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It is vital that children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families have access to services as early as possible.

At the Early Years stage identification is usually through a health agency (e.g. health visitor or paediatrician). Referrals will be made with parents/ carers consent. Find out more about the specialist Early Years service.

All early years settings (including nurseries, pre schools and childminders) which are registered with Ofsted have to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. As part of this, early years settings are required to have in place arrangements to support children with SEN and disabilities.

Early support

Parent's early observations of their child are crucial. Children with more complex development and sensory needs may be identified at birth. Health assessments, such as the hearing screening test, which is used to check the hearing of all new-born babies, enable very early identification of a range of medical and physical difficulties. Health services, including paediatricians, the family’s general practitioner , and health visitors, should work with the family, support them to understand their child’s needs and help them to access appropriate services.

Early years services

Find out about early years services.

Early years settings