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Identifying and assessing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Concerns about difficulties and additional needs may become apparent from a very early age or at any point in a child or young person’s life.

Medical needs may be identified from birth and picked up by hospital professionals while other developmental concerns may become apparent to parents or carers who then approach their GP (doctor), Health Visitor or educational setting for help.

After discussion with parents or carers about any concerns,  a referral for assessment may be made by those concerned to a specific relevant professional or for a multi – disciplinary assessment.

Early Help 

If,  following initial identification of need, support and review there remain ongoing concerns additional assessment and advice may be required.  All requests for this, for all age groups, are made using the Early Help Assessment form (EHA). The electronic version of this is known as EHiT. This is available to all Wandsworth's professionals and educational settings.

For a young child (0 – 5, or pre school age ) this request is sent via the “single front door” at St George’s Hospital Child Development Centre (CDC). A decision is made through a clinical triage process at the CDC as to whether the request goes to a single agency for further consideration or to the early years multi – agency complex needs panel (MACNP).

The complex needs panel will agree which professionals need to be first involved and set up a Team Around the Child (TAC).   (The TAC is the team of people who will provide further assessment and support strategies for the child or young person and their families.  A “lead professional”  from the TAC will be identified. The lead professional will be confirmed in the first TAC meeting with the family.)

If the child or young person attends school or college, the request may be sent directly to an additional service, for example the Schools and Community Psychology Service.  Where appropriate, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) of the school or setting should convene a TAC meeting involving the parents or carers and child or young person in order to continue to plan and review the outcomes of the support being provided.

The school or educational setting should continue to use an ‘assess, plan, do review’ approach over time to continue their assessment, with the support of external professionals as appropriate and review the outcomes of the strategies and adaptations to teaching approaches put in place in order to address the child or young person’s needs.

Further description of the expectations of the nature and range of support that should be provided is given in Section 4  (Expectations of the graduated approach to SEN support in early years settings, school and colleges) of the SEND Handbook.

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