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 firstname.lastname@example.org
ARMAGH BANBRIDGE & CRAIGAVON
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
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.
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
Team Aspie – social group for 11-18 year olds with Aspergers
CAPAA runs social clubs for children and adults all year round
Autism 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
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: email@example.com
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.
Autism NI – Regional Autism charity that runs parent support groups throughout NI-see Autism section for contact details
NAS NI – 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.
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.
This link to their website is useful for parents wanting further information about Dyscalculia
T: National Helpline: 0845 251 9002.
DADS Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Support
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 who are passionate about advocating for change for children with dyslexia in NI.
Northern Ireland Dyslexia Association
Provide help and information for dyslexic people and their families.
Northern Ireland Dyslexia Centre
Offers assessments and training courses for parents and teachers
Dyslexia Support Programme – Belfast Metropolitan College
This course is designed to help parents and other carers to support their child with dyslexia. Course includes aspects of reading, spelling, writing, math, complementary support programmes, software, sourcing resources, confidence building and organisation skills. For further information about this course contact:
T: 028 9053 3161 or Peter McCartney T: 028 9053 3179
Dyslexia & Tutoring Centre – Greater Expectations
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.
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 *
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
W: McCrystal Opticians Temp Front » McCrystal Opticians
Slemish Parents Dyslexia Support Group
Therapy Foundations for Education
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.
Tutor & Specialist Assessor* – Dyslexia
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
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
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
ADD – NI – AD & HD Support (NI)
Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder. Regional service providing a support network for children, young people and the families of those affected by AD/HD. They run a parenting programme, therapeutic group work, individual counselling, Art therapy, sibling group and training for professionals and members of the public.
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.
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
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 https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/involved/branches/nireland
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
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
Helpdesk: 0300 777 8427
Tourettes Support NI
Support Group in Northern Ireland for Tourette’s Syndrome.
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
E: email@example.com 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.
Befriending Service Offers support and understanding to parents with additional needs.
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 – website
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 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.
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.
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.
Eluminate our lives
This is a campaign group set up by parents whose children are out of school, or at risk of leaving school before they complete their primary or secondary education. This group campaigns for the use of Elluminate a real time e learning system in schools in NI to enable children who are unable to attend school due to short or long term illness but feel able and wish to participate in some or all of their school lessons
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org..uk
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
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 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 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
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
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.
W: SHINE NI
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 E:email@example.com
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.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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’
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
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 & Friday -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.
Offer free, independent advice which is impartial, non-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 – Dispute Avoidance & Resolution Service
If disagreements arise between parents/guardian and a school or Education Authority in relation to Special Educational needs provision a referral can be made to DARS. DARS is an independent, confidential and informal forum to resolve disagreements. DARS will facilitate meetings with interested parties where it is hoped that agreement may be reached. Involvement with DARS will not affect the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.
T: Belfast – 028 9056 4030
Southern – 028 3751 2383
South Eastern – 028 9056 6954
North Eastern – 028 2566 2391
Western – 028 71 86 3520
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 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 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.
* 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 is a sensory friendly store based in Belfast city centre and specialises in a wide range of educational resources to meet the needs and interests of ALL children and of all abilities. They have specialist staff on hand to advise on suitability and usefulness of resources for specific conditions e.g. dyslexia, autism and how to create your own innovative learning environment.
T: 028 9031 9360
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