We are carrying out essential maintenance on Saturday 8 August. During this time My Account will be unavailable between 8am and 1pm. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

I am worried about my child's development

Many children will have special educational needs at some time during their education. For most of them this will be a short-term need that can be met through the expertise and resources of their nursery, school or college, or with advice and support from outside professionals.

Very few children will have needs that are long-term or a disability or medical condition that significantly affects their learning. In these cases an education, health and care plan may be required. The information below will help to answer the questions you may have about your child.

What are special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)?

Children and young people with SEND have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most other children and young people of the same age.

Children may have additional needs if they have difficulties with:

  • reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
  • making friends or relating to adults
  • understanding and following rules and routines
  • organising themselves
  • a medical condition which impedes learning
  • a sensory or physical need which may affect them in school.

Find out more about different types of SEND

How can I find out about my child's developmental stages?

View the NHS interactive guide on child development from birth to five years old, which will give you an indication as to whether your child is developing at the expected rate.

Who can I talk to about my concerns?

It is very important that children with SEND are identified as early as possible to ensure they start to get the support they need. If you're worried about your child you should talk to their class teacher or the school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO).

All schools must have a SENCO who is responsible for arranging and co-ordinating extra help for pupils with SEND. In small schools the head teacher may also take on this role.

If your child is in an early years setting (nursery), you should talk to the staff there or another professional such as a health visitor, GP or childminder. They will be able to find out if your child's difficulties are those that might be expected, or whether they may have special educational needs that require extra support. Your doctor, school or healthcare professional can also refer your child to be assessed by the community paediatrics service. For confidential advice and support contact Brent SEND Information, Advice and Support Service.