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: Two groups on Thursdays, at 12.30-1.30pm and 1.45-2.45pm, with prior booking at Early Days Family Centre.

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

    Who for: Babies and children up to the age of 4 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 250 3060

    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 /

    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: / 07497 261426 / Facebook / Website

    Little SENsations

    A playgroup for under 5’s with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). It’s a no-commitment and no-pressure group for families  to come and socialise and play together.

    When: Thursdays 10.30am-12pm (term-time only)

    Where: Ridgeway Arms, Quarry Hill, Mosborough S20 5AZ

    Who for: Under 5’s with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their siblings and friends

    Cost: £3 per session, £1 per additional sibling

    Contact details: Contact Ellie via text, call or WhatsApp on 07472424402 to book

    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 / Vision Support Service: 0114 2941201 ext 1185

    SHASBAH Stay and Play

    Are working on a new venue and offer for their Stay and Play group, further details to follow when available.

    Contact details: Nina Rose: 07752 665411 /

    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.

    There is also a first of the month Barnsley Inclusive Play (BIP) session at Lundwood Family Centre, Barnsley from 10-12pm.

    When: Wednesdays 10am-12pm (term time only)

    Where: 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 /

    SHEDS Baby and Toddler Group

    Sheffield Down Syndrome Support Group (SHEDS) holds a 4-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, every 4 weeks, except Bank Holidays. – for dates please contact SHEDs

    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 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: / 0114 222 2418

    St Thomas playgroup

    A playgroup for under 3s with additional needs. Lots of activities, toys and sensory play opportunities for your child, as well as singing, stories and simple crafts. Drinks and snacks provided for adults – bring a drink and snack for your child if required.

    When: Monthly on Thursdays, 10-11.30am (relaxed start – turn up when you can)

    Where: St Thomas Church, Nairn Street, Sheffield S10 1UL

    Who for: Children under three with additional needs and their siblings

    Cost: £2 per family

    Contact details: / 0114 267 1090

    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 /

    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 – / 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: 29th September 2022