Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) find it harder to learn or access education than most children of the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age.

Information for parents, carers, young people and professionals about support and services for children and young people from 0-25 with SEND is available on the Portsmouth Local Offer website.

Children with special educational needs may need extra help because of:

  • difficulties thinking and understanding
  • physical or sensory difficulties
  • emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • difficulties with speech and language
  • difficulties with mental health
  • how they relate to and behave with other people

Many children have special educational needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome their difficulties quickly and easily.

A few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.

Special educational needs could mean that a child has difficulties with:

  • all of the work in school
  • reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
  • making friends or relating to adults
  • understanding and following school rules
  • organising themselves
  • some kind of sensory or physical needs which may affect them in school

Information for parents

Portsmouth City Council provides support for both children with special educational needs and their parents.

For more information email or write to special educational needs, Portsmouth City Council Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2EA.

For information about all local services and support on offer in Portsmouth for children and young people age 0 – 25 with SEND, please visit Portsmouth Local Offer. The website has information on events, education, health and social care and support groups you can join. There’s a section for:

Changes to neurodiversity pathways in Portsmouth

Children and young people who are showing signs of neuro-developmental needs can now access a new tool which can help identify what support a child or young person may need.

The Neurodiversity (ND) Profiling Tool is the first step in identifying neurodiversity within children and young people aged 0-19. It has been piloted with 50 families in Portsmouth from March 2021 to April 2022 and has now been approved for use across the city.

What is the ND Profiling Tool?

The ND Profiling Tool is a visual document that assesses nine developmental strands of a child or young person aged 0-19. This includes speech and language, energy levels, attention skills, emotion regulation, sensory levels, flexibility and adaptability, and empathy.

It provides a holistic view of a child or young person’s needs and suggests types of strategies that can be put in place to help manage those needs in different areas of a life, such as at home, at their Early Years setting, school or college, and in the community.

The process of completing the profile is done with the family, and not for or to the family.

How do I use the tool for my child or young person?

If you think your child or young person may be showing signs of Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, or other neuro-developmental needs, you can request an ND Profiling Tool to be completed.

This will be done jointly with a trained professional alongside your child or young person if appropriate and your family. There are more than 200 professionals who have already received training in completing the ND Profiling Tool with more being trained each week. Usually these are people who work with children or young people, so you are encouraged to speak to your health visitor, nursery, school or college to request a profile in the first instance.

If you are not sure who to speak to, please contact

What happens after we complete the profile?

The ND Profiling Tool will offer an insight into your child or young person’s needs and will help identify the types of strategies that can be put in place to help.

From September 2022 you will be able to request support from our dedicated neurodiversity team of consultants, clinicians, family support workers, educational psychologists or therapists who can provide specialist advice and support to families as needed via a dedicated phone number or email address.

You can also share the profile with anyone or any organisation as you wish and of course, the child or young person themselves when they become able to understand the idea of their own neurodiversity needs.

From September 2022, PPV will also be holding regular peer-to-peer support sessions for families who are:

  • Thinking about requesting an ND Profile;
  • In the process of completing an ND Profile; or
  • Have completed an ND Profile and are now using the strategies at home.

Details of these sessions will be circulated by Portsmouth Parent Voice in the near future.

Can families request a ND clinical assessment?

From 1 July 2022, the ND Profiling Tool will replace the current referral process to request a ND clinical assessment. Instead, trained professionals will be required to complete the ND Profiling Tool in the first instance. This will mean no long waits for a full ND assessment (currently at 18+ months) and your child or young person will be provided with strategies to help them manage their needs with the support of family and education settings.

However, if a child or young person is currently on the waiting list for an ND assessment, they will remain on the list. Equally, if someone would like to request an ND clinical assessment after completing a profile, they can discuss this with the neurodiversity team.

We would encourage those on the waiting list to complete a ND Profile while they wait. This will not affect their position on the waiting list but will help to identify strategies that can support the child or young person and their family while waiting.

The ND Profiling Tool has been co-produced by Portsmouth City Council in partnership with Portsmouth Parent Voice, Dynamite and partners across education, health, social care and early years. It is delivered through Health and Care Portsmouth.

Information for Professionals

If you work with families and would like to complete the training in order to support families in completing the ND Profiling Tool, please send your full name and job title to and you will receive the training details.

Dedicated support team for children and young people

Portsmouth’s Neurodiversity Team (0-19) consists of family support workers, Neurodiversity practitioners, therapists, an educational psychologist, consultants and service lead.

The team has been developed to support the city’s new neurodiversity pathway, which aims to improve early identification of neurodiversity and offer increased support for families and professionals. This means that children and young people may not need to go through the lengthy assessment process to get their needs met. A child or young person’s needs will be initially identified through the Neurodiversity Profiling Tool, in partnership with educational settings.

The Neurodiversity Team will provide:

  • A single point of access for parents/carers and professionals who require additional support and/or training to meet a child or young person’s needs
  • Universal and consistent support for families, children and young people
  • An extended offer for more complex cases which may include assessments, diagnoses, and focused support, but this is dependent on each case

If the strategies are not working, families and professionals can contact the Neurodiversity Team (0-19) for support on

For more information about the changes to the Neurodiversity pathway, please contact Portsmouth Parent Voice on