Young boy with Down Syndrome learning at school

Update May 2022
Due to personal circumstances, Emma who mans our specialist EHC plan helpline, is taking a break from EHC plan work with the DSDT.  Emma plans to return later in the year.

If you need information advice and support with your child’s EHC plan, support at school, an annual review, an appeal to the SEND tribunal, or anything related to being the parent of a child or young person with SEND, please see the options for help and support listed below.

If you would like more information about the Down Syndrome Development Trust and the services offered by DSDT, or have a particular question for the DSDT, or you cannot find the help you need, please email full details to the DSDT office manager, Marianne at or Senay Smallwood, DSDT Director at

Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

SENDIASS offers free information, advice and support on anything to do with special educational needs and disability (SEND) including education, health and social care. They offer:

  • A website and resources
  • A telephone and email advice line
  • One to one advice for more complex issues
  • Workshops
  • DLA/PIP benefits advice

There is high demand for SENDIASS and you may not be able to get an immediate response.

Helpline: 01273 772289 | Email:
Find out more here:

Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA)

IPSEA offer free and independent legally based information advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people.

They offer free services:

  • A suite of free downloadable legal guides and resources.
  • An advice line and call in helpline.
  • A tribunal helpline to give next step advice on appeals and disability discrimination claims to the SEND tribunal.
  • Tribunal Support Service (on referral from the tribunal helpline).
  • Training.

Demand is high and you will need to book a call to speak to an advisor.

Find out more here:

Legal Aid for appealing to the SEND Tribunal

If you are on a low income or receiving certain types of benefits you may be eligible for legal aid if you are appealing to the SEND tribunal.  In some cases a young person may qualify for legal aid in their own right.

Legal help will provide help to prepare a case (in some exceptional situations funding for additional evidence) but not representation at a Tribunal hearing.

Further information about eligibility and how to apply:


SOS SEN offer a free, friendly, independent telephone helpline for information and advice on SEND.  They also offer workshops, advice centres and some 1:1 sessions.

Free and some costed support.

Helpline: 0300 302 3731 or 0208 538 3731
Find out more here:

Child Law Advice

Child Law Advice is operated by Coram Children’s Legal Centre.  They provide specialist advice and information on child, family and education law.

They have a telephone and email helpline and resources.

Find out more here:

SEN Ninja

Independent support with your child’s current school or help to get a placement at the school of your choice, including appealing to the SEND tribunal.

Initial free 30 minute phone call then an hourly rate cost for ongoing consultancy.

Find out more:

Independent SEND Consultant: Rebecca Whippy

Working with families of children and young people with SEND to access support and benefits.

  • EHC plans or other SEND support
  • Accessing transport to school or college
  • Claiming DLA/PIP
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Representation at Tribunals

Please note there is a cost for this service.

Call: 01323 404835 | Email:
Find out more here:

Solicitors with good experience in SEN and Disability matters:

Please note there will be a cost.