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.

Local support groups

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Independent Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) (provided by Supportive Parents)     

Provides free, independent advice and support on things that relate to a child or young persona's 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.

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.

Supportive Parents 

Offers advice about your rights and what you can do about:

  • problems with your child’s school 
  • your child being excluded from school 
  • disability discrimination


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.

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.


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


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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