School age behaviour (additional needs)
Meeting the needs of a child is demanding, but when your child has additional needs it can be even more challenging.
Find out where to get advice, guidance and support to help you respond to and deal with the challenges and demands of looking after a child with additional needs.
Information from external websites
Family Lives has a helpful page on parenting a disabled child, with tips and advice from parent to parent.
Surrey's Early Support team suggest you use a good day / bad day diary. It's a handy resource for you to learn about your child's behaviour and any triggers or times when their behaviour is more challenging. It is really helpful to take this to your GP (or other professionals supporting your child) if you do have concerns about your child's behaviour.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation has lots of support for people caring for a child with a severe or profound learning disability. If this is you, why not have a look at their information on
- understanding challenging behaviour in children
- finding the reasons for challenging behaviour
- positive behaviour support planning
- communication and challenging behaviour
- self-injurious behaviour
- health and challenging behaviour
- children with severe learning difficulties and mental health
- the impact of caring on families
The NHS has a page on dealing with challenging behaviour in children.
You might want to look at the general resources on our school age behaviour page.
National Autism Society also have a page focusing on bullying, cyberbullying and autism
You might want to look at the general resources on our school age bullying page.
National Autistic Society have a helpful page on autism and anxiety for parents and carers.
You might want to look at the general resources on our school age anxiety page.
Cerebra, the charity for children with brain conditions has a helpful Sleep Advice Service. They have lots of free downloadable resources, including a sleep guide, sleep cards and the sleep tips booklet.
Family Lives has top tips from parents for parents on sleep advice for parents with disabled children.
Surrey's Early Support team also offer advice on sleep. They recommend using a sleep diary (PDF) too. It's a handy resource for you to learn about your child's sleep and wake patterns and what might influence this. It's really helpful to take this to your GP (or other professionals supporting your child) if you do have concerns about your child's sleep.
You might want to look at the general resources on our school age sleep problems and bedwetting page.
Contact for families with disabled children has a helpful section on feeding and eating problems.
National Autistic Society also has a useful guide on autism and eating.
Surrey's Early Support team suggest keeping a food diary. It's a handy resource for you to learn about your child's eating habits. You might want to see if anything they are eating triggers sleep issues or behaviour issues too. It is really helpful to take this to the GP if you have concerns about your child's eating (or sleep and behaviour if you think food or drinks may be having an impact).
You might want to look at the general resources on our school age picky eaters page.
Struggling and need to talk?
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation can offer telephone support to people caring for a child with a severe learning disability. Call 0300 666 0126 (Mon - Thurs 9am to 5pm and Fri 9am to 3pm)
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation can also offer online chat support for people caring for a child with a severe learning disability. This service includes carer's catch ups and behaviour chats.
National Autistic Society Helpline enquiry service provides impartial, confidential information along with advice for autistic people, their families, friends and carers. Call: 0808 800 4104 (10am – 3pm, Mon to Fri).
National Autistic Society also have a parent to parent emotional support line. This confidential telephone service provides emotional support to parents and carers of autistic adults or children. The service is provided by trained parent volunteers who are all parents of an autistic adult or child. Call: 0808 800 4106 (Leave a message and they will call you back.)
The Surrey Children and Family Health Advice Line is available from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) and provides support on all aspects of child health, development and parenting for families with children from birth to 19 years old.
Call the Surrey-wide 0-19 Advice Line on 01883 340 922
You could also talk to your health visitor or your GP.
Contact has its own You Tube Channel. There are a number of videos you might find useful, including -
- spotting the signs of bullying
- supporting a child who's being bullied and how the school can help
- what to do if your child has been bullying
Respond has a helpful video with top tips on supporting your child with anxiety, particularly during Covid.
Cerebra share a video of a parent telling her story about how sleep problems impact on the whole family.
Helpful tools and apps
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation offer a guide could download and print on getting the right support for children with severe learning difficulties and behaviour that is challenging. They also have an insightful page on the impact of caring on families.
Contact have a number of informative webinars, including -
Contact also have a podcast channel that you might find interesting.
Qwell provides a safe, confidential way for parents/carers of children and young people with SEND in Surrey to access online emotional wellbeing support.
The service is free and requires no formal referral, instead only requiring the user to set up an account on the website. Qwell's counsellors are fully qualified and available from 12 noon to 10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm to 10pm at weekends, 365 days a year.
Thrive is a game based NHS assessed app designed to help you manage stress and anxiety.
Online parenting guides
Surrey residents get free access to three online guides that include top tips from childcare, education and NHS health experts:
The online guides have been written by experts and contain advice relevant to expectant parents, parents, grandparents and carers of children of all ages including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
How to register
Registration is quick and easy. Go to the OurPlace website and use the access code 'ACORN' to get your free guides.
Access to the guides is unlimited with no expiry date, so you can return as and when you need and want to. Why not watch the Child and Family Health video to find out more.
Community support, courses and local help
Choose the area you live in for local services. Please note that due to coronavirus (Covid-19) very few community services are currently running.
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Date published: 03 Mar 2021