How can I keep my child with special educational needs (SEN) or additional learning needs safe?

It’s normal for parents and carers to worry about their children at times. Children with additional learning needs may be more vulnerable to some risks than other children.

You can support them by being curious about their lives and checking in with them regularly.



SEN safety: a young man looks into the distance wearing a red coat

Give your child the tools to understand

Your child might not have the skills or understanding to identify when they’re at risk. You can work with them to help build these skills.

  • Help them to recognise danger. Try to teach your child about dangerous situations in a way that they can understand. How you do this will depend on your child’s specific needs. Talk to the SENCo (special educational needs coordinator) at your child’s school for more advice about this.
  • Help them to communicate. When a child struggles with communication they might not be able to express how they’re feeling verbally. Try and think about the ways your child best communicates with you. Decide on a plan to regularly check in with them. This might be through drawing, talking, writing, or using visual aids.
  • Share your strategies with other adults. It’s important that the other adults who care for your child also recognise how to keep your child safe. Talk to these adults and share your concerns, ideas and strategies. They might have some helpful thoughts and insights too.

Support your child

It can be distressing when you are worried about your child being in danger. But it’s important to be aware of the possibilities.

Children with SEND or additional learning needs are sometimes more vulnerable to exploitation. This is when someone tries to use a child for their own advantage. Sometimes children exploit other children by making them think they are friends.

  • Be curious. Find out about the people your child spends time with and what they get up to when they are out. If your child doesn’t usually struggle with communication, there are still reasons why they might not speak to you. They may be afraid to talk about what’s been going on, and they might be worried about getting into trouble.
  • Talk about your concerns with someone else who can help. This could be school staff, including the SENCo. It might be support workers from other organisations that work with your child. In some areas, you can contact your local multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH). Other areas might require a referral from a safeguarding professional.
Go back

What is an EHCP and an IEP, and how can my child get one?


Child exploitation: what you need to know


What SEN support can my child’s school provide?


How can I help when my child feels anxious?


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