Useful links

The content on this page is provided for information purposes only. SENAC cannot be responsible for any advice or information from external links listed on this website. We recommend that you verify the accuracy of information and suitability to your needs .

If you provide a service or support in Northern Ireland to parents of children with special and additional needs, and you would like to be included in this list, contact


ABC Autism support group

Offer peer support to parents and carers of children with Autism. Provide advice, support and activities for children and families living with the autism spectrum



In Touch with Autism – UHub

A parent & carer service with support for families who have an Autistic child or who are waiting on a diagnosis. They offer Drop-in, evening Support Group meet ups. Telephone or in-person individual support by appointment. Parent support, signposting to local activities & events, information on autism services, experience and friendship.



Helping Hands – Autism Support Group

Helping hands autism support group offer weekly play days for children on the ASD spectrum. We also have monthly parent meetings, training sessions for parents and a resource library to share the cost of books, DVDs and sensory equipment. Covers Belfast and North Down

T: 028 9045 6121

Kids Together – Disability Support Group (West Belfast)

Community organisation established by local parents to provide support to children with disabilities and their families. Kids Together, design, plan and deliver a wide range of tailored services for families with children and young people who have complex needs.

Afterschool and Youth provision, outreach and support for parents/carers and family.

T: 028 9061 1034

SNAP – Social Networking for children with Autism and their Parents (North Belfast)

SNAP is a parent support group that was started in June 2011 for children with autism and their parents and families. It is an opportunity for parents to meet and chat in a relaxed atmosphere and have a cup of tea/coffee and biscuits. While the children can play happily .They meet informally every Saturday from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

For any further information contact Jacquie Kelly on

T: 028 9037 0090

Follow SNAP on facebook 

Snowflakes – Autism Family Support Group

Meet every Saturday from 2pm – 4pm  BT13



Sólás Parent support

This group is for parents of children with Autism and other developmental disabilities. The group share ideas on accessing support, on communicating about your child’s needs and offer an opportunity to meet other parents over coffee to share experiences.


T: 028 90247600

West Belfast & Colin Autism Support Group

Group set up by parents to help other parents and families who live with Autism.

They hold monthly support meetings last Monday of every month, 7-9pm in Poleglass.

Anne Marie McCullough T: 07766015315

Blue Blossoms – ASD/ADHD Support group (North West Belfast)

Arts and crafts and play time for the kids along with chat tea coffee and snack for the children on Saturday mornings.


BERAGH & surroundings areas in TYRONE

The Link

Support group for parents of children with additional needs to share experiences, advice and offer support to others going through a similar process in accessing supports for their child. Through The Link, you will be connected directly to other parents who have a shared experience.



Neurodiversity UK (formerly Comber Autism NI)

Parent support group which is run by volunteers.They support those with a range of learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia, mental health conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Anxiety disorders, Depression, OCD and many more

T: 028 9189 7677



SOFT Project – Cookstown

SOFT Project Supporting Our Families Together is a family, school and 21 strong community partner family support project. E: T: Tara – 07717 411465

  • In-School learning workshops
  • Links to community partners to provide tailored support and reduce social isolation.
  • Basic one to one support to develop parental confidence.
  • Courses and workshops to help parents and young people develop their skills together E.g., creating healthy routines, resilience skills, positive mental health, healthy eating, school transitions & social skills.
  • Family bonding trips and activities to support quality family time.

Team  Aspie

Social group for 11-18 year olds with Aspergers


T: 07707037466



This group runs social clubs for children and adults all year roundAutism Social Group – Kids club Saturdays 1pm to 4pm
Teen and adults club Friday night 7pm to 9.30pm
Bus available They offer training and support for parents, guardians, grandparents

T: 07999525323


Downpatrick Autism Family Support Group

Support and information for children and Young people and their families.



Helping Hands – Autism Resource Centre

Parent led charity run by team of parent volunteers.They run weekly activity programmes for children and young people with ASD. Also provide social groups, support sessions parent and toddler groups.Centre includes a sensory zone, games room, counselling suite, role play room and outdoor play area.



NAS Dungannon Branch

Saturday Activity Club for children with Autism, every second Saturday 2pm – 4pm

T: Daphney – 07770942534


F.A.C.T.S – Families with Autism coming together for support

Peer to peer parent support group set up in 2017 by parents of children and young adults with a diagnosis of Autism living in the Mid-Ulster area. 




NAS Newtownards

Parent run organisation for families living with autism in Newtownards and surrounding areas.



COS– Circle of Support for Autism Families

Parent led group supporting families of with children diagnosed with or being assessed for ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder in the North West and surrounding areas.

They run summer schemes, parent meetings, experiences and days out and family events. COS promotes the children’s social skills provide therapies for the children with ASD, such as music therapy, drama and Jo Jingles. Facilitates training courses for parents such as Sensory Processing and Behaviour Management

T: 028 7136 9224 E:

P.O.C.A. – Parents of Children with Autism

P.O.C.A. is a voluntary group supporting children/young people with ASD. They provide a weekly youth-club and other activities throughout the year for young people to relax, make friends and enjoy themselves.

T: 07510876778




Autism NI

Regional Autism charity that runs parent support groups throughout NI-see Autism section for contact details


Regional Autism charity that runs parent support groups throughout NI-see Autism section for contact details

Parent Action NI

Parent Action is a parent led social enterprise, which seeks to promote and protect the human rights of children, young people and adults with disabilities/long term health conditions, in their receipt of public services, through the empowerment of their parents as advocates.

T: 07752303854


Parent Rooms

The Parent Rooms is a mental health charity in Northern Ireland. They create ‘a circle of support’ for parents who are experiencing concerns around their mental and emotional wellbeing as they emerge beyond personal struggles to lead full and healthy lives.

They do this through peer support, wellness education and awareness-raising in the community. They work with parents to help them discover the tools and techniques they can use to help themselves. They offer peer support, counselling and training.


British Dyslexia Association

The BDA promotes early identification of specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and support in schools for dyslexic learners. The BDA is the voice of dyslexic people. They aim to influence government and other institutions to promote a dyslexia friendly society.


BDA have further information about training on their website

T: National Helpline: 0845 251 9002.

W: Welcome – The British Dyslexia Association

DADS Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Support


DCD/Dyspraxia NI

Help, support and communication with people with Dyspraxia/DCD and families affected with the condition.


Dyspraxia Association of Ireland

Registered charity, set up by parents in 1995 to raise awareness of dyspraxia in Ireland and create a better understanding of the difficulties children and parents face. They aim to ensure adequate resources including occupational and speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychological support and education are available to support the needs of children. They provide information sharing and a support network for parents and a parent/professional link.

Dyslexia Awareness NI

Group of local people advocating for change in the level of provision for children with Dyslexia in NI.


Make Learning Easy – PRIVATE

Carmel Mullan BA Cert Ed Psych NDT INPP JST 

Formally the Ballymena Dyslexia Centre specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of learning disorders – Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Auditory Processing Disorders, Reading & Writing problems, ADD/ADHD and Aspergers.


Northern Ireland Dyslexia Centre

Offers assessments and training courses for parents and teachers


Dyslexia & Tutoring Centre – Greater Expectations *PRIVATE

They offer sessions specifically designed to assist those with diagnosed dyslexia or reading and spelling difficulties.

They offer tuition and consultancy to a wide range of individuals including individual, employers and educations groups. We also offer tuition on software than can significantly help those with learning difficulties.

We also cater for mainstream tutoring in a variety of subjects.

T: 07708598986

Dyspraxia Foundation

The Dyspraxia Foundation support individuals and families affected by dyspraxia and promote better diagnostic and treatment facilities for those who have dyspraxia.

They raise awareness and understanding among teaching and medical professions to help them assist those with dyspraxia. Their website has guidelines for Classroom strategies for potential difficulties that may be encountered in the classroom.

T: 01462 455016

Helpline: 01462 454986 (10am – 1pm) Mon – Fri


Schoolvision Programme  *PRIVATE

Schoolvision studies the way children’s eyes work as they read; in particular the relationship between their vision and dyslexia. Using established sight tests and corrective spectacles, Schoolvision works with children to reinforce the dominant eye and improve their ability to read and interpret words.

One School Vision practitioner in Northern Ireland

McCrystal Opticians, Dungannon

Therapy Foundations for Education -*PRIVATE

This service provides occupational therapy and educational support by identifying the causes of the child’s difficulty. The child-focused approach begins with a pre assessment followed by a skill based standardized assessment; criteria based assessment and clinical observation assessment. Specialist interventions include sensory integration Therapy, Green span floor time intervention, motor development and co ordination programme and listening programme.

W: Private Occupational Therapy Clinic northern Ireland

Tutor & Specialist Assessor – Dyslexia *PRIVATE

Olivene McDaid, BA Hons, PGCE PG Dip CCET CCPP, provides private assessment and tutoring in Dyslexia in the North West. She has 15yrs professional and personal experience in this field.

T: 07516 600 983

*Details of private practitioners/organisations is for information purposes only. SENAC recommend that individuals verify credentials and service quality before engaging any services


Play AT ICT Northern Ireland project supports children 0-5 with neurological conditions, Epilepsy, Neuro-degenerative conditions, Acquired Brain Injury e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Downs, Global Delay, Autism, Behavioural Difficulties. This charity provide access to a loan bank of assistive technology – switches, mice, keyboards, keyboard stickers, touch monitors and toys.

AbilityNet consultants will be able to advise ways in which technology can be used to access play activities using adapted toys or computer solutions


Brain Injury Matters

Brain Injury Matters is a charity which supports people effected by Acquired Brain Injury to rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. They aim to promote independence, foster personal development and support people to adapt to life after illness or accident.

WBrain Injury Matters

Child Brain Injury Trust

Information, Support and training to anyone affected by childhood acquired brain injury

Child Brain Injury Trust, 7 McKibben House, Eastbank Road, Carryduff, BT8 8BD

T: 02890817146

Epilepsy Action (NI)

Support people with Epilepsy through telephone/email helpline, local branches and Sapphire epilepsy specialist nurse scheme. They aim to improve the quality of life and promote the interests of people living with epilepsy.

Northern Ireland branch

Headway in Northern Ireland

Headway is a charity set up to give help and support to people affected by brain injury.

A network of local Groups and Branches offers support and a wide range of services to people with a brain injury, their family and carers. Services include brain injury rehabilitation programmes, carer support, social re-integration, community outreach and respite care. The services available will vary, depending on local needs and resources. Groups exist in Belfast, Ballymena, Enniskillen, Foyle , Southern region & Newry

Tourettes Action

Support group in Northern Ireland for adults, children and families and will be meeting regularly in and around the Belfast area.TA Groups manager Julie Collier

E: W:

Helpdesk: 0300 777 8427

Tourettes Support NI

Support Group in Northern Ireland for Tourette’s Syndrome.

All About Us – ASD Teens

Charity in Antrim to support teenagers with an asd diagnosis or who are going through the diagnosis process, their siblings and their families. They arrange regular meet-ups for social, fun and sports activities and to provide new skills for teenagers.


Autism Network NI (formerly Aspergers Network)

Charity set up by Parents/carers and those with Aspergers syndrome. They offer a telephone help line, parent support groups in Carrickfergus, Craigavon, and Dungannon, they also run advocacy services and social groups for children and young people and run social outings and groups for adults, teens and 20’s


Autism NI (formerly PAPA)

A parent led partnership organisation, the main areas of work are family support, information and advice, training, awareness raising, helpline, resource centre, political lobbying and research. Support: Autism NI Branches and Support Groups

The National Autistic Society (NI)

NAS offer a range of services for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and their families. The NI regional team coordinates NAS services and activities and support for branches. The branches provide a range of activities such as self help support for parents and careers; information and advice; workshops and seminars and organising respite care/holiday schemes.

Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT)

PEAT provides a range of services to help children and young people with autism reach their full potential. Services include: assessments & analysis, family days, monthly training workshops for parents, training and consultancy, social skills group for young people and their siblings 10-25yrs, annual holiday, home programme using Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), Simple Steps-introductory tutorial for parents

PEAT is currently able to provide individual support to children/young people, aged 8-20, with Autism/Aspergers if they are facing some sort of detachment or disengagement from their education/school. This might include challenged behaviour at school, refusal to go to school, low attendance or recurrently being sent home due to issues such as anxiety, social skills difficulties and many more. For more information and enquiries about the project and how to refer please contact PEAT directly on 028 9032 4882 or email 

Autism Initiatives NI   

Autism Initiatives provides direct social care services to children and adults with Autism in Northern Ireland. Autism Initiatives provides services to people with autism and Aspergers Syndrome, learning disabilities and mental health problems. Carers also benefit from the services.  Services include: One Stop Shop for adults with Aspergers Syndrome and High Functioning Autism offers a range of advice and social activities to enable adults to live as independently and successfully as possible. They also provide Supported Living Services, community outreach and residential care.

Addni Children’s Charity (NI)

NI wide support service for children, young people, adults & families affected by ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Supporting and empowering children, young people, adults and families who are impacted by AD/HD throughout NI.

ADD-NI’s Services include: Support and Information, Parenting Programme,Therapeutic Group Work, Art Therapy, Individual Counselling, Sibling Group Training, Adult Services, Young Offenders Programmes



Action on Disability Project – West Belfast Upper Springfield Development Company

This project aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities into the community of West Belfast. To build the capacity of the community sector by encouraging and supporting local disabled people to become assertive, confident citizens who feel empowered to participate fully in their own community T: 028 9023 6677

Acceptable Enterprises Ltd – Transitions Programme

A training programme through Acceptable Enterprises Limited in Larne, called the Transitions Programme. The programme is aimed at people with a learning disability/disadvantage, Autism or Asperger’s during the transitions stages as they prepare to leave school or have recently left school. The programme will help participants gain work experience, job preparation support and increase their social skills.

They can offer work experience in Packing/Picking, Catering, Online retail and Horticulture. They also run a social club on a fortnightly basis for meeting new friends and build a social circle.



Afasic supports children and young people with speech, language and communication impairments. They run Transfer summer schemes to help prepare children who are transferring to Secondary School, they organise Activity Days and  also offer support for parents/carers and professionals.

Afasic UK Helpline: 0845 355 55 77


Care for the Family

Aims to strengthen family life and supports families and parents in times of difficulties.

Northern Ireland Representative – Caroline Bradley T: 028 9262 8050


Cedar Foundation

Provide a range of suitable and sensitively designed living options to meet individual needs of people who have brain injury, physical disability, sensory impairment and for people who have learning disabilities.

Cedar offers a range of programmes across Northern Ireland aimed at helping individuals to gain qualifications and develop the skills required to find a job or to get involved in the community. They offer ongoing support and practical assistance to take part in local educational, vocational and social opportunities as well as access to a wide range of supported work placements and employment opportunities.

The Cedar Brain Injury Services aim to enable people surviving Brain Injury to achieve their personal goals for returning to work, gaining qualifications and having an active life.

Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

This website provides up to date information on cerebral palsy, birth injury and other complications. This is a free, comprehensive resource for parents and professionals explaining what are the types, causes, signs symptoms of CP and treatment options.


Cerebral Palsy Group – website

Cerebral Palsy Group is a national organization that provide information and support through an on-line resource to those affected by CP, birth injuries or brain injuries. Although they are an American group, the information contained in the website and links to resources might still be useful locally.


Changing Faces

Changing Faces is the leading UK charity that supports and represents people who have disfigurements to the face, hand or body from any cause.

Compass Advocacy Network

This is a user led organisation of people with learning disabilities based in Ballymoney. The charity aims to enhance social involvement and increase the standard of education, training and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities. Advocacy is their core service. They provide training opportunities in recycling, up cycling and a laundry. They also run a Best Buddies Programme, Base friendship programme.

T: 028 2766 9030

Contact– (formally, Contact Youth)

They offer a 24/7 helpline for anyone in distress – offering, counseling, befriending, mentoring and complementary therapies. Within the therapeutic team they have a team of Creative Arts Therapists who specialise in working with clients who are not willing to or are unable to engage in talking therapies. This approach has been successfully used when working with clients with special needs. Clients can self refer or be referred by a third party through the website or through Lifeline.

Contact a Family NI Office

Information, advice and support to parents. They offer training to professionals and groups on issues that affect families of children with special needs. Their family support workers offer one-to-one help and support.

W: Northern Ireland – Contact a Family

Disability Action

Disability Action provides a range of services and projects for people with disabilities, their families and carers. The Community Development Unit provide training and support to disabled people and groups wishing to become active in the political, social, economic and cultural life of Northern Ireland. They offer specialist information and advice on disability issues. We provide our services to a range of groups including people with disabilities, carers, statutory and voluntary organisations.

Down’s Syndrome Association (NI Office)

This is the main point of contact for hospitals, schools and the general public in NI about all aspects of Down’s syndrome. They offer information and support and training to professionals and parents/carers. They also facilitate residential events with outdoor pursuits, drama and they run youth clubs throughout Northern Ireland. They have support groups in Causeway, Belfast, Newry & Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down & Ards, Omagh and South & East Belfast – for contact details see their website.

Downs Xtra

This is a support group led by parents and carers of children with Downs Syndrome whose aim is to provide support, friendship and share valuable information to families and children living with Downs Syndrome in Co Armagh and the surrounding areas. They run drop-in Saturday family sessions, evening parent support events and outings.


Employers For Childcare

This campaigning charity offer free, impartial advice for parents with dependent children on a range of childcare and work related issues. They offer advice and information to employers, parents and community groups, childcare providers and Government departments with the aim to make it easier for parents with dependent children to get into and stay in work. They offer one-to-one confidential benefits advice relating to childcare costs, including tax credits, Childcare Vouchers and flexible working arrangements.

Family Fund

This is a registered charity which supports families by providing grants that directly relate to the needs of the disabled child or children and  young people aged 17 and under. It is the largest independent grant-giving organisation helping low-income families caring for a severely disabled child..They can help with essential items such as washing machines, fridges and clothing but can also consider grants for sensory toys, computers and much needed family breaks together. Ross McCrea – NI Development Manager


Focus on Disability

Not for profit website which brings together information, advice and products for people with disabilities, their families and carers in the UK. Specific section on Northern Ireland contacts and links.


Foyle Parents & Friends

Foyle Parents and Friends work with children and young people with learning, sensory and physical disabilities. They also work with the carers of those young adults who attend local Day Centres

T: 028 7127 1017 E:

Leonard Cheshire Disability – Moving On Project

This project covers areas in the North West Trust – Omagh, Enniskillen, Strabane, Derry and Limavady. Young people with disabilities aged 16-19 years can avail of a peer supported programme leading to greater independence and citizenship via opportunities for self employment and social entrepreneurship

W: Northern Ireland homepage – Leonard Cheshire Disability

Little Orchids Children’s Centre

This charity provides therapeutic intervention and support for children with special needs and their parents and carers. Facilities include an outdoor sensory and play area. Referrals are usually made by professionals involved with the family e.g. Health visitors, GPs, paediatricians, social workers, hospital or educational psychologists. Health and Educational professionals come into the centre to carry out assessments on the children in their care and provide staff with recommendations on putting together programmes to meet the child’s individual needs. There is an active parent support group.


Lilac Project – supporting inclusion in education

Support and advice centre for young people (2-19yrs) with physical disabilities and associated learning needs based in Fleming Fulton School. Team consists of a Teacher (Inclusion coordinator), Occupational Therapist, Classroom Assistant and IT technician. They can answer your initial query by phone or email. If further support is necessary they will arrange a meeting at your school. Visits to Fleming Fulton School can also be arranged to look at the use of assistive technology and the good practice in inclusive education. This level of support requires both school and parental consent. This is a free service to all schools in Northern Ireland.

T: 02890 61 3877

Mencap Northern Ireland

Mencap provide services for people with a learning disability of all ages, offering practical support and information and they campaign for an end to the discrimination experienced by many people with a learning disability every day.

Information Service: 0808 808 1111


Meningitis NOW

Meningitis NOW is the new name for Meningitis UK. They provide support for families and individuals whose lives have been affected by Meningitis and Septicaemia. They offer home visits, counseling, creative therapies; financial help and one to one support.

Music Therapy Connections NI (MTCNI)

MTCNI provides a broad range of programmes delivered by healthcare professionals within the community. They work with a wide range of clients including adults with special needs, mental health, mother and toddler groups, brain injury, trauma, dementia care, hospice care etc. They will provide free information/taster sessions for parents on what is music therapy. They can also provide accredited courses on the use of music and communication.

Phab NI

Phab NI Independent Living provides support for people with disabilities, enabling them to live independently in the community. Phab Inclusion Matters brings together young people with and without disabilities to provide social, sporting and personal development opportunities.

T: 028 9050 4800

Positive Futures

A charity that supports children, young people and adults with a learning disability offering supported living services, children and family services, adult placement services, older carers’ service

Praxis Care

Charity which provides services for adults and children with a learning disability, mental ill health, acquired brain injury and older people, including people with dementia. Praxis Care assists adults and children with a learning disability or acquired brain injury to live in appropriate community settings, through offering a holistic range of care and diversional activity. Praxis specialises in services for adults and children who have complex needs, including challenging behaviours, which could not normally be met outside a hospital or institutional setting. These services include a range of residential and supported living schemes and the provision of work and training opportunities.


Relationship & Sexuality Education Programme -Family Planning Association – JUST ASK

Just Ask is a unique Relationship & Sexuality Education programme in Northern Ireland working specifically with people with a learning disability and ASD


SHINE – Spina bifida Hydrocephalus Information Networking Equality (formally ASBAH)

Aim is to give advice and information on these two conditions to individuals, families and carers. Through its links with the UK Association it offers a wide range of specialised services to people in NI. They have six branches namely, Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Mid-Ulster, Lurgan/ Banbridge and Western.


Stepping Stones NI Ltd – Transition service- SE Trust area, Lisburn BT17

Service assists young people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties to make an informed decision about the right move for them after school. The organisation is a community business providing a realistic working environment for adults with learning disabilities to avail of vocational training leading to employment.


Turner Syndrome Support Society 

Support for girls and women with Turner Syndrome. TSSS hold an annual conference and a number of conferences around the country. Members receive regular copies of ASPECT and TSSS newsletter which covers all aspects of Turner Syndrome from day to day living, medical issues, research, education, social issues and more. Twelve friendship groups operate in the UK and Ireland, for details of Northern Ireland Friendship Group see the website

Vela Microboards NI Ltd

This is a regional voluntary organisation which assists in the establishment and support of small, individual, associations of close family members and friends, who come together to develop a support network with an individual person. This becomes the Vela Microboard which focuses on enhancing quality of life through the use of a person centred approach

T: 07834 352180

Deafblind UK

Support for those with sight and hearing loss to live with confidence and independently. Free helpline provides and information about local services and support with housing or benefits

T: 0800 132320 Helpline is free and open Monday – Friday

Text: 07903572885 Text Relay: 18001 then 0800 132 320

E: W: BSL:

RNIB – Royal National Institute for the Blind

Provide a range of services for people living with sight loss – social activities, sport and leisure activities, training on living with sight loss.

RNID –Royal National Institute for the Deaf

Charity working on hearing loss and hearing health, they provide information, support and products, employment, training and skills service, communication service, supported housing, and Text Relay.

RNID Information Line: 0808 808 0123 (free phone)
Textphone: 0808 808 9000 (free phone)

NDCS – National Deaf Children’s Society

Local groups are run by parents and carers of deaf children, working together with local health and education professional. They give emotional and social support to families with deaf children and organise out of school activities. Family Officers offer support and advice on any issues around deafness including education and benefits and put families in touch with each other. They also organise family days, signed and interpreted performances

High Five Group (Armagh and Dungannon)

P.A.N.D.A (Parents at North Down and Ards)

Sound Friends (Portadown and Lurgan)

Hearing Hub (Newtownabbey)

Listen hEAR (Saintfield)

Officers based in Northern Ireland provide advice and guidance on a range of topics including education, communication, social care, discrimination, independence and welfare benefits.

T: 028 9035 2011 (v) W:

Angel Eyes NI

This is a charity set up by parents of blind and partially sighted children to provide emotional and practical support for parents from diagnosis of a visual impairment. They organise family days out and run education days.


Kip McGrath Education Centres

Tutor children aged 6-16 years in English and Maths and cover everything from early years reading to GCSE Maths and English.

Lisburn Derry Ballymena Bangor Belfast Poyntzpass

Department of Education N.Ireland.

The Department of Education is responsible for the central administration of all aspects of education and related services in NI – except Higher and Further Education sector, responsibility for which is within the remit of the Dept for Employment and Learning. The Departments main areas of responsibility are in pre-school, primary, post-primary and special education; the youth service; the promotion of community relations within and between schools; and teacher education and salaries. Its primary statutory duty is to promote the education of the people of Northern Ireland and to ensure the effective implementation of education policy.

T: 028 9127 9279

Text Relay available for those who are profoundly deaf or speech impaired – see link on website.

Education Support for Northern Ireland

Web site covering information for the five Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland. Content is translated into 16 languages.

Link Centre – Secondary Pupil Support Centre – BELB

The Secondary Pupil Support Service works to enable children who are having social, behavioural and emotional difficulties in mainstream schools by providing high quality outreach and off-site support in partnership with the home, the school and other agencies. The SPSS is made up of teachers who specialise in working with pupils who are experiencing emotional / behavioural difficulties. The teachers come into the school to work with pupils individually or in a group, and offer them extra support and guidance. They may consult with any other agencies that the school has involved or intends to involve in supporting the child. Pupils are referred by schools.

T: 028 9032 3986 E:

Education & Training Inspectorate

ETI provides inspection services for a number of organisations. These include the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Employment and Learning, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland. Mission Statement – ‘Promoting improvement in the interests of all learners’

Baby Sensory

Classes for parents/carers and babies (birth to 13 months) run weekly in Belfast area. Activities incorporate every possible sensory experience including sign language, fibre optic light shows, amazing bouncy light balls, rainbows, bubbles, bells, holistic massage and much more.  Baby Sensory is designed to encourage early development. First session is run as a free trial. Parents/carers can join at any time and activities are suitable for all babies.


This is an educational charity, based in NI, supporting children’s additional needs, providing information in various formats on Dyslexia, ASD and ADHD. They also support children’s literacy through their Back-on-Track programme.This charity has a team of volunteers which provide individual support in schools with numeracy and literacy. They are currently running a pilot programme in 3 schools in Belfast –

Botanic PS, St Matthews, Scoil an Droichid


Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC)

Free, independent advice, information & advocacy for parents of children with special educational needs in Northern Ireland.

Confidential Telephone Advice Line 028 9079 5779

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday  -10.00am – 1.00pm

ACE – Advisory Centre for Education (England & Wales)

Free, independent advice and information for parents and carers in England and Wales on a range of State education and schooling issues.

Advice NI

Offer freeindependent advice which is impartialnon-judgmentaland respectful of the person’s dignity Advice on Benefits such as DLA

Children’s Law Centre

Information and advice on the law in relation to Special Educational Needs in N. Ireland

Childline Anti bullying Helpline

T: 0800 44 1111

DARS – Global Mediation

DARS (Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service) is a free, independent service run by Global Mediation to resolve disputes involving Special Educational Needs(SEN). If initial attempts to resolve disagreements between parents/guardian and a school or Education Authority in relation to Special Educational Needs provision you may be entitled to this free service. Involvement with DARS will not affect your right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)

T:  028 9272 6060



Enquire – Scottish Advice Service for additional support for learning

This service offers independent and impartial advice and information for parents, carers, practitioners, children and young people. They operate a telephone helpline and online enquiry service. They also provide a range of guides and factsheets.

Family Support Northern Ireland website

This site provides details of services provided by statutory, voluntary and community organisations.

Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA)

National charity providing free legally based advice to families who have children with special educational needs in England and Wales

NICCY – Northern Ireland Commissioner for children and young people

The Commissioner can deal with individual complaints from children and young people, or their parents/guardians about government services like education, health, adoption and fostering, youth justice, road safety.

NI Anti-Bullying Forum – NIABF

The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) has a membership of over twenty regional statutory and voluntary organisations all acting together to end bullying of children and young people. NIABF has a range of Task Groups which focus on anti-bullying themes and put into action work that is required to further develop the anti-bullying strategy. These operational groups are made up of Forum members and additional organisations with relevant expertise (linked to the group’s theme).

Parenting NI

Parenting NI is a leading Northern Ireland charity that provides support to parents. It has four main areas of work: Parents Helpline which offers support and guidance to parents with any family problem; Parenting Education which offers tailor-made and specialist parenting courses to groups and individuals; Focus on Fathers which seeks to increase awareness of the issues facing men and boys (especially within families) and to promote their social inclusion; and the Parenting Forum Northern Ireland which provides a platform for the needs and aspirations of parents to be heard.

Helpline: Freephone: 0808 8010 722

Sky Badger

 Sky Badger is a website for families of disabled and life-limited children. Sky Badger is a one-stop-shop where you will find up to date and comprehensive information about all of the help that is available. They link existing disabled children’s charities, social services, education and support under one umbrella; this includes respite, hospice care and ‘make a wish’ charities, sibling support, mobility equipment, medical, legal, marriage guidance and specialist insurance.

SENDIST – Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

Legislation gives you the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (the “Tribunal” or “SENDIST”) in instances where you cannot reach agreement with the Board about your child’s special educational needs.

SNAP cymru – WALES

SNAP Cymru is a national charity, unique to Wales, founded in 1986.

SNAP Cymru offers free and independent information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.  They give advice and support on a range of issues including assessments, statements of special educational needs, bullying, school attendance, exclusion, health and social care provision and discrimination.

They also provide advocacy, disagreement resolution and training for young people, parents and professionals.

W: Helpline: 0808 801 0608

* SENAC provides details of private/commercial suppliers and practitioners for Information purposes only. Inclusion of this information should not be construed as an endorsement by SENAC for a specific product or service.

Learning Space – Educational Toys & Resources

Learning SPACE specialises in a wide range of educational resources and sensory products to meet the needs and interests of all children of all abilities. Their specialist advisers offer information and advice to homes and organisations that need help with sensory or specialised resources.

T: 028 9031 9360



LDA Learning

LDA supply educational resources for kids with conditions including Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Autism, ADHD, Handwriting and Fine Motor skills & Gross Motor Skills. They also sell materials on emotional development, self esteem, learning skills, successful transition to secondary school and adaptable activities for social and emotional development.


AbilityNet – see details above under Neurological Conditions

AbilityNet consultants will be able to advise ways in which technology can be used to access play activities using adapted toys or computer solutions

Experiland– Science Projects for kids

Experiland’s science books contain a range of over 300 science projects and features on subjects such as Chemistry, Earth Science and Astronomy, Life sciences and Physics. They provide a complete listing of required materials, step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the project, why it works and additional information on the subject. Science projects are categorised by the time required to complete. Most of the items needed such as jars, aluminium foil, scissors and sticky tape can be found around the house. Others such as magnets, lenses or a compass can be purchased at hobby or hardware stores.



Fledglings are a national charity that finds and sells products that helps families to find solutions to day to day difficulties that challenge them in the care and development of their children. They search for, develop, test and supply affordable products to meet individual needs. They also inform families about other services that may help and signpost them to sources of financial support where appropriate. As Fledglings has long experience of addressing a wide variety of different needs they are often able to give immediate answers to the problems families bring to us. This helps children to receive help promptly and relieves families of further searching.  They offer assistance via phone and email Help-lines, which are staffed by people with knowledge and experience, including parents of children with additional needs

Helpline 0845 458 1124 / 01799 541 807 – Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Advice Line 028 9079 5779

For advice about your child’s education, please contact our Advice Line to speak to one of our advisers.

For current Advice Line hours, see our Contact page

Limited Company No. NI48698
Charity No. NIC101355

Contact us

Graham House,
Knockbracken Healthcare Park,
Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8BH.

Office Enquiries: 07950 949405
Office Email:

Office email cannot be used for advice queries, for education advice please contact our Advice Line

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