Things to do with your child with special educational needs and/or a disability
There are many things you can do with your child with special educational needs and or a disability, but they may take more planning and preparation.
- Planning your day
- Directory of local services
- Accessible holidays and special assistance
- Further information
When planning your day out you may want to consider:
- arriving at your destination earlier or later in the day to avoid crowds
- what food or drinks there will be that your child can or will eat
- access to disabled toilets or changing facilities
- is the area suitable for wheelchair or buggy access
- prior to the visit show your child a virtual tour or photos on the destination’s website
Most visitor attractions are happy to accommodate visitors with additional needs. Some will publish special guides or offer specific help and support.
Some attractions may give concessions or allow a carer in for free. You will need to ask each organisation prior to your visit to check for actual details. They like to see evidence of your child’s disability. This could be confirmation of your child’s disability living allowance, diagnosis or the council’s disability network card.
You can search for things to do in our local directory. If you know of any organisations who run sessions or activities for children with additional needs please ask them to create an account and sign up their organisation.
As well as the directory linked above, you can find additional information on support services and resources in this document.
You can also read the following articles containing information, advice and suggestions for activities to do in your local area:
- Arts and crafts
- Breakfast and after school clubs
- Clubs and groups
- Cooking and baking
- Dance and drama
- Sports and leisure centres
- Youth centres
Our directory of local services also contains providers of services that have been accredited by us for families with children that have special educational needs and a disability (SEND). We have carried out checks to ensure the suitability and safety of these services. Once accredited, providers themselves have a responsibility to ensure that they maintain these quality standards. You can find out more about the accreditation scheme here.
If you would like to travel a little further afield, either alone or with family, there are many holiday companies who offer options and assistance for travellers with a special educational need or disability.
It is against the law for anyone to be excluded from a holiday opportunity simply because they have a disability. There are often lots of holiday options to support you and your family: from wheelchair-friendly hotels and resorts, to specially adapted car hire and transfers. Before you book, you must always inform the travel agent, tour operator, airport or airline about any disabilities or requirements you or your family may have, to ensure that the prospective holiday is suitable for you. Check with your holiday provider or operator what support they provide. Many providers have this information on their websites.
Hft is a national charity that supports people to live with independence, choice, and with all the support they need. They have produced a Holiday Information Guide to help people with learning disabilities and those closest to them choose an accessible, disability-friendly holiday. The guide is available for free online, or by post.
Matching Houses is a holiday house swap website that allows disabled people or families with disabled children to swap houses with others who have the same accessibility needs for a holiday or short break.
Tourism for All (TFA) is an independent national charity supporting accessible tourism and travel in the UK. The TFA website has a travel planner website which offers information on accessible travel in the UK, including news and ideas about accessible travel, information on accessible destinations and attractions, and online booking of accessible accommodation.
You can also read about special assistance available when getting to the airport in the article Public transport options.
Family Fund is a UK charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. They are able to consider grants for personalised family breaks in the UK and abroad. Visit the Family Fund website for more information.
Sky Badger is a charity that finds help and adventure for disabled children and their families across the UK. They have an online directory where you can search for holidays and activities to do during free time. You can find out more information on the Sky Badger website.
Our article on public facilities has information on getting a RADAR key for people who need to use disabled toilets.
Motability.co.uk publish a Rough Guide to Accessible Britain which is available for free on their website. It contains reviews of accessible and inspiring days out, and aims to inspire and support people with diverse needs in enjoying the best of Britain’s attractions – whatever their disability. Sections are arranged by region, making it easy to find something wherever in the UK you are visiting.
Families Online have information on places to visit within South Gloucestershire.
The CEA card is a cinema associations card, see the website for details of how to apply for the card. This allows a person to accompany a child with SEND to the cinema free of charge.
In South Gloucestershire there are various things to do specifically for children with SEND. We are currently developing our directory so that you will be able to search for things to do. You can find out more about these by searching our directory or checking our things to do section. You may have to contact the organisations directly to find out answers to questions you may have.