.
Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS)

CEAS provides advice, support and guidance around the educational wellbeing of the children and young people belonging to service and eligible Ministry of Defence families in all 3 services, including issues around SEND.

Parents and families.

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Search our Family Information Directory for more services in Dorset to support your child.

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