It is a good idea to visit a childcare provider before making any decisions. You'll be able to ask questions, meet staff and check that the setting is right for you and your child. Our guide to arranging childcare gives advice about questions to ask and things to think about before you decide.
There are two main types of childcare provision for disabled children - specialist and mainstream.
Mainstream settings are for both disabled and non-disabled children. Specialist provision caters specifically for disabled children.
Most mainstream childcare providers can 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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Paying for childcare and early education
The majority of children/young people with SEND do well in mainstream provision but some children/young people need more specialist care. Oxfordshire County Council has commissioned some specialist providers to offer “out of school” care (short breaks) for families with children and young people who have SEN/D.
The majority of them are open to applications for children the term after their 5th birthday but you can contact the provider nearest you to find out more and how/when to apply to use their service. The main specialist providers for short breaks are:-
Holiday activities across the county and youth groups in Oxford and Abingdon. AFSO offers activities for children and young people (8 –18 years) with Asperger's syndrome/high-functioning autism. The charity supports children and young people (0-25 years) with autism spectrum disorder and their families. AFSO covers Oxfordshire and near neighbours.
The school provides after-school activity clubs, three days a week, for disabled children and young people (5-18 years). They offer the following activities in the Bicester and Kidlington areas.
- Holiday activities for disabled children and young people (5 -18 years).
- Youth group for disabled children and young people (11-18 years).
Barnardo's provides after school clubs, holiday playschemes and youth groups for disabled children and young people (5-18 years). They hold these activities at:
- Springfield Special School, Witney
- Kingfisher Special School, Abingdon.
The school provides after-school activities and holiday playschemes, three days a week, for disabled children and young people (5-18 years). The activities are available for children at Bishopswood and from the local area.
The school provides holiday activities for disabled children and young people (5 -18 years) in the Wantage area.
After-school and holiday playscheme activities run at Thomley for disabled children and young people attending John Watson School and those in the Wheatley area (5-18 years).
The project offers after school, holiday playscheme and youth activities to disabled children and young people (5-18 years). They also work with over 18s moving into adulthood.
The project offers an inclusive holiday play scheme for disabled and non-disabled children (5-18 years). They 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. Their teenage users select activities. They 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 run term-time youth clubs in Abingdon/Didcot, Oxford and Witney. Yellow Submarine support young people with mild to moderate learning disabilities and or/autism. They work with young adults up to 25 years as part of the transition from young person to adult.
They cannot support those with PMLD, complex needs or physical disabilities.
There are also some other groups/agencies that may be able to help with other childcare.
Disability Information Officer
The Disability Information Officer can help if you are having difficulties finding what you need. They will try to help you find childcare to meet your needs and will contact childcare providers for you if needed. They will collect basic information about your child and family's needs. They'll use this information to shortlist possible childcare providers for you.
Contact the Disability Information Officer through the Oxfordshire Family Information Service.