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Due to the COVID-19 situation, please contact service providers directly to confirm if the service is still available

Local Offer - News and Events

In this section of the Local Offer you will be able to find out what’s new and what’s going on. This will be specific information for children, young people and families with special educational needs and disabilities. It will also include information about any consultations that you can get involved with by contributing your views. 

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families must be able to contribute to the Local Offer by feeding back their views about the Local Offer itself and about the services that are advertised. You can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the website page.

Family Fund support for children with SEND - Covid - 19

The government gave a press release (19th May ’20) announcing that they were giving £37.3 million of direct support in 2020 – 21 to the Family Fund for SEND children in England.  

The support is partly  in response to COVID 19 pandemic. Families can apply  to the Family Fund for a grant,  for items to support their SEND children such as:- washing machines, computers,  educational toys and specialist equipment. On the website there is a list of items that can be applied for.  

To apply for a grant you need to go to the Family Fund website and click on application. Fill in the form which asks for the child and adults details and the item requested.  

The criteria for families to apply :- 

They are

  • A permanent resident in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Have current legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for 6 months, be eligible to work and apply for funds.
  • A parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 and under who lives at home.
  • Eligible for , and can send evidence of one of the following tax credits or benefits – Universal credit, Child tax credit, working tax credit, Income based jobseekers allowance, Incapacity benefit, Employment support allowance, Housing benefit, Pension credit.
  • Asking for a grant related to the needs of their  child. Children or young person.  

The link for the Family Fund is :- https://www.familyfund.org.uk/  

The link for the government article is https://bit.ly/2ygnv39

 

Special Voices coffee days with Zoom, newsletter

Virtual Coffee Days, Every Friday between 2 - 4pm with ZOOM

We now have to manage our “coffee days” in a different way while social distancing is in place & do hope you will join us virtually with Zoom

Every Friday “Drop” in anytime between 2 – 4pm, you can choose at what time, & how long you wish to join us for during the two hours & we look forward to seeing you.

Friday 3rd July, topic – Have you been contacted about your child’s return to school in September or contacted about a short break during the school holidays, please let us know

We have chosen Zoom as we believe it is quite easy to set up & free should you need help to do this then please give us a call on: 07990693439 beforehand

Each week you join us your name will be entered into a draw for a free small gift as a thank you for your continued support.

Read Special Voices July Newsletter.

Contact - news and information for families with disabled children

Updated guidance on shielding for children in England 

The majority of children in England currently considered extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 will be removed from the shielded patient list, the government confirmed in the latest shielding guidance yesterday. This will only be done in consultation with their GP or specialistIn Northern Irelandshielding was relaxed on 6 July. In Scotland, shielding guidance remains in place until at least 31 July, and in Walesexisting guidance continues until at least 16 August. 


EHC plan law change in England to end July 31 

The government has announced that Education Health and Care (EHC) plans support will be back in full from the start of August 2020. This comes as a huge relief for parents. Read our response. 


Schools in England to reopen in full from September and new guidance published 

Our education experts have been looking at the new guidance and picked out the key details for families who care for children with SEND so you know what to expect for your child when the new academic year starts. The three devolved nations do not plan to follow England's roadmap to reopen schools.


Forgotten families during the pandemic 

Last week we gave evidence to the Government's Education Select Committee about the emotional and physical impact the reduction or withdrawal of support during lockdown was having on familiesFind out more and watch the evidence session. 


Carers and charities call for better financial help and recognition 

We have joined our friends at Carers UK, along with 90 other charities and local carers groups, to call on the government to recognise the financial impact Covid-19 is having on unpaid carers. Read our open letter to government. 


Apply for a gift card for our Fledglings online shop 

We are offering families in greatest need a gift card worth £50 to spend in our online Fledglings shop. This offer is open to families who could do with some extra support while their disabled child is at home during this difficult time and would benefit from the fantastic range of Fledglings’ sensory toys, clothes and essential equipment.   

Gift cards are awarded at the discretion of Contact and we will be prioritising families with the greatest need, on a first come first served basis. Households with an income of over £30,000 are not eligible to apply. We can only accept one application per family. Thank you. 

To apply for one of our £50 gift cards you'll need to complete an application form. A limited number of gift cards are available and applications will be assessed on the information you give us on your form.  


Our free parent workshops are now virtual - book your place today! 

We're now running our programme of popular, free parent workshops virtuallyTopics include: Money matters, Encouraging Positive Behaviour, Wellbeing for you, and Managing your child's sleep. Booking is easy, find out more and sign up today! 
 

The latest coronavirus updates for families with disabled children  

Find all the latest updated information, support and advice about Coronavirus and its impact on families with disabled children on our Covid-19 (coronavirus) webpages. Each of the nations have different guidance on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Find the latest updates for  England, Northern Ireland,Scotland, and  Wales. 


Celebrating National Coproduction Week! Coproduction in a changing world 

Coproduction is about genuinely involving families with disabled children in creating and developing the services they need. Read how parent carer forums work with local services to improve them.
 

Take part in NHS challenging behaviour study 

We're helping the NHS test an early intervention course for parents with pre-school children with learning disabilities, supporting parents to manage their child's behaviour. Do you live in North and South London, or the North East of England? Are you interested in helping? Find out how to get involved. 


Police investigate death of autistic teeanger 

A bereaved family has welcomed the launch of a criminal investigation into the death of their autistic and learning disabled teenager, who was prescribed antipsychotic drugs at an NHS hospital against his wishes and the advice of his family. 
 

Get your free copy of our Helpful Guide sent to your letterbox 

We are delighted to announce that we are able to resume normal service and post free copies of The Helpful Guide for Families with Disabled Children straight to your letterbox. Order your copy today.


Introducing Contact's new weekly lottery! 

We're delighted to announce our new weekly lottery - a fun and exciting way for you to help us continue our vital work supporting families with disabled children. 


Join our new closed (private) Facebook Group

Over 2,300 of you have already signed up and become members of  our new closed (private) Facebook Group for parent carers to discuss your concerns and tips about family life in lockdown. Tell your friends, and come and join the conversation!

Autism Berkshire newsletter - late June

Get autism advice and support online and join workshops with our family support team 


Alongside benefits workshops, we are also running autism advice workshops online. 

Currently available are bite-size versions of our workshops about Meeting Sensory Needs, Emotional Self-Regulation and Managing Anger, plus a brand new workshop about Food Refusal in Autistic Children.

We are also offering virtual 'Home Visits' by video call for parents and carers, with one of our family support workers offering one-to-one advice and our Helpline is available to offer advice - email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk or call 01189 594 594 (option 1) and leave a voicemail message. Please note that our staff are working from home at the moment, so phone calls will come from mobile numbers, not our office line.

Click here for information about all our current advice and support services and how to register an interest in taking part in any of our autism advice workshops or joining an online support group with other parents and carers.

  • During the coronavirus pandemic, we are posting regular updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages with links to useful information and advice and all kinds of things you can do at home and online, plus educational activities. For those who are not on social media, we have gathered details of these links together on two pages in the information and advice section of our website, which we are keeping updated. A range of other resources that you may find useful are also listed on the website's Useful Links page.

Parents invited to take part in survey about our online workshops and virtual Home Visits

To help us assess the impact of the online autism advice workshops and virtual Home Visits that we are running at the moment, we will be inviting parents and cares who have benefited to take part in a short survey.

They will receive a personal email invitation with a link to the survey form, so please keep an eye out and take part in the survey if you can - it will take just a few minutes to complete.

IPSEA

If you have been struggling to secure support from your chidlren's school during the coronavirus lockdown, special educational needs charity IPSEA has drafted new model letters to help you complain.

There are versions of the letter for cases where a child has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or if they don't.

Click here to download the letters and for an updated version of IPSEA's FAQs about SEND support and laws during the pandemic 

Visit https://www.autismberkshire.org.uk/news/ for upto date information and news.

Mental Health resources and support during lockdown

Children and young people may be experiencing a variety of feelings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak such as anxiety, stress or low mood. It is important to understand that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation. There is a large amount of mental health support available for children and young people as detailed on the FIS website.

Parenting Special Children - Online Events/Workshops during Coronavirus lockdown

 We are running the following events, for Berkshire families, online via Zoom. They are free (£5 refundable booking deposit) or at a nominal cost. Click here for details.

COVID - 19 Guidance, support and resources for Slough residents

Click here for a list of services and information, advice for Slough residents.

Autism Berkshire - Benefits advice workshops for autistic people and their families go online

To help autistic adults and parents and carers of autistic children and young people understand their entitlement to benefits and how to make an application while the coronavirus outbreak continues, Autism Berkshire is moving its free benefits advice workshops online.

COVID-19 Advice for parents when your child is unwell or injured

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself. Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured. Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done. Click here for advice.

Autism Berkshire online services during COVID-19

Autism Berkshire is running a number of online services to help parents and carers of autistic children during the coronavirus shutdown.

From Monday, April 20, bite-size online versions of autism advice workshops about Meeting Sensory Needs and Managing Anger will be available using video conferencing.

There will also be weekly online support groups for parents and carers of autistic children of pre-school age; those with children of primary school age; and for those with children of secondary school age; plus groups focusing on specific topics.

The charity’s autism advice Helpline and its Benefits Service are continuing to operate to advise autistic people and their families.

And new pages have been added to the website, with links to advice and resources for families and fun and educational things for people of all ages to do online and offline while they are spending so much time indoors.

Full details of all the charity’s services during the coronavirus shutdown and how to contact its team or register an interest in joining online workshops and support groups are available at http://www.autismberkshire.org.uk/coronavirus-support-from-autism-berkshire/

National Autistic Society - COVID-19, Information, Tips and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that thousands of people in the UK now have. It is impacting everyone’s lives, including autistic people and their families.

We wanted to provide you with some information and resources about Coronavirus to help you deal with this difficult time. Click here

If you are looking for a social story to help explain Coronavirus to your relative or the person you support, Carol Gray has created one.

Mencap has made an EasyRead version of its advice to download.

Contact For familes of disabled children - COVID - 19 - Entertaining children

It is no doubt daunting for many families to have children at home from school, nursery or college around the clock. Others of you will be well versed in home education and may have some really useful tips to share - please do on our Facebook page. Thanks to those of you who have already shared! We've pulled together some fun and inspiring ideas and resources to keep children entertained at home. We will add to them over the next few days and weeks.Twinkl has lots of wonderful resources and ideas to stimulate and entertain children of primary school age. And the Twinkl SEND resources are well worth checking out for fun stuff to do at home. Singing Hands on YouTube has videos of songs signed in Makaton. And from next week they will be doing live sessions on You Tube at 10.30am. Bumble bee physio London are doing live physio for children who are wheelchair users at 10am on their Facebook page. David Walliams is releasing a free audio story everyday for 30 days. Joe Wicks, TheBodyCoach, is running live PE session on You Tube every morning at 9am. Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children's books alongside creative illustrations. If your children are into animals and the natural world, National Geographic Kids on You Tube has lots of fantastic, interactive videos. Khan Academy Kids is an educational app for children aged two to seven. Animated characters guide children through educational materials. It's an American app but lots of relevant activities. And here is an article with tips for games and activities to do with children with special educational needs, that are not screen based - many of them indoors. Visit Contact's news and blogs page for further updates.

COVID - 19, Government guidance on vulnerable children and young people

COVID - 19, Government guidance on vulnerable children and young people provides information for children supported by children's social care system, Children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), Children in Alternative Provision (AP) settings.

CAPS (Children’s Activities, Parental Support) - COVID-19 Important Update

CAPS groups, 1:1 sessions and ROOTS sessions - cancelled until further notice. CAPS practitioners can still provide support through phone calls. If you have any queries please call:- Sanji Bains – 07500785578 or 01753 476554.

SEND Support, Information and Advice Sessions - Book a 1 to 1 session with one of our professionals who can help with a range of SEND issues including education, finance, behaviour strategies and specialist activities. SEND Sessions - led by Specialist SEND early years practitioners. Targeted learning sessions in four week blocks.  9.30am – 11.00am & 1.00pm – 2.30pm. ROOTS - Support group for parents/carers - relaxed, informal get-togethers with refreshments. Play and Learn Session - By invitation. For more information and to book a session please contact: Sanji Bains: 07500 785578, Kiran Mattu: 07736 122145, Office: 01753 476554

Carer Friendly Slough - Survey

We want to hear from carers to understand what is important to make you feel Slough is carer friendly. Tell us what is important to you, receive information about local resources, register with Slough Carers support for a discount card. Slough Borough Council, NHS Berkshire CCG (health) and Slough Children’s Services Trust are refreshing our Joint Carers Strategy.

Tell us your views:

For adult carers visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/carerfriendlyslough   

For Young carer (under 18): ttps://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/youngcarerSlough

Surveys are also available at libraries or by contacting Sally Kitson, Strategy and Partnership Manager at beinvolved@slough.gov.uk or call 07770 736441.

Parenting Special Children - SEND and Mental Health Conference - 23 September

Thursday 23rd September 2020, 9.30am - 3.30pm, The Pavilion, 143-145 Oxford Road, Reading RG1 7UY

Our 2020 Conference is aimed at providing Parents/Carers and Practitioners with a greater understanding of SEND and Mental Health. For further information about our speakers, FAQs and to book please click here.

Young People Focus Group on the SEND Strategy

As part of the new SEND strategy, youth workers from Young People’s Service, met with Arbour Vale’s Youth Council for a 90 minute workshop. The core aim of the workshop was to capture the voices of young people, a means by which their views could positively influence the SEND strategy. 10 young people of mixed ages and abilities participated and themes discussed in the workshop included ‘what makes a good day’, ‘dreams and aspirations’ and ‘barriers’’. This is the first intervention  of continued plan to ensure young peoples needs and views are at the forefront of the Slough SEND strategy. The Slough Youth Voice SEND Consultation report - 12 February 2019 can be read here.

Free digital resource for carers in Berkshire

There is an online resource for carers in Berkshire to support them in their caring role. It is free to use and includes specially tailored Apps, guides and training courses: jointly - a mobile App to help make caring a bit easier, less stressful and more organised. About Me - an e-learning course for carers that aims to help build resilience for caring. Upfront Guide to Caring - this is an online assessment tool that directs carers to specific sections of Carers UK's website for information relevant to their situation, and then produces a short action plan to help carers plan their next steps. For access, create an account on carersuk. Professionals can also access the digital service by following the same registration process for carers.

Discounts

There are various local and national schemes and charities which can help save money if your child has an additional or special need.  Max Card is a national, local authority-commissioned discount initiative for looked after children and children with additional needs aged 0-25 years. The scheme enables families to visit hundreds of attractions across the UK at a free or discounted rate. Sign up to our Children's Disability Register and receive a card for free! Merlin's Magic Wand arrange magical days out at Merlin Entertainments attractions, such as LEGOLAND Resort® theme parks, SEA LIFE Centres and Madame Tussauds. They welcome applications on behalf of children aged 2-18 with a confirmed serious illness/long term illness, disability or disadvantage, who would benefit from a day out at a Merlin attraction. CEA Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.

Local Offer