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 useful workshops to support families with a child who has disabilities.

Workshops are free for parents, carers and grandparents living in Warwickshire.

To book on a workshop visit our Eventbrite page.

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.

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.

Community autism support service (CASS)

This service supports autistic individuals aged 7 years and over to late adulthood, living in Coventry and Warwickshire. The service offers three support pathways.

The first is for children and young people aged 7-18 (up to their 19th birthday) who are on the neurodevelopmental waiting list for an autism diagnosis or have previously received a diagnosis but require support to manage both their and their family’s needs. Support is also offered to parents and carers. The service is NOT open to anyone who is working with CAMHS RISE for therapeutic work, or those working with Social Care or a Family Support Worker.

The provision is for low level support focused around understanding and communicating feelings, sensory integration and processing, behaviour, boundaries and routines, eating and sleeping. A range of support is offered which includes peer support and training for parents and carers.

The second and third pathways are for young adults (aged 18-25 years) or for adults 18 years and older. Support is offered to those who have been diagnosed with autism, are awaiting diagnosis or who think that they may have autism. It is not open to those who are eligible for or receiving learning disability support.

Face to face peer support groups provide comfortable, informal, safe spaces to meet others who may be experiencing similar difficulties.

Act for Autism and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind

Act for Autism in collaboration with Coventry and Warwickshire Mind are offering a series of Warwickshire County Council commissioned workshops as part of the Community Autism Support Service (CASS). There are workshops aimed at both family/carers and professionals covering topics including isolation, anxiety, independence, transitions, connecting with autistic girls, gender identity and understanding autism.

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.


Contact provides workshops tailored to different child age groups, particularly younger children covering topics such as sleep, speech and language and early years entitlements. They also run a series of general workshops appropriate for parents of children of all ages, covering topics such as money matters, support for your child’s anxiety, wellbeing for parent carers and educational support for school age children.

Find out more about Contact’s workshops

SEND local offer

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


Feedback on SEND Local Offer