Support for parents and carers of children with SEND

Being a parent of a child with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) can be very rewarding. You may, however, feel that you have extra challenges to the normal parenting ones shared by your friends and you may want to seek out advice on what support may be available. You will know your child better than anyone. However, it can sometimes help to attend parent support groups, training or workshops so that you can better understand your child’s additional needs and learn about new strategies and interventions to help your child that you did not know about. This is also a good place to build a network of support with other families in similar circumstances.

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Support and help from local groups in South Gloucestershire

A vital form of support for parents and carers of children with SEND are support groups. These are places where you get to meet or talk with other parents in a similar situation to your own. You can talk about your experiences and concerns openly, without judgement and share ideas and learn strategies together. You can also make new friends, socialise and share information.

There are several groups available in South Gloucestershire, each with a different focus but also with many similarities.

Parent and carer groups can cater for parents or carers of a child with a specific disability, or they may be open to any type of disability.

Some groups run drop-in sessions where parents can turn up throughout the day. Others run a support group once a month for a couple of hours during the day or evening. Other groups may run activities for the whole family.

Going to a group for the first time can feel daunting, however, you could take a friend with you or speak to the organiser of the group and ask them how they can support you to attend. 

Some groups will offer support through an online forum or closed Facebook group, where you can chat with other local parents at various times of the day or night.

There are organisations offering impartial advice and support on specific topics and themes where you can meet with a support worker or an advisor to discuss a particular issue.

Other groups also offer workshops for families. Details will be available on their websites.

These are some of the local organisations available for families you can access

South Glos Parent and Carers – Peer to peer support for families with any disabilities additional need and a representative voice for Parent Carers   

SAY – Send and You  provides Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support 

Jigsaw Thornbury support Parents carers and run activities for children and young people

Incredible Kids support Parents carers and run activities for children and young people

Gympanzees run a pop up sensory gym and hire out sensory equipment

NAS South Gloucestershire Branch run a support group for families and activities for the family   

Ups and Down a Down Syndrome support charity serving children and young people, their parents/carers

Tourettes support group Facebook group offering support  

Adhd support group a support group for families with ADHD based in Keynsham

Carers Support Centre offer services to carers of all ages in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

You can find more groups available to parents and carers of children with additional needs by searching our online directory 

Support and help available from national organisations   

There are many national organisations that give information and support to parents of children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). 
Some will be disability specific and others will cater for all types of needs. Part of their support may be an online forum or other information resources that can help support you. Some of the national organisations will also have local branches or groups and will advertise these on their website.

Here are some national organisations that offer advice and guidance on looking after a child with a disability:

  • Contact for families of disabled children provide information about parent support groups listening ear service to offer emotional support. 
  • Scope runs an online community for disabled people, parents and carers to get disability advice and information
  • Mencap run a family hub to support those caring for someone with a learning disability 
  • Mind- mental health charity  
  • Swan- syndrome without a name – a genetic condition so rare that it is often impossible to diagnose offers support and information to families
  • Rethink Mental Illness provides a carers information hub where carers can find help and advice to support them if they are caring for someone who has a mental health need 
  • The National Autistic Society has an online community for families who have children with autism 

You can find more national groups available to parents and carers of children with additional needs by searching our online directory