SEND Guide for Parent Carers

Reading SEND Local Offer

A quick and easy guide for parent carers of children and young people with special educational needs
and/or disabilities (SEND).

This guide has been put together with parent carers, in partnership with other services, to help families access information on local SEND services for children, young people with additional needs.

Reviewed and updated - June 2022

1. Where do I go for information and support?

Start with your child’s health visitor, a consultant if you have one, or the special educational needs co-ordinator at your child’s nursery or school. You can also contact one of the following organisations:

The SEND Local Offer helps you find information about local services, support, activities and events for children and young people aged 0-25 years who have SEND.


Phone: 0118 937 3777 (option 2), Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm


Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) delivers children’s social care, early help and education services in Reading. It supports children and young people with SEND up to the age of 18 and carries out specialist assessments. Over 18s are supported by Reading Borough Council’s adult social care.

Phone: 0118 937 3641


Reading Information Advice and Support Service for SEND (Reading IASS) provides confidential, free and impartial help for children with or without an education, health and care plan (EHCP) from 0-25 years old.

Email: Phone: 0118 937 3421


Reading Families’ Forum (RFF) is an independent charity run
by parents of disabled children and young people. We act as
a voice of local families of children with SEND to co-produce
local services.
Phone: 07516 185380

Reading Mencap offers a family support service for children and adults with learning disabilities in the areas of social care, housing, benefits, health and transition.


Phone: 0118 966 2518


The Berkshire West Autism and ADHD Support Service, run by Autism Berkshire and Parenting Special Children, provides support for families while you are awaiting an assessment at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) as well as if your child is diagnosed with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


The Health Visiting service works in partnership with children (0-5 years) and families, as well as other professionals and voluntary organisations to provide health support tailored to individual needs. Call the service for advice or support on 0118 933 1191 (Monday-Friday, 9am-4.30pm), or visit

The School Nursing service works in partnership with children, young people (5-19 years) and their families, as well as other professionals and voluntary organisations to provide health support tailored to individual needs. Call the service for advice or support on 0300 365 0010 (Monday-Friday, 9am-4.30pm) or visit the School Nursing web pages at:

The BHFT website contains lots of advice, support and information in relation to both physical and mental health at:

2. My child, and/or their sibling, is struggling emotionally. Where can I get support?

Talk to your child’s nursery or school as they may be able to provide support for your child.

There is a variety of support available, including Parenting Special Children and Swings and Smiles

BFfC has primary mental health workers to support families, which they can access through the Children’s Single Point of Access (CSPoA). Referrals are also received from Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the BFfC-based multi-agency safeguarding team, which also handles requests for support for children with disabilities. BFfC’s Mental Health Support Team offers support to children

and young people with emerging, mild or moderate mental health difficulties. Visit:

3. We have just moved to Reading and our child has SEND, which was diagnosed outside the area. What do I do and how do I get support in place?
4. Who can help me find childcare that caters for my child who has additional needs?

Visit the Childcare section of the Family Information Service (FIS) website at:

The BFfC Portage Service is a home teaching programme for families in Reading who have a pre-

school child (0-4 years) who has been recognised as needing additional support with their development due to a significant developmental delay. Visit for details. Referrals to the service can be made by parents and/or professionals through CSPoA.

5. Will my child get extra help at a childcare setting?

You can find information about the Disability Access Fund (for three and four- year-olds) at:

and information about Early Years Inclusion Funding at:

6. How do I get help for my child at school/nursery? What is an EHCP and why might my child need one?

The first step to getting extra support is to talk to your child’s nursery or to a class teacher, or someone you trust at school, who can liaise with the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). If your child is not at nursery yet and you feel they will need substantial support to attend nursery, please contact BFfC’s SEND team to discuss.

Brighter Futures for Children has Early Years SEND Advisors who provide support and guidance to childcare settings in Reading.

For further information email:

Most children or young people with SEND will have their needs met within local mainstream early years settings or

schools but a small number may require an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

If a child or young person needs support beyond what is ordinarily available in a mainstream school or early years setting, please speak to your school about how your children’s needs could be met and the option of an EHCP needs assessment.

The Ordinarily Available document sets out what is expected in Reading settings, schools and colleges for children with SEND aged 0 to 25 years

You can also view the Graduated Response Documents for Early Years & Schools at

Reading’s SEND Local Offer, which is managed by RBC on BFfC’s behalf, has information about what support to expect from nurseries, schools and colleges and how to seek additional support. You can also contact Reading IASS for advice and support (see contact details in Q1).

7. How can I find out if I’m eligible for help with school transport and costs?

Visit the BFfC website for information: transport

8. How do I get help for my child at home (equipment, behaviour, sleep etc)?

Parenting Special Children runs courses for parents of children with additional needs, including sleep and behaviour.

For specialist equipment related to posture or safer manual handling, and for advice and support with specific adaptations at home, contact CSPoA ( who will assess for eligibility, subject to current BFfC criteria, and if appropriate, they will refer to BFfC’s Children and Young People’s Disability Team’s Occupational Therapy (OT) service for a specialist assessment.

For equipment at school or nursery, if your child does not have an EHCP, children’s OT at the Royal Berkshire Hospital

 will accept referrals from a GP or consultant.

If your child does have an EHCP, Berkshire Health Foundation Trust (BHFT) Healthcare OT service will accept referrals from parents and carers, teachers, SENCos, GPs and other healthcare professionals.

Children and Young People’s Integrated Therapies (CYPIT), provided by BHFT, support children up to the age of 19 with Occupational Therapy (OT), physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. Call the Triage line for advice and information on 0118 974 0506. For further information on the referral process, visit

If in doubt, contact SEND Local Offer or Reading IASS (see contact details in Q1).

9. Can I get help with the additional costs of caring for a child with additional needs? What is DLA and how do I apply for it?

You can claim benefits for your disabled child, such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

and grants for specific items.

Reading Mencap , Stepping Forward

 and Autism Berkshire are local charities that can assist with benefit advice and help with completing forms, as well as a range of other support.

The charity Contact has useful guides and factsheets for parents about DLA ( You can also contact the SEND Local Offer (see contact details in Q1).


10. Can I get a blue badge for my child?

You can find out who is entitled to a blue badge and how to apply for one on the Reading Borough Council

11. I don’t understand the different roles and responsibilities of those who are working with my child - can you explain?

It’s not surprising if you’re confused about the roles of the different people you meet. There can be a lot to take in, so don’t be afraid to ask them. Your school or nursery should also be able to help, or you could contact the SEND Local Offer or Reading IASS (see Q1 for their contact details).

You can take a friend or family member to appointments with you to support you and help you remember what you want to ask and what is said.

12. How do I get support for me?

Carers Partnership Reading & West Berkshire  provides support to parents who care for their children with additional needs. They carry out a parent carer needs assessment and, if you need it, refer you to Brighter Futures for Children for an assessment of all your family’s needs.

Visit the following link Carers Partnership - Reading & West Berkshire

Parents of disabled children are entitled to a parent carer assessment. This assessment must consider your physical and emotional wellbeing, including participation in work, education, training or recreation.

Caring for a disabled child can be extremely rewarding but also demanding. If you need a break and/or your child needs fun activities away from you, look at short breaks on the SEND Local Offer (see contact details in Q1).

It is worth considering asking your GP to record that you are a carer. This means that you will be offered annual health checks and a flu jab, plus more convenient appointments.

You could also contact NHS Berkshire Talking Therapies which can help with common mental health problems:

Many parents find it helpful to talk to other parents of children with SEND. Both for advice and emotional support. See the Parent to Parent section on the Local Offer for details at: Parent to Parent Support | Reading Services Guide

Do you feel your child needs more support?

Contact your school or childcare setting, SEND case officer at BFfC if you have one, social worker or health professional. Otherwise, Reading Mencap, Autism Berkshire, IASS and Stepping Forward can all give advice if you feel more support is needed.

Confused by technical terms and struggling to understand what people are talking about?

Don’t be afraid to ask people what they mean. You can also find a SEND Dictionary on the Reading IASS site: and SEND definitions at

Contact information

Autism Berkshire:

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust physical and mental health support:

Berkshire Health Foundation Trust (BHFT) Healthcare Occupational Therapy

Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC): educational-needs-and-disabilities

Brighter Futures for Children Portage

Carers Partnership - Reading & West Berkshire

Children’s Occupational Therapy at the Royal Berkshire Hospital:


CYPIT (Children and Young People’s Integrated Therapies):

Early Years Inclusion Funding:

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment:

Disability Access Fund:

Dingley Child Development Centre:

Family Information Service (FIS):

Health Visiting Service:

NHS Berkshire Talking

Parent to Parent support:

Reading SEND Local Offer:

Parenting Special

Reading Families’ Forum (RFF):

Reading Information Advice and Support Service for SEND (Reading IASS):

Reading Mencap:

School transport:

School Nursing service:

Stepping Forward:

Swings and Smiles:

Glossary of abbreviations & acronyms

ADHD -  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

BFfC  - Brighter Futures for Children

BHFT  - Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust

CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

CSPoA Children’s Single Point of Access

DLA - Disability Living Allowance

EHCP - Education, Health and Care Plan

FIS - Family Information Service

IASS - Information Advice and Support Service for SEND

OT - Occupational Therapy

RFF - Reading Families Forum

SENCo – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

SEND – Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities

Related Advice

Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP) Graduated Response Documents for Early Years & Schools Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP) - Annual Review Process

Page last reviewed: 02/11/2022

Contact the Team

Family Information Service 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

SEND Local Offer 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
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