Belfast, NI (February 25th) – During today’s Tourette Alliance Belfast Area Support Group, the Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC) provided an excellent informational presentation covering the advice and assistance that SENAC can offer parents of children with special educational needs. SENAC, a charity begun by parents which first opened it’s doors in 2003, provides confidential, independent advice and advocacy on behalf of children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs attending schools in Northern Ireland up to the age of 19 years.

Parents found the presentation informative and helpful. “I was able to learn more about what my rights as a parent of a child with a special educational need are,” said one attendee whose son has Tourette Syndrome.

The presentation included: 

  • An introduction to Special Educational Needs/ Special Educational Needs legislation and the Code of Practice.
  • Meeting children’s needs in school.
  • Statutory Assessment
  • Statements of Special Educational Needs
  • Terms used in Special Education.
  • Advocating for your child
  • Annual Reviews
  • Transition Reviews

A resource specialist from the organization guided attendees through what is a 5 stage process, emphasizing the importance of communication and information and explained that often the key in making the process work as intended is maintaining a good relationship between the school and home. To this end, it was explained that parents need to be informed when their child is initially placed on a Special Needs Register and should continue to be kept abreast of each step in the process.

“SENAC is able to review the statement or IEP before it’s agreed upon and ensure it’s specific to the child’s needs. They were able to clarify for us that a ‘statement’ is a legal document, while an IEP isn’t,” said Deborah Anderson, an educator, Tourette Alliance Board member and mother to an adult with Tourette syndrome. “Working with the school to solve any issues should always be a first step, and while SENAC recommends keeping relationships between school and home on positive terms, they were also able to clarify that if a school isn’t providing the assistance outlined in an IEP it wouldn’t be looked upon favorably by the courts.” Two words came up time and again, “quantify” and “qualify“; SENAC helps parents ensure that any documents (such as an IEP or a statement of SEN) set out exactly what help the school will provide the child with, what they aims of that help is and who will be responsible for it.

For more information on SENAC or to request information please contact them at, visit their website, or reach out to them during their free advice line hours which run from 10am – 1pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 02890795779.

The information presented tonight can be downloaded at:

SENAC Information Pack


For more information on Tourette syndrome, other Tic Disorders and their Associated Conditions please contact the Tourette Alliance at

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