Early education and childcare for disabled children

Help with finding suitable childcare to meet the needs of your child and family.

Arranging childcare

It is always a good idea to visit a childcare provider before making any decisions so that you have the opportunity to ask questions, meet staff and check that the setting is right for you and your child. See our guide to arranging childcare for advice on the types of questions to ask and things to think about before deciding on a childcare provider can be found here.

There are two main types of childcare provision for disabled children - specialist and mainstream. Mainstream settings are for both disabled and non-disabled children, whereas specialist provision caters specifically for disabled children

Most mainstream childcare providers are able to offer places to children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.  You will just need to find the “right” one for your child.

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Note: You can use the SEN experience filter on the right hand side of your results page to narrow your search.

Specialist providers

In Oxfordshire, the main specialist providers for short breaks, commissioned by us are:

  • Autism Family Support Oxfordshire provides holiday activities across the county and youth groups in Oxford and Abingdon for children and young people (8 –18 years) with Asperger's Syndrome/high functioning autism.  AFSO is a charity that provides support to children and young people (0-25 years) with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their families; within the area of Oxfordshire and near neighbours.
  • Bardwell School provides after school activity clubs, 3 days a week for disabled children and young people (5-18 years) from Bardwell School, Bicester.  They also provide holiday activities for disabled children and young people (5 -18 years) and a youth group for disabled children and young people (11-18 years) in the Bicester and Kidlington area.
  • Barnardo’s provide after school clubs and holiday playschemes at Springfield Special School, Witney and Kingfisher Special School, Abingdon for disabled children and young people (5-18 years).  They also run youth groups. 
  • Bishopswood School provide after school activities, 3 days a week for disabled children and young people (5-18 years) from Bishopswood School, Sonning Common and the local area.  They also provide holiday playscheme activities, three days a week for disabled children and young people (5-18 years) from Bishopswood School & Sonning Common.
  • Fitzwaryn School provides holiday activities for disabled children and young people (5 -18 years) in the Wantage area. 
  • Kids run after school and holiday playscheme activities at John Watson School in Wheatley for disabled children and young people (5–18 years).
  • Let’s Play Project provides after school, holiday playscheme and youth activities for disabled children and young people (5-18 years) in Banbury and the immediate area.  They also work with over 18s moving into adulthood.
  • The Parasol Project is based at the Tower Playbase in Oxford City where they run an inclusive holiday playscheme for disabled and non-disabled children.  They also run age appropriate teenage activities (12-18 years) in all school holidays and during term time.  All their activities are for disabled and non-disabled young people to take part in together. Activities are selected by their teenage users and range from creative ‘in days’ to adventurous canoeing days and everything in between.
  • Yellow Submarine provides activities and holidays for children and young people with learning disabilities (11-18 years).  They also run term-time youth clubs in Abingdon/Didcot, Oxford and Witney.  They support young people with mild to moderate learning disabilities and or/autism.  Regrettably they cannot support those with PMLD, complex needs or physical disabilities. They also work with young adults up to the age of 25 years as part of the transition from young person to adult. 

There are also some other groups/agencies that may be able to help with other childcare. 

Disability Information Officer

If you are a family with a disabled child and are finding it difficult to find childcare that can meet your needs, you can contact the Disability Information Officer. They can help to identify childcare that may meet your needs and contact childcare providers on your behalf if needed. They will collect basic information about your child’s needs, as well as that of your family, such as days, times and costs and using this information shortlist possible childcare providers for you.