Early Years SEN Service 0-5 years

The Early Years Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service offers advice and support to families who have children under five with complex needs or autism (or awaiting diagnosis).

Our service aims are to

  • offer support and advice to parents and carers
  • provide specific training, advice and support for our early years professionals, in order to create an inclusive learning environment
  • enable children with additional needs to access an early years provision to promote holistic development
  • work collaboratively with parents, carers and professionals to promote the best outcomes for children.

Our service is made up of a service manager, two Complex Needs Home Support Officers and two Early Years Autism Outreach Officers that work across the borough of Lambeth. We also have a coordinator for the Disability Register. Families who register get a Lambeth Liberty card, which proves that the child or young person has a disability when it is not obvious. It also gets discounts from some providers.

Referrals to the Early Years SEN Service usually come from the Mary Sheridan Centre once a child has been seen by a paediatrician. We have two different pathways for referrals: complex needs and an autism pathway.

Parents moving into the borough with children with complex needs or a diagnosis of autism can discuss the support available by contacting their local children’s centre.

Disability Team Around the Child (DTAC)

When you are referred to the Early Years SEN Service, your child will be put on to our list to be discussed at a professional’s meeting called Disability Team Around the Child (DTAC).

Professionals from different areas (including health, education and social care) that work with your child, are invited to attend these meetings to share information.

Your child will be discussed twice a year to ensure that the correct provisions are in place. This support can look different for individual families depending on their needs. Children will remain on the DTAC list until they are discharged from the Early Years SEN Service on their fifth birthday.

My child has social communication difficulties - what support can I expect?

Our Autism Outreach Officers provide a service to children who have social communication difficulties and who have a diagnosis of autism. Referrals for this service are usually made by health professionals working with the family. 

This service offers:

  • Specialist support and intervention packages within the home or nursery
  • Transitional support for both families and early years providers
  • Advice and guidance around diagnoses
  • The Early Bird Parenting Programme for families with children with an autism diagnosis.

Specific workshops for both parents and professionals to attend

My child has complex needs - what support can I expect?

Our home support officers provide a service to children who have complex developmental needs. Referrals for this service are made by health professionals working with the family.

We usually work with children that are often too young for nursery, therefore, we offer fortnightly visits to the home to deliver a range of play intervention skills to promote the child’s development and support the family as needed.

When the time is right, we support and liaise with your chosen nursery to ensure a smooth transition into an educational environment.

Our home support officers also support inclusive stay-and-play sessions at children's centres across Lambeth. Visit our children's centres pages to find out where and when they take place. You can also speak to a home support officer if you want to find out more.


Early Years SEN Team
Email: earlyyearssen@lambeth.gov.uk

Children and Young People’s Disability Register Coordinator
Email: liberty@lambeth.gov.uk 
Telephone: 020 7926 9140

If you have any enquiries regarding Education Health and Care plans, you can contact the SEND department by: 
Email: sendsupport@lambeth.gov.uk 
Telephone: 020 7926 9450