Some children and young people have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). This can present significant challenges to you as a parent carer. If your child has special educational needs or a disability, speak to the professionals already working with your family, such as your health visitor, child’s teacher or GP. They can help you to get the support you may need.

Disabled children and child with special needs require additional support because they experience greater vulnerability as a result of negative attitudes and unequal access to services and resources, and because they may have additional needs relating to physical, sensory, cognitive and/ or communication impairments. A failure to acknowledge and promote disabled children’s human rights can lead to abusive practices being seen as acceptable

All professionals who work with Special needs and disabled children should be alert to the indicators of abuse or neglect, for example:

  • A bruise in a site that might not be of concern on an ambulant child, such as the shin, might be of concern on a non-mobile child
  • Not getting enough help with feeding leading to malnourishment
  • Poor toileting arrangements
  • Lack of stimulation
  • Unjustified and/or excessive use of restraint
  • Rough handling, extreme behaviour modification e.g. deprivation of liquid, medication, food or clothing
  • Unwillingness to try to learn a child’s means of communication
  • Ill-fitting equipment e.g. callipers, sleep boards, inappropriate splinting
  • Misappropriation of a child’s finances (for example disability living allowance)
  • Invasive procedures which are unnecessary, or are, carried out against the child’s will
  • Changes in the pattern of the child’s behaviour

In Devon and Torbay, there are a range of support services so that children and young people with SEND can be educated and enjoy social opportunities alongside their peers, in their local community.

Devon

What support is available?

Devon’s SEND Local Offer website gives you information about the education, health and social care services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from birth to 25. This is a comprehensive source of information about the support and facilities you can expect to find in and around your area. From support available in the Early Years to Preparing for Adulthood, the information has been developed and organised with the help of parent carers. You can also find out about opportunities to influence and develop the way local services are provided.

If you need help, Devon Information Advice and Support Service (DIAS) provides impartial and confidential information, advice and support, for parents, carers and young people, around all aspects of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for education, health and care.

Read more about DIAS here or visit SEND Local Offer Website.

Devon information advice and support service

Torbay

In Torbay, SEND Local Offer website gives you information about the education, health and social care services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from birth to 25. This is a comprehensive source of information about the support and facilities you can expect to find in and around your area.

Further reading:

NSPCC – ‘We have the right to be safe’ Protecting disabled children from abuse. (Miller and Brown, October 2014)