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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An Educational Psychologist (often referred to as an EP or Ed Psych) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) Connexions 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.
- Helping your visually impaired child learn at home
- The people working with your child
- Say what?! Jargon buster
- Your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan
- Choosing a nursery, school or college
- Early years
- Primary school
- Secondary school
- Further education
- Higher education
- Self-advocacy for young people with a vision impairment
- The graduated approach
- Parent FAQs