The people working with your child

Various professionals work with your child during different stages of their education. Some will be based at school or college, while others are from local authorities or hospitals. Often, they work together to achieve the best result for your child. Here’s our quick guide to help you identify them.


On this page

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo)

A SENDCo is a qualified teacher who must have, or be working towards, the National Award for SENCOs (NASENCO). They are based within your child’s educational placement and coordinate the support requirements of all children/young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). They will also ensure all teaching professionals and pastoral staff are aware of the support needs of your child.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Making referrals and working with professionals outside of the school, which could include professionals such as; QTVIs, Habilitation Specialists, Educational Psychologists (EP), health and social care providers or Speech and Language Therapists (SALT).
  • Collecting, recording and updating information about all SEND children and young people.
  • Working closely with parents and other professionals to identify and plan interventions and support.
  • Offering advice and support to colleagues, and to arrange any training if necessary.
  • Planning review meetings for all SEND children and young people.
  • Making sure targets are set, monitored and evaluated for all SEND children/young people.
  • Ensuring a smooth transition from one stage of education to another i.e. from primary to secondary school.
  • Keeping up to date with national and local policies related to SEND, and sharing this information with appropriate colleagues.

Qualified Teacher of children with a Vision Impairment (QTVI) 

A QTVI is a qualified teacher with the additional mandatory qualification for children with a vision impairment, working with learners 0-25 years. They assess your child’s functional vision and ensure any specialised training is put in place, so that your child can access their educational environment. They provide support, advice and guidance to parents, teaching professionals and pastoral staff. 

Their role may include:

  • Home visits to pre-school children, to support exploration, access to play equipment and learning key skills.
  • Assessing your child's functional vision in the school environment, to make sure your child has access to their educational materials.
  • Offering educational settings advice and guidance, to promote inclusion and access. Training of all staff so that your child has the right support in the school environment.
  • Providing bespoke specialist skills training sessions to your child with a vision impairment, such as Braille, the use of access technologies and Low Vision Aids
  • Adapting and modifying learning materials to the specific requirements of your child. 
  • Offering advice and guidance on access arrangements. 
  • Giving specialist support as your child progresses through key educational transition phases.

Habilitation VI specialist/Rehabilitation/Mobility Officer/ROVIC 

A Qualified Habilitation Specialist works with children and young people (0-25 years) with a visual impairment. They can help your child develop a broad range of skills, including early years development, independent life skills and moving around (orientation & mobility). They assess all of your child's needs and deliver a holistic program to cater to them. They will often work closely with other professionals, as well as you as the parents, to ensure your child receives the right support across the board. They offer support in the home, nursery, school, college and in the local community and they will often work closely with your child's QTVI to support their key transitions into and through education.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Offering advice and support on early years development with visual impairment.
  • Supporting your child to develop the confidence to explore.
  • Making sure your child has the skills to move around safely indoors and outdoors.
  • Teaching early independent and self-help skills, for example, getting dressed or pouring a cold drink.
  • Encouraging and reinforcing your child's social skills. 
  • Helping your child to become independent as they grow older, including support with preparing meals, shopping and using public transport.
  • Teaching your child how to use a Long Cane.

Local Authority, Special Educational Needs and Disability Officer (SENDO) (NB. Different Authorities may title this role slightly differently.)

A Local Authority Specialist Educational Needs and Disability Officer (SENDO or alternative title) works as part of the Local Authority’s ‘Specialist Educational Needs and Disability’ (SEND) Team to fulfil statutory duties on behalf of the Local Authority.

They provide key services to protect vulnerable groups of children and young people with special educational needs under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0 to 25 years. 

Their role may include:

  • Carrying out Statutory Integrated Assessments. 
  • Overseeing the assessment, planning and review process for families across schools and a range of service providers.
  • Monitoring the Special Educational Needs of children and young people across the Authority.
  • Working closely with parents, families, young people, educational settings and other agencies.
  • Writing, reviewing, amending Educational Health and Care Plans.
  • Attending Annual Reviews, where appropriate.
  • Supporting and arranging educational placements, when appropriate. 

Specialist Teaching Assistant (STA)

A Specialist Teaching Assistant may be allocated to your child, to support them in learning new skills, promote their independence, increasing inclusion or to ensure that educational materials are fully accessible to them. The support they receive could be during whole class inputs, via small group work or in one-to-one sessions. They will often be closely supported by a specialist teaching professional, such as a QTVI, to oversee their work and create bespoke training plans to support your child's academic, social and emotional development.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Ensuring your child is on-task and aware of the lesson’s objectives.
  • Making sure that your child has all their specialist equipment to hand and is using it correctly.
  • Promoting inclusion and participation in all classroom tasks.
  • Ensuring your child has modified and adapted learning materials, specific to their vision needs
  • Supporting your child to practise key skills, such as Braille, touch-typing or the use of Assistive Technologies.
  • Encouraging your child learn independence skills, such as moving around the school environment, their organisational skills or ability to self-advocate.
  • Increasing your child's social and emotional well-being, by ensuring the child is included in all aspects of school life.

Education Psychologist (often referred to as an EP or Ed Psych) 

An Educational Psychologist is trained in the psychology of child development and their role is to assess your child’s social, emotional and learning needs and to identify potential barriers to learning. They can then recommend appropriate interventions and strategies to help the child overcome these challenges.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Carrying out an observation of your child in their nursery/school setting. 
  • Speaking to you, as parents, about your child.
  • Speaking to your child on a one-to-one basis and carrying out specialised assessments.
  • Writing a report to inform the Education Health and Care Needs assessment process. (This is mandatory for every EHC Needs assessment).
  • Consulting with other agencies and professionals to advise on the best approaches and provisions to support your child’s learning.
  • Providing staff training.

Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)

The Speech and Language Therapist is a health professional trained to support children who may have difficulties with the development of language and communication skills, and is also qualified to advise on feeding and swallowing difficulties.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Assessing your child to identify the cause and nature of your child’s speech, communication or feeding/swallowing difficulty.
  • Creating and delivering an appropriate programme to support your child and help them overcome their difficulty.
  • Working on a one-to-one basis with your child.
  • Training you, as parents, as well as teaching staff and professionals, to reinforce their programme of work.
  • Writing reports to help inform the Education, Health and Care Plan process.

Occupational therapist (OT)

The Occupational Therapist is a health professional trained to provide advice and support to children and their families where they have disability or impairment which impacts on their ability to perform everyday tasks and activities. They will assess the sensory, perceptual and motor skills of your child through activities and play and help to maximise the child’s abilities, leading to greater self-esteem and independence. Occupational Therapists can also provide advice on equipment and adaptations to your home to promote independent living.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Assessing your child to identify difficulties with poor gross or fine motor coordination. 
  • Assessing your child to identify difficulties with poor core stability.
  • Assessing your child to identify sensory processing or visual perception difficulties.
  • Devising and delivering an appropriate programme to support your child and help them overcome their difficulty.
  • Working on a one-to-one basis with your child.
  • Working closely with other professionals such as Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists.
  • Training you, as parents, as well as teaching staff and professionals, to reinforce their programme of work.
  • Writing reports to help inform the Education, Health and Care Plan process.

Physiotherapist

The Physiotherapist is a health professional trained to help children develop and maintain their mobility skills, joint range of movement, muscle strength and motor skills.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Assessing your child to identify difficulties with movement, balance and coordination.
  • Devising and delivering an appropriate programme to support your child and help them overcome their difficulty.
  • Working on a one-to-one basis with your child.
  • Working closely with other professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists.
  • Training you, as parents, as well as teaching staff and professionals, to reinforce their programme of work.
  • Writing reports to help inform the Education, Health and Care Plan process.

The Portage Worker

The Portage worker provides home visits for pre-school children (under five years old) who have SEND, and their families. They work with your child to develop play, communication, relationships and learning and they will work closely with other agencies where necessary, to provide a holistic approach. It is important to note that not all areas of the UK have access to a portage service. Where a portage service is available, the service may vary from area to area.

Their responsibilities may include:

  • Regular home visiting (on a weekly or fortnightly basis) from Portage-Trained Home Visitors.
  • Supporting young children with SEND with their development, play, communication, and relationships.
  • Helping you as the parents/carers to identify what is important to you and your child and plan goals for learning and participation.
  • Keeping a shared record of your child’s progress and other issues raised by the family.
  • Responding flexibly to the needs of your child and family when providing support.
  • Working closely with other agencies involved with your child.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

CAMHS are the NHS services that assess and support young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. There are local NHS CAMHS services around the UK, with teams made up of nurses, therapists, psychologists, support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals.

There are many routes to be referred to CAMHS including; your GP, SENDCo and Social Worker. Once referred, CAMHS work with your child through a multi-disciplinary approach using different professionals. Local areas have many different support services available, such as an NHS trust, local authority, school or charitable organisation.

Information, Advice & Support Services Network (SENDIASS) (Previously known as Parent Partnership)

All local authorities must ensure that children and young people with SEND and their parents have access to an impartial Information, Advice and Support (IAS) service, as part of the Children and Families Act 2014.

The Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASSN) is a service which offers honest, fair and clear information through its advisors. The IASSN are funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

Advice and information is provided to: 

  • Young people (aged 25 or under) who are disabled or need extra help with learning.
  • Children who are disabled or need extra help with learning and their parents or carers.

Services can give information, advice and support on:

  • Schools, college or training.
  • Getting the right healthcare.
  • Getting the right support at home, school or in the workplace.

Careers/Connexions Personal Advisors

Connexions is a confidential information and support service for young people. If you are aged 13-19 (or up to 25 if you have a learning difficulty or disability) Personal Advisers can support you through a range of issues including education/training choices, employment, money, health and relationships, to help you to make the right decisions.

Connexions Personal Advisers are fully trained and are based in schools, colleges, other community locations and in the local Connexions Centre. They are available to listen, give information and advice, and offer support. If necessary, they can also put you in touch with other people who can help.

The Career/Connexions Advisor provides general advice and support at key points in your life to help you make decisions that affect your future.  

Do you need help?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more tailored help and support.

0800 781 1444