Advice and support for families of children with special educational needs and disabilities

Support for families with children who have SEND

What advice is available to support parents and carers of children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs and disabilities

If you know of any organisations that should be on this list please let us know by emailing us at or using our feedback form.

If you don’t live in Bristol, you can find local information and advice by going to the national Information, Advice and Support Services network.


Families, Local Offer, Resources and Advice (FLORA)

The FLORA team provide information and advice for children and young people with additional needs, and their parents or carers.

For more information, email with your name and email address or phone number.

The team will contact you within two working days.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Independent Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

Provides free, independent advice and support on things that relate to a child or young persons special educational needs or disabilities. It's free, confidential and impartial, and is for:

  • parents and carers of children with special educational needs or disabilities
  • children and young people with with special educational needs or disabilities

They're open all year round, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

The Council for Disabled Children's video, introduction to the information advice and support service has more detail about the different types of support on offer.

Children and young people with SEND can use the service independently to ensure their views are shared, they understand educational processes and can contribute to decisions about their future.

Parents and carers with parental responsibility can use the service to understand the rights, processes and policies in place for children and young people with SEND and for support in voicing their views.

Information, advice and support  may include:

  • statutory work, which may lead to an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • concerns and getting help early
  • SEND Support in schools
  • accessing services to support education
  • signposting to other services
  • disagreement resolution
  • exclusions

Contact a Family

Advice, information and support for parents of disabled children, whatever their health condition. They also bring families together so they can support each other.

Bristol Parent Carers

A participation group for families with children and young people with disabilities and special needs to help influence how services are run.

Carers Support Centre

Carers Support Centre offers a range of services for parent carers with a child age 18 or younger. These include practical and emotional support, advice and information.


HappyMaps is for parents to find useful resources on behaviour and mental health for their children, from babies to young adults. There is general national information  and also local information on counselling, charities, local CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and parenting groups for the SouthWest. 

Healthwatch Bristol 

Helps families have their voice heard in decisions about health and social care services.

Bristol Autism Support (BAS)

A not-for-profit social enterprise providing information, support and training for parents and carers of autistic children in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Off the record for parents

Find a downloadable parents pack, local parent carer support group and helpline.

First Response

A helpline for a range of issues. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a child or young person or think they need support, you can call the First Response team on 0117 903 6444.

The Autism Page

A collection of resources created by a local mother of an autistic child.

National support 

Guide Dogs Services

Guide dogs provide services for children, young people and families. Find support:

  • for your family
  • to guide your child through school
  • with assistive technology 
  • to help your child read 
  • for early diagnosis 
  • to develop life skills
  • to get out and about safely

You can visit their website or call them on 0800 781 1444 or email on 


Supports families with children affected by a neurological condition aged under 17 years. For example: neuro-genetic conditions, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Developmental Delay, Autism, ADHD, Learning Difficulties.

Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS)

Provides advice to service and MOD families about the education of service children, including issues relating to SEND. 


Supports children, young people and adults with sensory impairment, and their families. The people we support are deafblind, or sometimes have single sensory impairment with additional needs and/or multi sensory impairment.

The Family Centre (Deaf Children) 

Supports families with a deaf child or a deaf parent.  They run a range of activities, including family sessions, a kids club, a youth club, family sign language tuition. 


The only charity dedicated to the bowel and bladder health of all children and teenagers in the UK. They provide expert support, information and understanding to children, teenagers, parents, carers and professionals.

Independent Parental Special Educational Advice

The IPSEA helpline operates as a call back service, offering 30 minute telephone advice sessions.


Scope Navigate

Offers a phone service called Navigate that provides support at the start of your journey as a parent of a disabled child. It's a six-week programme that aims to put you in touch with a personal advisor, helping you to talk about your feelings and concerns.
Phone: 0808 801 0510
Monday to Friday: 9am to 8pm
Saturday: 9am to 12pm

Scope Disability Energy Support

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service provides free energy advice to any household where a disabled person lives across England and Wales. They can offer support with: 

  • Energy debt
  • Switching tariffs or supplier
  • Changing your meter
  • Green energy
  • Becoming more energy efficient 
  • Accessing energy benefits, grant and trusts
  • Contact or complaining to your supplier
  • Understanding your bills
  • Understanding how to use your heating systems
  • Free pre-payment fuel vouchers (conditions apply)

Book an appointment at Scope Disability Energy Support
Freephone: 0808 801 0828, Monday to Friday 11am to 4pm, excluding bank holidays


Information about benefits and financial help for disabled people with disabilities.

Disabled Children’s Partnership 

A group of 60 disability and children’s organisations campaigning for improved health and social care.


AccessAble publish accessibility information for places of interest in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. They have a page for accessibility information about venues in Bristol.


Advice on daily living equipment, for example using and transferring disabled children in and out of baths.

National Autistic Society

Provides support and services for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome), their parents and carers, and professionals.

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