Launch of SENDirect will help families like mine, I CAN Chief Executive Virginia Beardshaw

I remember how lost I felt when my youngest child was diagnosed with speech and language problems. In that antique pre-internet era I couldn’t find anything out about what was wrong, or what to do, or where to go to get help. Misery and frustration resulted.

adly, evidence from parents today suggests that not a lot has changed. Most parents still feel as bewildered as I did despite the huge advances in technology.

The launch of the SENDirect service today aims to change that. Nine leading disability charities have collaborated to create this online information service. From the very start parents have advised on content and will continue to shape the service along with children and young people with SEN and disabilities.

I CAN is a founder member of SENDirect. That’s because at I CAN we know how much families across the country struggle every day to access the services and information they need to ensure their child’s language issues are met.

We are committed to ensuring that children with speech, language and communication needs, and their families can access the information about services available in their local community, when they need it.

The launch of SENDirect is a breakthrough for the disability sector; the service will completely change the way that families are able to find out about what’s available to help them and their children. It will help them to choose the right set of support for their particular circumstances. And it is a different and new way of working for the voluntary sector – charities coming together to develop and deliver services.

In shaping the new approach, SENDirect is collaborating closely with ten pilot Local Authorities. SENDirect will help parents, professionals and schools find out what is available to help children with special educational needs and disabilities reach their potential.

There is still a long way to go. The new service will rely on families alerting SENDirect to local services that have worked for them as well as in the coming weeks and months flagging what services are currently not listed.

Watch this space as SENDirect develops and grows.

View our gallery below for photos from the SENDirect launch at the BETT Show.