Not sure if your child has SEN?
Many parents with a child with special educational needs will tell you they had an instinct that things were not quite right, before a professional suggested it or before any diagnosis.
You might see subtle behaviour that on its own might seem like nothing, but put together might form a pattern. Or your child might do the same things as other children, but do them much more often, with more intensity and for different reasons. One mum shares her experiences and offers some tips on the Special Needs Jungle website.
If you think that things aren't quite right, here are a few suggestions to help you get a clearer picture:
- Keep a diary about your child. Write down the things you notice, such as how they behave in certain situations or the things that really seem to challenge them. Note down what might have set off a tantrum, meltdown or withdrawal. It's a great way to gather 'evidence', and that can be helpful when you start speaking to professionals.
- If your child is at pre-school or school, try and find ways to spend time with them while they're there – go on your child's school trips, or volunteer in class or at an after school activity that your child goes to. That way you can see how they are with other children and in an environment that's different from home.
- Talk to other people about your child, such as your family and friends, your childminder, health visitor, teacher, teaching assistant or nursery staff. Ask how your child behaves when they aren't with you.
Once you have more information, if you still think your child may have special educational needs, make an appointment to speak to a professional. This might be your child's
- GP or health visitor
- staff at nursery
- special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
Take the information you've collected about your child and talk about the things you've noticed or are worried about.