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FAQ- Where do I start if I am concerned about my child’s development or progress?

As a parent, you will know your child better than anyone else.  If you feel that your child may have additional needs, you could discuss your concerns with your Health Visitor or General Practitioner (GP), who will be able to refer you to other more specialist services, if required.  Advice  and support is also offered at local children's centres through services such as speech and language drop in clinics.

If your child has started at an Early Years setting such as a pre-school or day nursery or is in school, you could also discuss your concerns with your child’s classteacher or key person in the first instance. 

You may also ask to meet with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at the school.  A SENCO is a qualified teacher within the school who has responsibility for ensuring that children’s special educational needs are assessed and that suitable provision is arranged to enable children to progress and participate in all aspects of school life.  All schools and maintained nursery schools have to have a SENCO in place although in a small school, the headteacher or deputy may take on this role.

The help provided within a school or an Early Years setting is called SEN support.  This used to be called 'school action' or 'school action plus' or 'early years action' or 'early years action plus'.  To find out more about SEN support, please go to the following link.

If you feel your child or young person’s needs can not be met by your school or Early Years setting and would like to talk to somebody at the Local Authority about a possible  assessment for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, you should contact the Children and Young People Disability Service (CYPDS) on 01628 685878 or email

If you feel that you need further support, or would simply like to discuss your concerns with an impartial adviser, you may wish to contact the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service for Windsor and Maidenhead (formerly the Parent Partnership Service) on 01628 683182 or email This is a free, impartial and confidential service available to any parent and child, or young person, resident in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Further information

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have also developed SHaRON, a new dedicated social support network,  with a section called ‘Jupiter’ for parents and carers of young people who are either waiting for their child to have an assessment for autism or who have a child who has already been given a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Condition. 

Local charities such as Autism Berkshire,  Parenting Special Children also offer pre-diagnosis advice and support. To view all the local organisations providing advice and support for families, go to the Advice and Support section of the Local Offer.