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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

  • behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they may struggle to make friends
  • ability to process language, including reading and writing
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • physical ability

If you're concerned your child may have a special educational need, you can speak to particular people depending on your child's age.

You can also get advice from Sandwell's Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS). They can be contacted by phone on 0121 500 4010 or by email at

For more information about the support available to children and young people with SEND, particularly in schools, please see the Education page.

From Birth to Preschool

Talk to your Health Visitor or Family Doctor. Your Health Visitor may wish to carry out a 2 year old development check or other development assessments to look at your child’s development.  If they share your concerns they might suggest your child is referred into Inclusion Support Early Years (ISEY) for further advice, support and assessment. Inclusion Support Early Years will talk to you about seeing a paediatrician, therapy services or they may make a referral to a specialist for further investigation.

As ISEY has an open referral system in operation, you can refer your child to them directly. If you would like to talk to a member of the team before making a referral please do so. Their telephone number is 0121 569 2860 or 2859. Alternatively, you can email them at

If you have concerns around your child’s speech, language and communication you can make a referral for your child to the FASTA line on 0121 612 2010

If your child is in a childcare provision you should speak to their key person or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They may share your concerns and suggest a referral into Inclusion Support Early Years which they can do on your behalf. They may decide to monitor your child’s progress more closely and may ask if they can liaise with your Health Visitor who will be able to work closely with the nursery or setting.

Your local Children’s Centre can provide advice and can help your child's development through play and learning experiences. They can also make referrals into Inclusion Support Early Years.  

From 5 years

If the concerns are about educational needs and you feel that your child is not making sufficient progress you should speak to your child’s class teacher or SENCO. In those discussions you should ask the school or college about any additional support that the education setting can put in place to support your child’s development including:

  • additional individual support from a Learning Support Assistant
  • access to specialist equipment
  • help and advice from advisory services such as Inclusion Support

In most cases this additional support will allow your child to make the progress needed to close the gap with his/her peers.

If you have concerns about a medical condition you should talk to your family doctor (GP). If they share your concerns they might suggest your child sees a paediatrician or they may make a referral to a specialist for further investigation.