SEND…Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

What is SEND?

There are legal definitions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice is guidance on the laws which affect SEND. This extract from the SEND Code of Practice explains what Special Educational Needs (SEN) means.

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child or young person of compulsory school age is said to have SEN if they:

  1. Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age.
  2. Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

A child under compulsory school age has SEN if they fall within the definitions above or would do if special educational provision was not made for them.

Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’. This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Where a disabled child or young person requires special educational provision they will also be covered by the SEN definition.






Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) staff will come towards/clinics to talk to patients/relatives/carers regarding concerns that you may have.

The PALS team aims to help patients, carers, staff and the public by:

Listening to your concerns about your care and providing support and help to resolve them

Answering questions about your care in our hospitals

Providing ‘on the spot help’ by giving advice, information and support

Helping disabled patients who experience any difficulty in accessing our services

Passing on your compliments to our staff

Referring patients to the complaints department

Our PALS team, which covers the Lister, New QEII and Hertford County hospitals and the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, is based at the Lister.  The team can be contacted on 01438 285811 or




PALMS (Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning disability and Mental health Service) works across the county providing a specialist multi-disciplinary approach to children and young people aged 0-19 who have a global learning disability and/or Autistic Spectrum  Disorder and their families.

PALMS clinicians comprise a ‘virtual team’ delivering a consistent service in a variety of community settings.



The vision for DSPL4 is to :

Support local schools, early years settings, colleges and services to provide quality provision that meets the needs of children and young people with SEN  and disabilities

Work in partnership with schools and settings to ensure that short and long term outcomes for children and young people with SEN and disabilities are improved and there is evidence of their achievements and progress socially, emotionally and academically

Work  proactively and collaboratively with parents, young people, schools and other stakeholders through co-production to increase participation in service planning, delivery and review

Manage resources in a transparent way to meet local needs and achieve the best value fo money


Hertfordshire Local Offer

The Local Offer lets parents and young people know what special educational needs and disabilities services are available in Hertfordshire, and who can access them.


Short Break Local Offer

Short breaks offer disabled children and young people the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities, giving their families a break and providing them with the confidence their child is well supported by a trained worker.

They include holiday and Saturday clubs, and activities range from canoeing and computers skills to Lego.


Carers In Herts

Carers in Hertfordshire provides advice, information and support to unpaid carers – people looking after someone who is elderly, disabled, has a physical or mental illness or who misuses drugs or alcohol.

Ensuring Hertfordshire’s carers are identified, supported and stay well, is at the heart of our work. We give carers a voice with opportunities to meet other carers. We also enable carers to share their views or experiences with those providing or planning health and social care services in Hertfordshire.

We support carers of all ages – children and adults – if they live, work or care in Hertfordshire. Our services are provided free to carers.

We also have a Care Service in Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Watford, which involves professional Care Support Workers providing individual packages of care to people with care needs through domiciliary care or Carers’ Breaks.


Activities/Leisure for children with additional needs

Special Needs Trampolining

Learn and Develop new trampolining skills with these great sessions for children with special needs. Children must wear socks, and no jeans or jewellery.Date: Every Saturday (term time only)
Time: 4.15 – 5.15pm
Venue: The John Warner Sports Centre
Age: Under 16
Cost: £4.90 per session

Special Needs Swimming

These supervised sessions are organised in partnership with Hoddesdon Swimming Club who will be offering advice and assistance to those taking part in the session.
Date: Every Sunday
Age:   Any
Cost:  Free for both carer and swimmer

Time: 3.30 – 5pm
Venue: The John Warner Sports Centre

Time: 4.15 – 5.45pm
Venue: The Laura Trott Leisure Centre

Contact Details: /

01992 623345/01992 445375



CHIPS stands for Children’s Integrated Playschemes. We offer play and social opportunities for children with additional needs aged 3 to 19 living in East Hertfordshire and the Borough of Broxbourne.

Brothers and sisters are strongly encouraged to join as we believe that all children should play together, regardless of their needs. Simple play is vital in any child’s development.

It is not only fun, play is a key component of healthy living by enabling good physical, emotional, mental and social development.


Special Olympics East Herts

Aim to:

Provide quality sports training 48 weeks per year to encourage fitness, commitment and discipline through sport.

Provide as many Special Olympics athletes as possible, with the opportunity to participate, train and compete in a wide variety of sports and events.

Provide quality coaching.

Help athletes develop social skills and build friendships through the interaction and team spirit of their sports training and competition.

Provide athletes with the experience of new cultures when travelling abroad.

Encourage athletes to compete and participate for the fun of it, rather than focus on winning.

Promote the inclusion of people with a learning disability in mainstream sport.

SOEH will continue to work in partnership with a number of agencies to create and sustain opportunities for people with a learning and or physical disability to become involved and stay involved in sport and physical activity through the continued development of SOEH training sessions and regular competitions. We also aspire to teach our athletes to enjoy winning and be gracious in losing and join the healthy, competitive but inclusive atmosphere we try to create. Immediate aspirations for club development are to explore potential basketball, cycling and canoeing clubs that could be established over the next year.


Specialist services


PALMS (Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning disability and Mental health Service) works 

across the county providing a specialist multi-disciplinary approach to children and young people aged 0-19 who have a global learning disability and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorder and their families. PALMS clinicians comprise a ‘virtual team’ delivering a consistent service in a variety of community settings.

PALMS aims to keep children and young people with their families within Hertfordshire thereby improving outcomes for all family members.

We are a cohesive team that support one another to work in dynamic and innovative ways to provide the best possible service.

We are a family-led service working to understand and support the significant impact of challenges experienced by families of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or ASD
To achieve this we work closely with children and young people, their families, colleagues and commissioners and view working closely as a key approach that underpins PALMS.

We strive to focus on both prevention and intervention. We endeavour to help children and young people move towards attaining their ambitions and leading happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

We aim to promote the involvement of children, young people and their families and carers in the evolution of PALMS in a meaningful and helpful way for the local communities across Hertfordshire.

Tel: 01727 732007



We provide impartial and confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and young people and children with SEND.

How we can help

Contact us for help with information and advice on:

Although current funding arrangements for Independent Support has changed, Hertfordshire SENDIASS staff are trained in Independent Support by the Council for Disabled Children and legally trained by IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice).

This means they will continue to support parents and young people through the Education, Health and Care (EHC) processes as well as the services listed above.




Come and talk to one of our experienced volunteers.  We run free advice centres spread across the month during school term times.

No appointments, just turn up at the designated times.
Be prepared to wait your turn
Please arrive during the first hour of the advice centre opening.
Do sign in and complete a parent information form, this will help us direct you to the right adviser.
If you are bringing a child, please ensure another adult is available whilst you are seeing the adviser. This is to ensure their safety and prevent disturbance to other parents who have come for advice.
Please do not arrive before the start time because waiting space is very limited.
Bring along any relevant papers, preferably filed in date order to save time and make it easier to help you.
We cannot offer refreshments, you may want to bring a cold drink with you.
Consultations will have to be kept to a maximum time limit of 20 minutes if the Advice Centre is busy.
We cannot guarantee to see anyone arriving after the designated ‘door closing’ time.
Please note that time will not permit us to help with long pieces of work such as checking draft EHC Plans and appeal grounds.
Please also note that we cannot guarantee that any specific volunteer or member of SOS!SEN will be at any given Advice Centre.  If you need to see a specific person, please book a 1:1 session, see our services page.

Need help? Call our Term Time Helpline!

Call 0300 302 3731 / 0208 538 3731





Why do families need IPSEA
By law, children with SEND are entitled to educational support that meets their individual needs. Since IPSEA was formed in 1983, we have helped to improve educational support for thousands of children with all kinds of SEND. We do this by providing free and independent legally-based information, advice and casework support.

How we help
IPSEA has a suite of free downloadable legal guides and resources available to parents and carers. These guides are complemented by a free Advice Line which provides legally based information and next step advice on any educational issue that is a result of a child’s SEND. IPSEA’s Tribunal Helpline gives next step advice on appeals and disability discrimination claims to the SEND Tribunal and is also the gateway to our Tribunal Support Service where a referral can be made for more extensive casework support from a volunteer, including representation at the hearing. Our advice services are delivered by a national network of around 200 highly-trained volunteers, supervised and supported by IPSEA’s Legal Team members.

IPSEA provides legal training for parents, school staff, parent carer forums, support groups and other organisations in order to increase their knowledge and understanding of the SEN legal framework. The proceeds raised from our training courses helps fund IPSEA’s core services (Advice Line, Tribunal Helpline and Tribunal Support Service).

We also work to challenge unlawful SEND policy and influence policy development at both a local and national level. Our policy work is informed by information and evidence captured through our training and advice services and has been instrumental in shaping law and policy in the field of special educational needs and disability.




An education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

If they decide to carry out an assessment you may be asked for:



Talking point – speech and language

Talking Point is here to help parents who are concerned about their child’s development. We also provide information to help the children’s workforce support children with speech, language and communication needs.

Your first stop for information on children’s communication
Welcome to I CAN’s Talking Point. Here you can find information to help you understand and support children and young people’s speech, language and communication.

Talking Point is here to help parents who are concerned about their child’s development. We also provide information to help the children’s workforce support children with speech, language and communication needs.

Welcome to I CAN’s Talking Point for parents
This gives parents/carers the information they need to help children develop their speech, language and communication skills.

If a child has difficulty understanding language or speaking, they may struggle in nursery or school. If the problem persists they might require support, but with the right help, they can develop the skills they need. 

I CAN has developed a range of resources and factsheets to help children with speech, language and communication needs.



ASD Visual Aids

ASD Visual Aids specialises in educational resources to support teachers, SENCOS, TA’s and parents with children aged 3-16 who have special educational needs.

We have resources which cover many areas such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Autism, ADHD, Asperger’s and Fine Motor Skills. Our resources can also help those who need additional help with their curricular subjects such as literacy, maths support and parents who want to support their children through home schooling.



Puberty Section

When to talk to your child about puberty, sex, sexuality and relationships

The National Autistic Society provides information pages on puberty and sex education.

School classes address puberty, sex, sexuality and relationships at an age-appropriate level. Find out what your child’s school will be teaching, and when. By working with the school, you will help to ensure consistency between school and home explanations.

You might decide that these lessons are paced inappropriately for your child. Perhaps they progress too fast and assume too much prior knowledge, or don’t start at an early enough age. Children on the autism spectrum often need a longer period of time to adjust to and understand any changes in their lives. Your child may do things that will be considered inappropriate as an adolescent or adult, eg removing their clothes at unexpected moments. It may be easier to address these behaviours before puberty begins.


Support groups and training


ADD-Vance provides a range of parent training courses and workshops across Hertfordshire. Our parent training ranges from our full 6 week courses to our focused 2 or 4 hour workshops. The vast majority of our courses are free, we do occasionally run paid-for workshops when demand is especially high but these are always well labelled and there is no chance you could accidentally register for a paid course without realising!

All our training is provided by two experienced and fully qualified trainers. As with all our staff, our trainers are also parents of children affected by Autism/ADHD and bring both technical knowledge and parental experience with them. We do our best to cover all areas of Hertfordshire, as well as including a range of days and times to allow as many people to access the service as possible. We even run specific Dads’ courses from time to time 

Our parent training includes the following topics:

Understanding ADHD, Understanding Autism and Understanding Teens – 6-week courses
Understanding Autism
Understanding ADHD
Managing Anger & Anxiety
Understanding Sensory Needs
Autism in Girls
Writing Social Stories


Families in Focus

Our Mission: To enable parents to support their children to lead happy healthy lives and grow into respectful, socially and emotionally responsible adults.

Our intention: is to support families through our parenting courses and workshops and give parents tools, skills and knowledge that make a lasting positive impact/change on family life.

Our intention: is to bring those parenting children with any kind of additional needs and our focus is on the whole family.

Our values: we are passionate about bringing parents together and we pride ourselves on being compassionate and respectful of parents and recognise the uniqueness of every family and that we all have something of value to offer. As an organisation, we are dedicated to working in partnership with parents, employees, volunteers and the community. We share our wealth of knowledge with clarity, sensitivity and energy mixed with an infectious sense of fun.

Special thanks and deep gratitude to all parents on our courses past present and future, it is with you that we have learned and grown and with you that our work continues to evolve.

Our vision is to support parents, children, families and communities so they all experience a positive journey through life.

USP There’s the 2 of us and we share our wealth of knowledge with clarity, sensitivity and energy mixed with an infectious sense of fun. 

Call on 01442 219 720


Space is a Hertfordshire based charity supporting parents/carers of children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a related condition. Our group has been running since 2007 and we became a registered charity in 2017. We meet up several times a month in term time and have either a speaker or a coffee & chat session. Our meetings are held in Bishops Stortford, Cheshunt, Hatfield, Hertford, Hoddesdon, St Albans, Stevenage, Ware and Welwyn. We also organise and host workshops run by various organisations and arrange social events.

For more information please email:

Clare Brillus on 07776 181 749 (Bishops Stortford, Cheshunt & Stevenage)

Nicky Chaperlin on 07814 946624 (Hertford, Hoddesdon & Ware)

Karen Spencer on 07989 472865 (Hatfield, St Albans & Welwyn)


Supporting Parents Of Children With Additional Needs

We have been established since 2012 and are a support group run by parents, for parents/carers, professionals or anybody with experience or interest in living or working with children/young people who themselves live with conditions (diagnosed or not) such as Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) as well as others.

We recognise that living with the symptoms of these conditions can be difficult for the family as well as the child/young person and aim to provide information and support which may help alleviate some of this.

If you feel you would like to support yourself or could offer your support to others, please either contact us or come along to one of our monthly meetings. We are a friendly, informal group and you can be sure of a warm welcome where refreshments are available.

Contact Name:Tonia Burris 


The National Autistic Society

Founded in 1962, we are the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. Our goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.

We have been providing specialist autism education for more than 50 years, so no one understands autism better than we do.

We support children and young people in our specialist schools, aged from 4 to 21.

For hundreds of autistic people, our support helps to make the difference between isolation or family dependence and the chance to lead a full life. Our services give autistic people the confidence and skills to live well, enjoy the activities that others take for granted, or simply to take a break.


PDA society

The organisation was first established in 1997 by parents of children with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), a profile on the autism spectrum. The PDA Society became a registered charity in January 2016, and is run by a small board of trustees who are all parents of children with PDA.  We provide information, support and training for parents, carers, teachers and individuals with PDA.
The PDA Society in numbers
18,500 social media followers
Over 20,000 website visitors per month
We’ve trained over 1,500 people across the UK
1,050 people from around the world registered for our inaugural webinar
We support around 125 parents, adults and health/education professionals a month by email and phone
We’ve distributed booklets to 5,000 practitioners and 15,000 leaflets for parents & teachers in the last year alone

Our current activities include
Supporting discussions around people’s experiences of living with PDA
Providing support to those living and working with PDA
Campaigning for greater recognition of the PDA profile
Providing training to different audiences
Sharing good practice and supportive ideas
Developing new materials and tools which can aid understanding
Collaborating with medical professionals as part of the PDA Development Group
Organising an annual PDA day and biennial conference

For enquiries please email us at


ADHD Foundation

The ADHD Foundation works in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies to improving emotional well being, educational attainment, behaviour and life chances through better understanding and self-management of ADHD, ASD and related learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Irlen’s Syndrome, dyscalculia and Tourette’s Syndrome. We also provide training for GP’s, Teachers, Social Care agencies and other professionals, raising awareness to bring about positive change and inclusion in mental health, education and employment.


Cerebra Innovation Centre
The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) designs and builds innovative, bespoke products to help disabled children discover and engage with the world around them. From fish tanks to oxygen tanks via specialist buggies and surfboards – our award-winning team are brimming with ideas and solutions.

Sleep Advice Service
At Cerebra we understand that if you have one child that doesn’t sleep, the whole family suffers. Our Sleep Advice Service offers various resources including our Guide to Sleep, workshops and a one-to-one telephone support service to help your child – and everyone in your family – get a better night’s sleep.

Book and Toy Library
We have a range of books, eBooks and audio books on the subject of brain conditions in our library for both adults and children. Our Toy library is also available for children with special needs. Both services are free and easy to use.

Parent Guides and Factsheets
We publish a series of guides and factsheets to help families of children with brain conditions with common problems they may be facing. They offer comprehensive, up-to-date advice and strategies to help you deal with a wide range of issues.

Legal Advice Service (and LEaP)
Our Legal Advice Service provides free legal advice to families who need help getting the right support for their children. It runs alongside our innovative problem-solving LEaP project at the School of Law at Leeds University. To find out more and see whether you are eligible for help, please look at our project guidelines before filling out an online request form.

Contact Us
01267 244 200

Dental Care & Autism/The National Autistic Society

General Oral health information

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry has produced a downloadable booklet called ‘Advice for parents of children with autism’, which contains information on toothbrushing at home, diet and dental health and choosing your child’s dental team. The NHS has more general information about taking care of your teeth.


Do2 Learn

Do2learn provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioural regulation activities and guidance, learning songs and games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment and life skills. In addition, we offer premier products including View2do, JobTIPS, and books for purchase.



Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on our ability to communicate with each other.

With Makaton, signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign.

For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help. Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.