I'm new to SEND

If you're concerned that your child may have a special educational need or a disability, or you've recently received a diagnosis, it can be a worrying time. Your expectations of family life might be challenged, and you may well be fearful about the future.

This is what other parent carers have told us about their experience of finding out that their child has SEND. They've also told us that it's like entering a new world, with its own language and systems, which can be very isolating and confusing. Your friends and family aren't familiar with this world either, and new parent carers often find themselves trying to explain things to others that they're not sure about themselves.

While all of this can be overwhelming there are some things that we know can help. Finding opportunities to spend time with other parent carers who understand how you're feeling can be helpful. This can reduce your sense of being alone and provide you with a useful source of information and ideas. It also provides a chance to see that family life will continue, and while it might be different there will still be things to celebrate and enjoy, regardless of your child's challenges. If you'd like to read about the lives of other parent carers you'll find the Shropshire Parent and Carer Council (PaCC) website useful.

Having access to good quality information to help you understand the world of SEND is really important when making decisions about your child's life. This is where websites such as this one can help. The local offer has two main sections. The first is the information section, where systems and processes are explained, such as how to get extra help at nursery or school, or who to speak to if you're worried about your child's progress. This section will introduce you to services that might help your family, and help you to understand what support is available from a range of services across education, health and social care.

The second section is the service directory. This is a comprehensive list of services, clubs, support groups and businesses that might be of use to your family. It provides a brief introduction to what's offered, and contact details so that you can find out more. There's also a feedback button for you to provide information about your experience of using a service, and a listing of events and activities that families supporting a young person with SEND might find of interest.

The following video explains more about what the local offer is and how it can help you and your family. There's also a sign language version of this video.