Special needs support for early years children

Support for early years

Special educational needs (SEN) can be noticed in children at an early age.

Who you can talk with

Before your child is old enough for primary school, they may receive childcare or early education – for example, at a nursery or pre-school group.

If you think your child has SEN or a disability, or if you’re just worried about the progress they are making, you should talk with your childcare or early education provider.

You can also talk with your doctor or health visitor – for example, if your child is too young to be attending early education.

They must tell you if they think your child has SEN or a disability, and should discuss with you what kind of support your child might need. They must also let us know.

Support provided

By law, if a childcare and early education provider is registered with Ofsted, they must have arrangements in place for supporting children with SEN or a disability.

This includes providing you with:

  • a written progress check when your child is 2 years-old
  • on-going updates on your child’s progress
  • a written assessment in the summer term of your child’s reception year at school

Your child’s health visitor will also carry out a health check on your child when they are about 2 and a half years-old.

Childcare and early education providers:

  • must make reasonable adjustments so disabled children are not disadvantaged
  • must not harass, victimise or discriminate against disabled children

You should ask your childcare or early education provider about support they can offer, as this can vary between different types of provider.

To check whether your provider is register with Ofsted, go to Ofsted: find and inspection report or Ofsted: check if childcare is registered.