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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 the courses are designed specifically with additional needs in mind, these include a specialist sleep programme and the Incredible Years programme.

The specialist programmes, such as Incredible Years, are intensive, targeted interventions, with limited availability. To ensure accessibility for those families most in need, it is essential that the above stepped approach is followed. Please speak with your allocated worker/school or the FSW helpline for more information.

The courses are offered on a rolling programme:

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. 

Find your free code and to book on a course - free online courses for parents.

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.

The Dimensions Tool.

Rise themed sessions

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

Rise - more information and how to book a themed session.

Community autism support service (CASS)

This service provides autism support for children, young people and adults across Coventry and Warwickshire. It is open for those with a diagnosis of autism or who are on the waiting list for an autism diagnosis. The service covers individuals and parents or carers.

Start by calling the Navigation Team to ask about available support. The team is made up of autistic individuals and those with lived experience, including parents or carers of autistic individuals.

CASS - more information for the community autism support service

CASS also run training and education sessions led by autistic individuals and parents of autistic children. The Toolbox series are short sessions with an element of ongoing peer support, and the workshop sessions are a longer format around relevant themes.

There are also two longer workshops available for parents and carers, led by Act for Autism. The CASP programme is for families with children up to age 12 and the TASP programme is for families with children aged 13 to 18.

CASS - more information on the training and education sessions

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.

Moving up; for parents and carers of children moving up to a new school

Moving up and changing school is a big change for children and parents or caregivers. It’s a new stage of growing independence and separation. Fears and worries are normal as well as excitement, as with each stage of childhood development. As parents, your role is to help children cope with and overcome their fears, to nurture them to feel brave and capable.

The ‘moving up’ hub includes free video guides, relevant online course information and topical blogs for parents and carers on preparing for new school transitions.

Visit the moving up hub -

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.

Find out more and book a Brighter Beginnings or other family workshops - Contact

National Autistic Society e-learning

The National Autistic Society e-learning modules have all been written and designed by autistic people and other autism specialists. They have been created to provide knowledge and understanding of autism at your own pace and at a time convenient to you. View the e-learning modules which offer includes a range of topics which can be purchased individually or as specific bundles. Some of the modules are free to access, including “A guide to the mental health experiences and needs of autistic teenagers”, “Managing money” and “Finding employment”.

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.

More information on the Earlybird Programme

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.

Sign language

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

Sign language courses in Warwickshire (PDF, 129KB).

The Curly Hair Project

The Curly Hair Project (CHP) is a social enterprise founded by autistic author Alis Rowe. Alis hosts a range of e-learning, webinars and resources including short animated films and a blog.

Find out more about the Curly Hair Project

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.

Time Out for Families of Children with Additional Needs.

Understanding Autism course

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.

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.

Find out more and book onto this University of Derby course.


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

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.

Find out more about one to one telephone advice.

SEND local offer

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


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