Support for neurodivergent children and young people 5-18 years

When children and young people 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. 

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 (

BeeU provides emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (ages 0 to 25) in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. The service provides:

  • Emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (0-25)
  • Neurodevelopmental assessments for children – autism for 5-18 year olds, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for 6-18 year olds
  • Community Eating Disorder Services for 0-18 year olds

BeeU’s website (link below) provides information on the different ways to access support – these include:

  • Services children, young people and families can directly access. 
  • How professionals can refer children, young people and families for assessment and treatment when more help is needed.
  • Support available if there is an immediate concern.

BeeU : Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (


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 (

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 (

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

Children's social care | Shropshire Council

Family Connect (

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.

This 24/7 Helpline offers a listening ear, advice, support and signposting for adults, children and their carers and operates 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. Children and young people or their parent / carer can contact the helpline if there are concerns about mental health and wellbeing.

You can contact them by calling 0808 196 4501

BeeU :: Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (

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 (

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

Early Bird Plus 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 Plus (

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 (

The Intensive Support Team (IST) provides a service to a small group of children and young people who are listed on the Dynamic Support Register (see their listing). Team members are clinicians experienced in behaviour support.

The IST works to prevent placement breakdown for children and young people. It provides support, which is proactive and preventative rather than reactive and is based on a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) approach. They aim to address the reason for behaviours that challenge in the setting in which they are occurring, whether that is at home, at school, or in other locations and services.

The IST works to upskill families and professionals involved in a child’s life by role modelling a PBS approach and works alongside specialist health teams, social care and education services to support the network around the child and their family.

Referrals come via the Dynamic Support Register and children will need a diagnosis of autism and/or learning disability Dynamic Support Register - NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (

Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous website for young people living in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin aged 11-19. You don’t need to be referred or have an appointment. It provides an anonymous 24-hour online service, 365 days per year, offering peer support, self-help and trained and qualified counsellors available to talk to online at particular times. For more information

BeeU :: Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (

The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) are delivered by BeeU and work with the whole school community. Their aim is early intervention and prevention, working in partnership with schools and other agencies to recognise and address common mental health problems. The team is made up of mental health practitioners who are trained in evidence-based interventions and supervised by specialist staff.

MHST teams offer 3 core functions of service:

  • Delivering evidence-based interventions for children and young people with mild-to-moderate mental health problems 
  • Supporting the senior mental health lead in each education setting to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach 
  • Giving timely advice to school and college staff, and liaising with external specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education

Around 50 per cent of Shropshire and Telford schools and colleges are covered by the service. Speak to your child’s school to find out if yours is one of them.

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


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 (

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 (

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 (


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 (

School Nurses are part of the 0-19 team who care for children and young people, aged 5 – 19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. For SEND children the service extends to the age of 25. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and/or emotional health needs

Each member of the 0-19 team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families.

School Nursing (

Pastoral support is the provision a school makes to ensure the physical and emotional welfare of pupils. They are the link between school and home, supporting children and their families through difficult periods.

The Pastoral support team can help remove barriers for the most vulnerable children to enable them to access their education. They can ensure that a child and their family get the intervention and support they need, whether at school or multi-agency level.

Contact your child’s school to find out who the pastoral lead is. Not all schools may use the term pastoral support, they may use a different name for their services but it’s role will be the same.

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 (


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 ( or contact the Short breaks coordinator for more information

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 (

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 (

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:


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 (

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 and young people 5-18 years Page list