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Choosing the best childcare options for your child can be a daunting experience, especially when your child has an additional need or disability. There is no right or wrong option as childcare has to fit your family and evolve as your child's needs and the needs of your family change.
Start looking early, before your child actually needs childcare, and don't feel under pressure to take the first provider you find. Take your time, speak to more than one provider and make a shortlist. You may not always find a provider that meets all your needs, but it's important to find the best fit you can.
All childcare providers should offer support to children with special educational needs and disabilities.
A Nursery or pre-school should have a Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) talk to them about how they can meet your childs needs and how they will plan and support your childs development.
All childcare providers can get support to help with inclusion and development of children with disabilities and additional needs . More information can be found here.
If your child receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) they may also be able to get extra money to support your child find out if you are eligible here.
All these providers have provided information on how they can support and what experience they have with children with additional needs: Look in the how we support SEND section for details
Find a childminder
A childminder will usually look after your child in their own home.
Find a Day Nursery
Full day care and early education. Children can attend part or full time.
Find a preschool group
Childcare facility which offers care of around three hours a day during term time for children aged two to five.
All Hounslow infant and primary schools have nursery classes.
Children can take up a free, part-time place in these nurseries in the September after their third birthday.
You can find out more about getting a place at your local school nursery here.
For children with complex and profound needs there is a specialist nursery in Hounslow called Lindon Bennett call them on 0208 898 0479.
There are special schools in other local boroughs that also may have some nursery places information on some of these can be found here.
To find out about admission to specialist nurseries contact the Special educational needs (SEN) team on 0208 583 2672.
You can get help paying for childcare as long as your childcare provider is registered*
Support schemes currently available (dependent on eligibility) are
- 15 hours of free childcare for eligible 2 year olds
- 15 hours of free childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds
- 30 hours of free childcare for eligible 3 and 4 year olds -
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- Tax free childcare
- Tax credits for childcare
- Universal credit for childcare
- Support while you study
If you are unsure about which option/s to go with towards your childcare costs as some are not available in conjunction with others, you can use the government's Childcare Choices website and Childcare Calculator to find out more and compare which ones you are better off applying for.
*The law requires anyone providing childcare professionally for children under 8 for a period of more than two hours at a time to register with Ofsted.
The following services all provide support for children with additional needs or disability
Support for families
- Home teaching support - for children with complex needs.
- Early Support - for families with children with complex and ongoing disability.
Support for childcare providers
- Sensory support - for children with hearing, visual impairment or physical disability needs
- Early years special educational needs team - for pre-school childcare providers.
- Disability access fund - funding to support pre-school settings for children age 3 to 4 who have Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
- SEN Inclusion Fund - funding to support pre-school settings for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.