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SEN Early Years Resources

This webpage has been created to give Early Years Practitioners and Parents/Carers easy access to relevant information and resources to support young children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. There is also a downloadable quick reference guide to the Most popular SEN Early Years Resources 2019.

Please click on the images below for information and resources relevant to that subject area.

Cogition and learning (SEN Early Years Resources) Communication and interaction (SEN Early Years Resources) Physical & Sensory(SEN Early Years Resources) Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEN Early Years Resources)


The following sections below have additional information and guidance that will further support your inclusive practice in settings, and assessment of individual children's strengths and needs. Please click on the images below to jump straight to these sections.

Developing Inclusive Practice Small Step Assessments Useful SEND Documents                                


Developing Inclusive Practice

Makaton Friendly Status

The Makaton Friendly scheme recognises places that strive to make their services accessible for people who use Makaton to support their communication. Here are links directly to the Criteria for achieving a Makaton Friendly award and the Makaton Friendly nomination form, which includes the price structure. For more information about the Scheme, including frequently asked questions visit the Makaton Friendly section on the Makaton Charity website. Click on the Makaton friendly logo below to go directly to their free resources webpage. There is also a Makaton Good Practice Action Plan in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage. The Let's talk Makaton Youtube Channel provides lots of video clips on useful individual Makaton signs and symbols. 

Portage Stamp of Approval

The National Portage Association (NPA) Stamp of Approval Scheme is an award given to early year’s settings who have demonstrated they deliver inclusive early years education based upon Portage Principles. Here are links directly to the following downloadable documents from their website: NPA Criteria for Stamp of Approval, Small Steps to Achieving the NPA Stamp of Approval and NPA Stamp of Approval Application form. Please see the 'Achieving the NPA Stamp of Approval Scheme' document in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this web page to help you prepare for getting approval. There are lots of other useful resources available on the Portage Support Hub, some are free and some require membership (£35 per year) to download. 

The Inclusion Development Programme

A suite of materials aimed to support teachers, teaching assistants & trainee teachers to increase their knowledge and skills in working with children & young people with a range of special educational needs (sen):

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust website has a range of freely downloadable resources that will help adults to support young children’s communication and interaction

NASEN - Early Years SEND Review Guide and Audit Tool

This Early Years SEND Review Guide has been developed by AfA and nasen, as part of the EY SEND Partnership, to support leaders in Early Years settings to review their setting’s practice for children with SEND. The pdf below is accompanied by an editable word version audit form that can be found in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this web page.

Small Step Assessments

Early Years Sensory Processing Profile

Supporting children’s emotional responses using a STAR Chart – Settings, Triggers, Actions and Responses

Please see the guidance document and blank template added in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage.

What to expect when?

This can be downloaded for free and hardcopies can be purchased from Action for Children. Click on the image below to open this document as a pdf.

ICAN Charity - Early Talk Boost Tracker

Attention Levels and Strategies

Please see the document added in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Early Support Programme Developmental Journal Materials

Although the DfE Early Support Programme is no longer currently running, all the materials remain relevant and up to date, apart from a few of the links, and are now available through The Council for Disabled Children website:

Bilingual Development Matters

Please see the excerpt in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage from the PLA book Bilingualism in the Early Years – A resourceful guide to theory and practice. More resources like this are available from the book and other resources found on the website

Speech, Language and Communication assessment resources

A whole range of resources can be found either by clicking on the title above or from and then clicking on the ‘Speech, language and communication’ tab

Autism Observation Profile

The purpose of the observation profile is to enhance the teacher’s ability to assess the young child’s progress in developing skills and understanding in those areas which are typically impaired in autism.

The Autism Observation Profile works well alongside the Autism Education Trust Early Years Competency Framework. This framework sets out the skills, knowledge and understandings that staff require to work effectively with children with autism.

Venturing into Play: a play skills profile for children with autistic spectrum disorders

Click the title above to learn more about purchasing this affordable resource. This resource aims to assess young children’s social interaction, communication and play skills alongside suggesting small next steps for the child.

Early Years Foundation Stage Small Step Profiles

The EYFS Small Steps Profile is available to purchase using the 'Online Web Shop' from EQUALS Website.

Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

This freely downloadable guidance produced by Early Education is the Early Years Outcomes with additional support looking specifically at the provision needed to enable young children to achieve the intended outcomes. 

Useful SEND Documents