There are services within Dorset that support children and young people with SEND, their families, their setting or school.

Parents and carers can access some of these services. There are other services that need a referral from the school, setting or a professional. 

Health services

Find out more about these health services:

Local council services

See the table for services run by us, the council. Select the service to find out more information or to contact the service:

Local council services What the service provides Who can access the service

Children's social care

Social care support for children and families; information about children who are disabled, needs assessment, care planning and support for disabled children and their parents or carers to live in their homes and communities Children, young people and parents or carers. Professionals using the Interagency Referral Form.
Portage Pre-school Support services (PPS) Supports children throughout the transition from early years to school. Usually accessed by professionals, but parents or carers with concerns can also contact the service.
Education, employment, training and re-engagement and support team

The team support young people aged 16 to 19 (or up to 25 if they have SEND) to continue education, find employment and access training in work areas that interest them.


Our team supports young people with:

  • education
  • employment
  • training
  • re-engagement

We have to collect information for young people who:

  • are not in education
  • have not yet started work
  • need support to carry on with their education, go to work or access training

These are often known as "NEET young people", meaning they are not in education, employment or training.

Physical and Medical Needs Service (PMNS)

Helps schools support children and young people with physical and medical needs so that they can take part in all elements of school life. Parents, schools and other professionals.
The Xchange: news and information for disabled children and their families Provides a dedicated website, monthly enewsletter, online care passport and free Dorset Max Card, plus other benefits for families with children or young people who have a disability. Parents and carers of children and young people who are disabled in Dorset.

Family Information Service

FIS Facebook page

Provides support, advice and guidance to all families.
The outreach team provide extra support for families with children with SEND who are struggling to find childcare.
Vision Support Service (VSS) and Hearing Support Service (HSS) Help children and young people in their childcare setting, school or setting. Support includes involvement of family and professionals.

HSS: audiology make referrals following diagnosis of permanent or temporary hearing loss. You can seek medical advice from your GP, school nurse or health visitor if you have a concern about a child's hearing. Referral to HSS will follow, if appropriate.

VSS: professionals can refer children, but the service then contacts parents directly for written consent. Referrals can also come from the school or setting where the child attends.

Educational psychologists Build on work already done within the school and with other inclusion services as part of the graduated process for SEN. They support staff to develop activities for groups of children within a school.

Schools and organisations may contact the service.

Parents can't access the service directly. They should speak to the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) at the child's school about their concerns.





Independent services

Find independent services in Dorset in this table:

Independent services What support the service provides Who can access the service

A-Stars is a club for children over the age of 5 and young adults and their families with:

  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • an autism-related condition (ASC)
Parents and families.
Autism Wessex

Autism Wessex is a regional charity; they provide specialist services for people affected by autism and associated difficulties across:

  • Dorset
  • Somerset
  • Hampshire
  • Wiltshire
Parents and families.
Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS) CEAS provides advice, support and guidance around the educational wellbeing of the children and young people belonging to service and eligible Ministry of Defence families in all 3 services, including issues around SEND. Parents and families.

National charity that supports families of disabled children. Support includes:

  • free information workshops
  • local information
  • information guides
  • advice
  • opportunities to meet other families
  • resources for professionals
Parents, carers, other family members and professionals.
Council for Disabled Children

They work with professionals, practitioners and policy-makers to make sure children and young people with SEND get the best outcomes. 

Parents and families.
Diverse Abilities

This group supports families caring for a child or young person with a disability or SEN living in:

  • Dorset
  • Bournemouth 
  • Christchurch
  • Poole
Parents and families.
Dorset Parent Carer Council (DPCC)

Represents the views of families whose children are disabled in Dorset. They do this by:

  • holding meetings, workshops and steering groups
  • talking at conferences
  • holding consultations with individuals and groups

Anyone can become a member by joining online. 

Find BCP Parents Carers Together.

Dorset SEN Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

Information, advice and support for children, young people with SEND from birth to 25 years and their parents and carers.

Equality Advisory Support Service

EASS provides free advice and guidance to individuals who believe that they have:

  • been a victim of discrimination
  • had their human rights breached
Global Mediation Global Mediation provide a disagreement resolution and mediation service for children with SEND. Anyone can become a member by joining online. 
Home Start Help in the home to young families who are dealing with difficulties like bereavement, illness or depression. Families must have at least one child under the age of 5. Parents or families.
Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) National charity, providing free, legal-based advice to families who have children with SEN.  Anyone.
Sibs Sibs is a UK charity; they represent the needs of brothers and sisters of disabled children and adults.  Anyone

SENDIST handle appeals against councils' decisions about the education of children with SEN.


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