When children have needs related to neurodiversity they may require support from a range of services. The information below sets out the range of support available in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. Your child doesn’t need a diagnosis to access most of these services, however the focus in this age group is autism or possible autism as other neurodevelopment conditions are less likely to be assessed in the under-fives.

Where a support offer is not available in both council areas this is indicated with either Shropshire or Telford in brackets after the organisation name. 

Scroll down to find more information about each organisation and links to their websites.

A-Z list of organisations contained in the image above

Actio commission and support providers in Shropshire who run activities for children and young people 0-25 with Special Education Needs and Disabilities. For many (but not all) of their activities children and young people need to be a member of All-In which is Shropshire Council’s Programme for children aged up to the age of 18 who live in Shropshire and have a disability that prevents them accessing universal services without additional support. (All In Programme | Shropshire Council)

Information about how to become a member and the activities offered are listed on Actio’s website SEND Activities & Short Breaks | Shropshire | Actio Consortium

Action for Children offers short breaks services in Shropshire. They offer short break holiday support to children and young people 4-18 years who are registered with All-In (All In Programme | Shropshire Council) and overnight short break respite to children supported by Shropshire Social Care.

Children's social care | Shropshire Council

Autism West Midlands offer a regional helpline, free webinars, downloadable resources and a Shropshire Autism Support Service (0-18). Your child does not need an autism diagnosis to access these offers.

The Shropshire service is a team of autism specialists who offer individual advice and support, face to face training, support groups and events. They support and empower families and children and young people, give practical advice, emotional support and signpost and refer on to other services where appropriate.

You can contact them directly or book onto their appointments/events via their website. For more information Shropshire and Telford Community Hub | Autism West Midlands


Autism West Midlands offer a regional helpline, free webinars and downloadable resources. This is available to anyone in the West Midlands. Your child does not need an autism diagnosis to access these offers.  Autism West Midlands | Supporting the Autistic Community

In Telford, Autism West Midlands have an autism specialist staff member based in the Telford Autism Hub. They support and empower families and children and young people, give practical advice, emotional support and signpost and refer on to other services where appropriate. You child needs to be diagnosed to received support from the Telford Childrens Hub (see their listing) Shropshire and Telford Community Hub | Autism West Midlands

The Keyworker Service is for children and young people (0-25) with high support needs. They need to have a diagnosis of learning disability and/or autism and be at a high risk of going into a residential placement or into hospital due to mental health conditions or distressed behaviours.

Keyworkers support children and their families to ensure the right support is in place and to enable the child/young person to stay at home if possible. They

  • work closely with children, young people and their families
  • take the time to get to know them and understand both the child’s and family’s needs
  • advocate and ensure their voices are heard, understood and respected
  • ensure the child and their family have the right support from services at the right time.

Keyworkers are practitioners who are experienced in supporting children and young people who are autistic or have learning disabilities and have received specialist training Keyworker Service - NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (shropshiretelfordandwrekin.nhs.uk)

Best Start for Life is a new national initiative that offers families information and advice about the first two years of their babies’ lives.

In Telford this will be delivered through a new network of Family Hubs which will support new parents with infant feeding, emotional wellbeing, healthy lifestyles and many other services. Best start for life - Best start for life - Family Hubs - Telford & Wrekin Council

In Shropshire – information coming soon.

Challenging Perceptions is a user led organisation run by volunteers. They offer peer support groups for children and young people 6 – 16-year-olds, an under 5’s SEND parent and toddler group, a sensory room, sensory toy shop, advocacy and befriending. Their services are available to residents of Telford and Wrekin, you can contact them direct via their website.

They aim to empower young adults to address mental health issues and wellbeing. To do so they enable members of their communities to come together and support each other to grow in confidence and engage in opportunities. They help to reduce stigma and discrimination by providing information, advice and support and promoting understanding and awareness of mental health and wellbeing that young people face.

Challenging Perceptions | Telford, UK | Challenging Perceptions (cptelford.co.uk)

The Child Development Centres in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin provide assessment and support for children, who are under 5 years old, with additional needs, and their families.

Children are referred into the services by a Community Paediatrician.

Children who are referred to the service are likely to meet a range of specialist clinical, nursing and administrative staff. For more information Child Development Centres in Shropshire and in Telford and Wrekin (shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk)


Social care covers a range of services that help people with day-to-day living. For children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), including autistic and neurodiverse children, this starts with an assessment of both their needs and the parent/carer’s needs and then the provision of appropriate support. Social care also means support for children with SEND who are looked after (in foster care or residential care) and those in need of protection (safeguarding). More information about social care assessments for autistic children is outlined here Social care for children in England (autism.org.uk)

Shropshire and Telford councils have their own social care teams and different ways to access them.

Children's social care | Shropshire Council

Family Connect (familyconnecttelford.co.uk)

Citizens Advice offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free.  They advise on any issue, including benefits, debt, employment, consumer and housing. There are separate organisations for Shropshire and Telford.



Community Paediatricians are specialist doctors with skills and knowledge in child development and related health issues. In order to be offered an appointment, someone must have referred you to the service, e.g., your child’s GP or other healthcare professional (you cannot self-refer to this service).

For more information Community Children's Doctors (shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk)


The Dynamic Support Register (DSR) is a register of autistic people and those with a learning disability who are at risk of going into a residential placement or into hospital due to mental health conditions or distressed behaviours. It enables all agencies and services involved in commissioning and delivering their care and support to provide the type of support the person needs to stay well at home. Your child’s lead professional can refer them or you can refer your child yourself. Dynamic Support Register - NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (shropshiretelfordandwrekin.nhs.uk)

Early Bird is a National Autistic Society (NAS) licenced programme for parents/carers and settings to support children aged under 4 with an autism diagnosis. The courses are delivered in Telford and Shropshire by experienced autism specialists who are licensed Early Bird trainers.

Early Bird supports parents to understand their child’s autism and improve their communication with their child and their ability to manage their child's behaviour. It also provides the opportunity to meet with other parents and share experiences.

Telford and Shropshire | EarlyBird (autism.org.uk)

Information about different types of early years providers, how to choose a setting for your child and council preferred providers for children with SEND is available at the following links

If you live in Shropshire information can be found at Early years | Shropshire Council

If you live in Telford – information coming soon


Empathy for Special Children is a registered UK charity, working across Shropshire and Telford to improve the lives and reduce social isolation of those growing up with a hidden disability. It was set up and is run by a group of parents of children with neurodevelopment conditions. Children do not need a diagnosis to access their support, you can contact them direct via the details on their website. They offer family friendship groups, social sibling groups, holidays activities for the whole family and a holiday programme for young people in Year 6 and above.

Empathy for special children | Shropshire

Families, carers and professionals can access comprehensive local information via their website or by phone relating to the needs of children aged 0 - 19 years old or to 24 years old for those with a disability.

Family Connect (familyconnecttelford.co.uk)

Family Hubs are one-stop centres where families will be able to access information, guidance and support on a range of services, including infant feeding, mental health, healthy lifestyles and parenting classes.

Parenting support covers the pre-birth period, through the infant and toddler stage, and up to late teens, or the age of 25 for young adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The Hubs will be launched in autumn 2023 .Best start for life - Best start for life - Family Hubs - Telford & Wrekin Council


2 year olds - The 24U scheme offers 15 hours of free early years education to eligible children.

3 and 4 year olds - The government funds free nursery provision for every child from the term after their third birthday until the child starts in a reception class at an infant or primary school, or until the term in which they turn five, whichever's sooner.

The government has also introduced the 30 hours extended entitlement. This means that if you're working and meet the criteria you could be entitled to an extra 15 hours of free early education/childcare for your three or four year old child.

If you live in Shropshire more information can be found at Funding for early years SEND | Shropshire Council

If you live in Telford – information coming soon

Health visitors specialise in working with families with a child aged 0 to 5 to identify health needs as early as possible and improve health and wellbeing by promoting health, preventing ill health and reducing inequalities. Health visitors lead the Healthy Child Programme which includes immunisations, health information, developmental reviews, and access to a range of community services and resources. Healthy child programme (stw-healthiertogether.nhs.uk)

Your child’s early years education setting can apply for support, advice and funding in order to meet your child's needs.

Early Years settings that provide places for any 3- or 4-year-olds who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), are eligible to receive Disability Access Funding, which is £800 per child per academic year.

If you live in Shropshire more information can be found at Funding information for settings | Shropshire Council

If you live in Telford – information coming soon

Families can find out more about the service by visiting the Children’s OT website. Their website has lots of useful information, signposting and ideas of ways to help develop functional skills, fine and gross motor skills, and support sensory processing differences – both at home and in the educational setting.

For assessments and individual support there is an open referral system for children between the ages of 0 to 18, and they accept referrals from parents, school or any other professionals.

Families can contact the OT Advice Line to ask for advice or find out more by calling 01743 450 800 or emailing shropcom.OT4kids@nhs.net


Families can contact the Advice Line to ask for advice or find out more about the service. The Advice Line will also advise on how to refer for assessment and individual support. Support is offered from birth to 16 years old (or to 19 years if in full time education). Their website has lots of useful information on how to support speech, language and communication needs. Speech & language therapy (shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk)

Children’s Occupational Therapists who work for the Council assess children and their parents/carers to offer help, advice, safety and support in the home through the provision of equipment and or adaptations to ensure safety, maximise mobility and promote independence. There are separate teams for Shropshire and Telford.

 Occupational Therapy Team | Shropshire Council

Children’s Occupational Therapy Service - SEND - Local offer (telfordsend.org.uk)

PACC is Shropshire’s Parent Carer Forum. It is an independence parent carer led organisation. It supports the SEND Community within the Shropshire Council area, aiming to help make Shropshire a great place for SEND families to thrive and have the same opportunities as everyone else.

They focus on three key work areas: Influence and Change; Information Provision; and Community Support.

They provide a variety of support offers:

·       Preparation for Adulthood Navigators

·       Buddies and Buddies Jnr Community Groups

·       Activity Coordination

·       Learning and Information Sessions

Their commitment to their community is to empower Parent Carers to influence change in local systems and services by sharing their experiences, to inform families to support them to make aspirational decisions for their children, and to create a supportive community within which SEND families can thrive.

About us (paccshropshire.org.uk)


The Parenting Team offers a variety of services to parent carers with children with SEND, including advice and parenting courses. You can contact their helpline or book on their courses, there are no specific access criteria. 

The team is made up of experienced children and family practitioners who have had additional training and experience in SEND.


PODS Charity in Telford and Wrekin, incorporates the Parent Carer Forum which involves and represents families of children with a disability or additional need.

PODS Charity wider service offer includes:

  • Parent Carer groups, workshops, training, engagement events
  • Challenges at Home support sessions for supporting behaviour, anxiety etc (pre-autism diagnosis).
  • Befriending Scheme
  • Family based activities, Holiday Clubs, After School Clubs
  • Peer Befriending Service
  • Perinatal and 0-2years early years offer
  • A Preparing for Adulthood Navigator who works with young people and their parent carers to prepare for life as an adult.

PODS is a parent carer/peer led charity with staff and volunteers who have the relevant ‘real life’ experience to support families who have a child with a disability or additional need (aged 0 – 25)


Home - PODS (podstelford.org)

Portage is a home visiting educational service for pre – school children with SEND and their families. It helps parents teach their children new skills at home under direction of the portage home visitor. The scheme specifies particular teaching techniques and curriculum of skills to be learnt.

All children are referred by paediatricians and must live in Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin. Children must have 2 or more concerns within their learning and development to access the service.

More information can be found on the following webpages.

Portage | Shropshire Council

Portage - SEND - Local offer (telfordsend.org.uk)

SENDIASS (called IASS in Shropshire) offers parents and young people advice and support on any concerns they might have around special educational needs and /or disability (SEND) and explains options, rights and responsibilities. There are separate organisations for Shropshire and Telford, both have lots of information on their websites and you can contact them direct.

SENDIASS support enables parents and young people to take an informed and effective part in making decisions about the child's education. Staff undertake extensive legal training in SEND to ensure they have a good knowledge of all the relevant legislation and guidance.

Shropshire Information Advice and Support Service – Citizens Advice Shropshire (cabshropshire.org.uk)


Short Breaks are available for children and young people with a disability and span a range of activities, care and support options that a child/ young person may need. A Short Break can last from a few hours to a few days, an evening, overnight, a weekend, and school holiday daytime activities, depending on assessed need.

Short Breaks provide an opportunity for children and young people with disabilities to spend time away from their carers, try out new things, have fun and make new friends. Short Breaks can also provide families with a chance to do things together.

A range of offers can be seen here Targeted Preventative Support (telfordsend.org.uk) or contact the Short breaks coordinator for more information shortbreaks@telford.gov.uk

The Short Breaks Newsletter has been created to communicate any hot topics and upcoming activities and events to children with disabilities and their families within Telford and Wrekin and is available here Short Breaks (telfordsend.org.uk)

The Shropshire Family Information Service (FIS) provides detailed information, advice and support on all aspects of family life for parents and carers of children and young people aged 0-19, and those practitioners supporting them. 

For access to resource packs and FIS online database follow this link  Family Information Service | Shropshire Council

Strengthening Families offer family support (0-19) at the family home on a one-to-one basis for targeted vulnerable families. Early Intervention Practitioners offer early help parenting strategies and whole family support by bringing together the right services around the family.

Strengthening Families - SEND - Local offer (telfordsend.org.uk)

Talking Therapies services can support people with mild to moderate mental health issues such as anxiety or low mood. They aim to improve health and wellbeing by offering a range of help, advice, life skills courses, supported self-help, other groups, and individual therapies for everyone aged 16 and over.

You can self-refer or you may be referred by your GP. More information at Shropshire IAPT :: Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (mpft.nhs.uk)

Early Help is about children, young people and families getting the right help at the right time, to prevent issues from getting worse.

Targeted Early Help is needed when existing support is not enough to enable the child, young person or family to make progress. At this point an Early Help Family Worker may be allocated to provide support around specific needs.

In Shropshire, needs are identified using a whole family assessment and action plan which helps identify what support is needed, and by whom, to meet your child and family’s needs. The action plan could include support from one service or a selection of services, depending on the outcome of the whole family assessment.

This plan of Early Help is coordinated by one lead worker, an Early Help Family Practitioner, who is the family’s main point of contact. The lead worker will help you access the services you need quickly and easily. They will arrange regular review Family Meetings so that you and the services involved can ensure that the support being provided is still meeting your family’s needs.

Find out more about the Early Help service via the link:   https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/the-send-local-offer/early-help

Telford's Children's Autism Hub is open to all children and young people aged 0-18, and their families, who have a diagnosis of Autism and are a resident of Telford and Wrekin. They offer a wide range of support along with opportunities to meet with other families and professionals, including advice and support, family groups, training workshops, peer support and groups for children and young people. They also support young people with their transition into the Adult Autism Hub. Their website is available for everyone and offers a wide range of information and resources.

The Hub’s work is based around child centred principles focused on building up and celebrating the individual strengths and gifts of each child. They actively support parental and caring responsibilities encouraging parental confidence and knowledge to support their autistic child to flourish.

Their staff have received specialist training in autism and Autism West Midlands provide an autism specialist staff member who is based in the Hub, delivering training and support sessions.

About Children's Autism Hub | Telford Autism Hub

Young carers are usually thought of as children caring for parents but brothers and sisters of children who have a disability, chronic illness, or mental health difficulties may be classed as young carers.

Young carer services offer professional guidance, connect young carers with other young carers, and provide important breaks from caring responsibilities. In Shropshire and Telford, there are local groups who provide one to one support, regular meet ups with other young carers and holiday activities.

Young Carers Service Shropshire | Crossroads Together

YOUNG CARERS | Carers Centre (telfordcarers.org.uk)

More information about local services that support children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities can be found on the Local Offer website for your area.

Support for neurodivergent children 0-5 years Page list