SEND and Inclusion

Resources for Parents and Carers

The Start Well Early Years SEND team have collated some resources to help parents and carers at home with young children who have SEND.


Government guidance

A Department for Education guide for parents with learning disabilities, explaining changes to the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system: SEND support: easy-read guide for parents - GOV.UK (


Home Learning Support for young children with SEND

Sensory Home Learning
A large collection of sensory, play and story ideas to use with young children and those with SEND.

Sensory Diet
A simple explaination about Sensory Integration and a range of ideas that can be accessed at home to support a child who requires additional sensory stimulation.

Communication and Interaction
This is a simple guide to communicating and interacting with children who need a little extra support around social communication skills.

Brain Breaks
Scheduling regular Brain Breaks can make a big impact in your home schooling routine, especially for young children with SEND. Vera Schleiffer, a Teaching Assistant at Green Fold Special School (part of The Orchards Federation), has compiled a user friendly guide to brain breaks.  The guide includes symbols to help you get started.

Early Years Music
This document features children's songs and collates some resources and symbols to accompany them. Enjoy sharing these regularly with your child to encourage choice making and early communication skills.


Strategies to support daily life for young children with SEND

The Countdown is a strategy which can help children to prepare for an activity which might be coming to an end. This can be used at points in the day which are particularly stressful for example, if a child dislikes the transition from playing on their tablet to eating their dinner or from finishing playing with a favourite toy to going to bed.  Here is a video demonstration.

Now and Next
The Now and Next strategy can help to reassure a child that something they like is going to happen after completing a less motivating task. This can help with daily tasks like teeth brushing and getting dressed. This case-study includes a homemade example.

Positive Strategies
Some simple but very useful pointers to help everyone stay positive and reduce conflicts when entertaining young children at home.

Star Chart/Reward Chart
This is a very basic reward system. When used with simple clear language and a really positive motivator (chosen by the child) this can help children to understand what is expected and give them reason to take part in activities they may not want to do. Here is a video demonstration.

Traffic Lights System
The traffic light system is used with a child to reduce frustration at key times by making them more aware of when an activity is coming to an end. 
A video demonstration can be found here.

De-escalation Strategies
This document contains helpful tips for both tantrums and meltdowns.  Author: Naomi Passmore.


Exploring the senses

Fun with Food
'Fun with Food' aims to help children with food aversions to gain more confidence by encouraging food exploration.  This will help to add a wider variety of food into a child's diet.  This pack includes food symbols to help you get started. Please use resources/food selections with caution and always under adult supervision.

Sensory Sessions
These simple sensory sessions last about 20 minutes. They are designed to stimulate 1 or 2 senses each time. Please use resources with caution and always under adult supervision.

Make Your Own Sensory Kit
Variety, the children’s charity, have created a guide for parents/carers to support them in managing sensory inputs more effectively. Please use resources with caution and always under adult supervision.


Sensory differences

Processing sensory information can be difficult for some children with SEND. Their senses may be over- or under-sensitive, or both at different times. This can affect how they feel and act. If you would like to know more about sensory processing and are looking for ideas, these links might be a good place to start.



Hands Programme
This programme has been adapted from the Hands Programme to enable parents of young children with Physical Disabilities to support their child in warming up before carrying out activities or practicing daily independence skills. Please use resources with caution and always under adult supervision.

Using The Trampoline With Your child
Using a trampoline is an enjoyable and fun way for children to develop a variety of skills. Sam Ball, a Teaching Assistant at Green Fold Special School (Part of the Orchards Federation), has created this user friendly guide to offer ideas on how to help your child learn through movement. The guide includes symbols to help you get started.

These activities have been designed this activity for young children with limited movement. 

Sensory Circuits
'Sensory Circuits' is a short and snappy sensory motor skills programme that helps to set children up for school/nursery or to help self-regulate them. Children participate in 10 to 15 minute sessions of activities designed to improve brain processing efficiency and they generally find that the circuit is a fun way to start the day. A teacher from Green Fold Special School (Part of The Orchards Federation), has also created a video guide to help you get started.