Groups for young children with additional needs

Groups for young children with additional needs

  • We have compiled this overview of specialist toddler groups because parents have told us that they don’t know where to take their young children with additional needs.

    Looking for groups for older children? Have a look at our overview of inclusive leisure activities, or search the Local Offer website.


    Caring Together Hub

    This group is run jointly by health visitors from the Sheffield Children’s 0-19 Service and the Early Days Family Centre. Parents can access information and support around their children with additional needs. Children can stay and play. You need a referral from your Health Visitor to register for the group.

    When: Thursdays 1-2.30pm, with prior booking at Early Days. Small numbers only at present due to social distancing (starting October 2021)

    Where: Early Days Family Centre, 71 Palgrave Road, Sheffield S5 8GS

    Who for: Babies and children under three with additional needs, currently only from North Sheffield. Siblings welcome

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Referral via your Health Visitor 0114 305 3224. Booking at Early Days 0114 273 4926


    Darnall Ready Steady Go Group

    A small relaxed group run by an early years SENCO with input from professionals (such as speech and language therapy, autism team) as required. Children attending the group can be referred to other services where needed.

    When: To be confirmed. It is hoped that sessions will restart in the autumn. Please contact Darnall Family Centre for more information.

    Where: Darnall Community Nursery, Darnall Family Centre, 563 Staniforth Road, Sheffield S9 4RA. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

    Who for: Pre-school children with any kind of additional needs

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Hayley Greaves 0114 2423510 / dcn.childcare@btconnect.com


    Explore, Play and Learn

    Run at various Family Centres in the city alongside the Health Visiting Team, this is a targeted programme for children with delayed speech and language development. Strategies are provided for parents to enable them to support their child’s development at home. The programme includes either a number of home visits or appointments at the Family Centre, followed by attendance at a Family Centre group. Your health visitor will complete a referral form or you can self-refer by completing an Early Help Form and discussing this with a member of the Family Centre Team.

    When: Weekly sessions; different times at different venues

    Where: Currently happening at Meadows Family Centre & Early Learning Community Nursery and coming soon to Early Days, Sharrow and a centre in the east of Sheffield

    Who for: Children who show a lower score for communication and language at the 12-month health visitor check

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Referral via your health visitor


    Little Ears

    A fortnightly group for deaf and hearing-impaired children, run by Sheffield Deaf Children’s Society and Hearing Services from Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

    When: Fortnightly on a Friday, 10-11.30am (term time only)

    Where: Currently via Zoom, but hoping to restart sessions at The Spires Centre, East Bank Road, Sheffield S2 2 AN soon

    Who for: Deaf or hearing-impaired children and their siblings aged 0-4 years

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Please get in touch to request a Zoom code: sheffielddeafchildrenssociety@gmail.com / 07497 261426 / Facebook / Website


    Little Sparklers

    A group for pre-school children with a visual impairment and their siblings, run jointly by the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind and Sheffield City Council’s Vision Support Service.

    When: Wednesdays 10am-12pm

    Where: Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, 5 Mappin Street, Sheffield S1 4DT

    Who for: The sessions are specifically tailored for pre-school children with a visual impairment and are fully accessible for children with other additional needs.

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: SRSB: 0114 2722757 or email cyp@srsb.org.uk / Vision Support Service: 0114 2941201 ext 1185


    SHASBAH Stay and Play

    An indoor play group for parents and children in the Sheffield area. Offers plenty of activities, including books, sensory fun, toys and music. The children have a great time and it’s a great opportunity to connect with other parents/carers who are in a similar situation.

    When: Mondays 10am-12pm, starting from 20th September (term time only)

    Where: Burton Street Foundation, 57 Burton Street, Sheffield, S6 2HH (Every second Monday of the month, the venue will change, so get in touch with Nina for details.)

    Who for: Children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus and their parents and siblings

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Nina Rose: 07752 665411 / info@shasbah.co.uk


    SHASBAH Park Up and Play

    An outdoor play group for families in the Sheffield area. Meets at a local park where the children can play and parents/carers have an opportunity to meet and chat with each other.

    When: Wednesdays 10am-12pm, starting from 15th September (term time only)

    Where: First session is at Hillsborough Park, but the venue will change each week depending on the requests of our attendees. Contact Nina for more details.

    Who for: Children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus and their parents and siblings

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Nina Rose: 07752 665411 / info@shasbah.co.uk


    SHEDS Baby and Toddler Group

    Sheffield Down Syndrome Support Group (SHEDS) holds a weekly gathering for families with young children with Down Syndrome. Drinks and snacks are provided. A friendly space for carers to meet, share and be encouraged.

    When: Monday mornings 10-11.30am, all year round except Bank Holidays. In the school holidays the group is open to the wider Down Syndrome community, whatever age.

    Where: Saint Peter’s Parish Centre, Greenhill, Sheffield S8 7FN

    Who for: Pre-school children with Down Syndrome and their siblings and carers

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Website / FacebookInstagram


    Small Talk

    This group is run by the University of Sheffield. Parents can access information and support, while their children benefit from group activities and speech and language therapy offered by postgraduate speech and language therapy students (supervised by qualified speech and language therapists).

    When: Individual face-to-face sessions will restart on 5 October and will run on Tuesdays between 10am and 2pm, during each University semester (see www.sheffield.ac.uk/about/dates for dates)

    Where: Philippa Cottam Communication Clinic, 362 Mushroom Lane, Sheffield S10 2TS

    Who for: Children up to the age of five years with speech, language and communication needs

    Cost: Recommended contribution of £3.50 per week (not compulsory)

    Contact details: hss-placements@sheffield.ac.uk / 0114 222 2418


    Talking Toddlers

    A focused six- to eight-week intervention for children who are experiencing difficulties with their speech and language development. Delivered by a qualified speech and language therapist and the Community Early Years Practitioners. Attendance is by referral only. Parents can refer their child by contacting Jane Staton using the details below.

    When: Rolling programme throughout the year. Six to eight sessions, each lasting an hour

    Where: Family Centres across Sheffield

    Who for: Two-year-olds who are finding it difficult to start talking, but who may not need a referral to Speech and Language Therapy

    Cost: Free

    Contact details: Jane Staton on 0114 2262335 or 07825 801936 / jane.staton@nhs.net


    Time to Shine

    A SEND session that draws inspiration from the “Hygge” lifestyle approach from Denmark. “Hygge” is all about atmosphere, environment, cosiness, love, friends, happiness and curious exploration “in the moment”. Max. 10 children per session. Booking essential.

    When: Fridays 11am-12.30pm

    Who for: Children who have additional, specific or complex needs, or where parents have concerns

    Cost: £7 per session per family. Booking essential.

    Contact details: Tracy Rodgers – tinyhandsbigfutures@icloud.com / 07714 253061


    Please note: The information in this article is provided for reference purposes only. It is not intended as a tool for verifying the credentials, qualifications or abilities of any individual or organisation listed. Inclusion in this article does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SPCF; nor does omission imply disapproval.

Page last updated: 22nd September 2021