Parenting support for families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Some parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities will find that the workshops and family support offered through our early help programme will meet their needs. Others may feel isolated and frustrated that the ‘standard parenting advice’ doesn’t seem to work for them.

We would always advise starting with the early help parenting courses and/or discussing your concerns with a family support worker. It may be that a more targeted intervention, supported by the early help team, would better suit your needs.

Early help parenting courses

Early help parent courses are suitable for all families, including those with children who may have additional needs. Some of our courses are designed specifically with additional needs in mind - these include a specialist sleep programme and the incredible years ASD specific programme.  

The courses are offered on a rolling programme:

Children with disabilities workshops

The Children with Disabilities team are running a variety of workshops to support families with a child who has disabilities. These will all be taking place at the Lillington Children and Family Centre.

There are 5 tickets available for each event. Each ticket admits one person.

Understanding your child with additional needs

Understanding your child with additional needs is an online parenting guide specifically designed for parents and carers of children with additional needs. Anyone involved with your child can do the course for themselves as well.

It is equivalent to a 10 session group for parents so it is a big course with lots of relevant content which you can take at your own pace, when it suits you and your family. It is set out in two sections. Level 1 covers the foundation for understanding your child. Level 2 looks at some specific aspects of parenting such as sleeping and anger management, together with more about how we interact with each other. 

Dimensions of Health and Wellbeing

Dimensions of Health and Wellbeing is a free, online tool providing self-care information to support adults, children and young people in Coventry and Warwickshire. Self-care information is tailored to a person’s own needs and the challenges they face and is available 24/7.

Rise themed sessions

Rise offer themed sessions on areas of early mental health and wellbeing concerns parents and carers may have.

Entrust Care Partnership

Entrust Care Partnership is a Warwickshire not for profit service set up to offer support to families caring for children, young people and adults with disabilities, additional or specific needs. Entrust offers services where families can participate in group activities, attend workshops and receive support either in a group setting or one to one.

Brighter Beginnings and themed family workshops

These workshops are run by Contact, the national charity for families with disabled children. Brighter Beginnings is for families with children who have additional needs and are at the beginning of their journey. There are separate workshops for families with younger children and for those with older children. Currently these are being offered as free one off virtual events as a way of delivering family support during these challenging times.

Contact also run themed workshops for families of children with additional needs on a variety of topics such as money matters, managing positive behaviours, sleep support and more.

Earlybird Programme

This course has been designed by the National Autistic Society and is for parents and carers who have a pre-school child diagnosed with an autistic spectrum condition. The course offers advice and guidance on strategies and approaches for dealing with young autistic children. It is also a chance for parents and carers to meet and share their experience with other parents and carers in a similar situation.

You should receive a leaflet about this programme from the specialist consultants when your child receives a diagnosis, and your name will automatically be added to the booking list. If you haven’t received this leaflet, please contact the consultants directly.

Autism support programme

Designed and led by Act for Autism. Two interactive programmes for parents of an autistic child or teenager. Four 3-hour sessions over a 4-week period, with a maximum of 15 parents per group:

  • CASP: Children's Autism Support Programme for parents/carers of children aged 4-12
  • TASP: Teenage Autism Support Programme for parents/carers of young people aged 13-18

The four three-hour sessions will cover:

  • Autism - a brief history and context. Your child and their autism
  • The sensory world - experience it and consider how it impacts on your child
  • Communication - making connections and building a secure base
  • Transitions, advocacy, planning next steps and problem solving 

Courses are free and will run throughout 2022.

Dads of Disabled Children: A resource for dads by dads

The Dads of Disabled Children is a research advisory group set up in 2019 which consisted of a group of local fathers working with the University of Warwick. Their project involved a consideration of the well-being of disabled children and their families. The dads have created a video-based resource on key themes around maintaining their own well-being within the family.

Find out more information and view the videos on the Dads of Disabled Children page.

SEND supported

SEND supported runs in the south of the county. They can help families better understand and manage their child's special educational needs and disabilities. As well as information and resources for families they run a rolling programme of bookable workshops on autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, PDA and sensory needs.

Children’s community autism support service (CCASS)

This service is for children, young people and their families who are on the neurodevelopmental waiting list for an autism diagnosis, or who have previously received a diagnosis but require support to manage their family's needs. 

The service offers low level support only, with a focus on understanding and communicating feelings, sensory integration and processing, boundaries and routines, and eating and sleeping. During the current pandemic, the service is not currently open for one-to-one referrals but is offering a range of online support, including social peer support for children and for parents/carers and online training for parents/carers. The service also offers online resources for autism and an adult autism support service:

Sign language

We have put together a list of the sign language courses currently available in Warwickshire.

The curly hair project

The curly hair project (CHP) is a social enterprise founded by autistic author Alis Rowe. Whilst not local to Warwickshire, Alis has hosted regular workshops in the county, as well as online workshops and webinars. Her website also hosts a range of resources including short, animated films and a blog. Find out more about:

Time Out for Parents

Time Out for Parents with Additional Needs is a group opportunity run by Care for the Family, which is designed to support and encourage each other through sharing ideas and experiences as you progress through the programme. The focus is on children aged between 3 and 11 years of age with a disability or special need, particularly those who have learning and developmental differences.

Understanding autism

This is a Future Learn free online course delivered by the University of Kent. It is designed for weekly study (four weeks at three hours per week) to give an understanding of autism from diagnosis to life with autism. Please note that free access to the course only lasts for six weeks with an optional upgrade of £52 after this.

Understanding autism, asperger’s and ADHD

This is a free course run by the University of Derby. It is designed to help you learn more about autism, asperger’s and ADHD, their differences and the importance of understanding the classification, assessment and diagnosis. There are six units which take approximately three hours of study each.

One to one telephone advice

If you feel that a one to one consultation with a specialist practitioner would be more suited to your needs, please refer to the support listed on the telephone consultation page.

SEND local offer

More information, advice and support for families who have children and young people with additional needs.


Feedback on SEND Local Offer