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.
Are you betweeen 16 and 25? Unsure what you will do after lockdown? Would it help to talk to someone and develop your ideas? If you are a young person with additional needs you can request support from this new project, Time to Talk. We can help build your confidence and plan what you want to do next.
Virtual Coffee Days 2020 - Fridays 10 - 12pm 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 10 – 12pm (please note change of time)
You can choose at what time, & how long you wish to join us for during the two hours.
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 when you join us your name will be entered into a draw for a free small gift as a thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.
Contact's latest news and media pages brings you the following information:
New podcast episode for families in England concerned about the return to school
Alongside our latest back to school information and help for families we have a new podcast episode for you. Listen to Contact’s parent adviser Michaela as she takes you through the latest guidance, explains what you can do if you're worried about the school's safety procedures, how to make sure your child is getting the right educational support and how you can help your child if they're feeling a bit anxious.
Take a look at some of the questions you asked our parent advisers at our special back to school Facebook Q&A session and rewatch our webinars.
Ministerial letter about support for children with SEND in school
Last week Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, wrote a ministerial letter about supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to return to school. You can read the letter in full.
Watch our webinars on benefits for young people aged 16 and above
Our benefits experts, Derek Sinclair, recently ran two webinars for parents covering benefits for young disabled adults aged 16-19 including the move from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), how long child benefit and tax credits can continue for, and claiming Universal Credit for a young person.
These webinars were hugely popular and as a result, Derek was asked more questions than he was able to answer during the sessions. You can find those questions and answers here.
You can also watch both webinars again at any time.The first webinar is aimed at families in Scotland and includes the new rules extending DLA payments to 18 in Scotland. You can watch this at https://youtu.be/e3_3I-jU6WE
Our second webinar is aimed at families in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. You can watch this at https://youtu.be/9wvOTgnVzy4
Dates for your diary
Here you'll find our latest workshop sessions, webinars and more!
For families in Wales – join our new stress and wellbeing workshop this Thursday September 10th 7.30 – 9.30pm
This workshop is an opportunity for you to share your experiences with others, understand more about what stress is and how it affects you, alongside learning some coping mechanisms and stress busting ideas! Sign up at Eventbrite.
Listening ear phone service – appointments available this week on Wednesday 9th and Friday 11th September and the week starting 14th September
Our family support "listening ear" service also has free appointments this week on the 9th and 11th September and plenty more sessions next week. So if you need someone to talk to about anything concerning you at the moment, our family support advisers are here to offer a listening ear, reassurance and practical and emotional support for you and your family. Making an appointment is simple: Visit our Eventbright page, choose the day (morning, afternoon or evening), and when you register choose the time slot you want.
Used our information and advice services recently?
If you've used our free helpline or browsed for advice on our website or social media channels, we'd like to know how you found your experience. Your feedback will help us improve our service for thousands more families like yours.
Get ready for autumn with our online Fledglings shop
The team in our online Fledglings shop are getting ready for autumn this week with our range of unitards designed to help keep our children cosy and warm, even whilst swimming! Take a look at the full range that includes larger sizes suitable for teenagers and adults in our brand new department: Teens & Young Adults collection
Order your free copy of our Helpful Guide today
Our all-in-one book, The Helpful Guide for Families with Disabled Children, has all the information and help you need to know. Get your free copy of our Helpful guide for families with disabled children delivered to your door.
The East Berkshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has asked three charities to provide a range of advice and support services to you and your family. Click here for details of the services that are available in September 2020, including Autism Berkshire and Parenting Special Children’s Helpline services. All workshops* and Home Visits* (visit services are available from Autism Berkshire and The Autism Group) are free of charge and are suitable if your child is waiting for an assessment or has a diagnosis. *Please note that these services are currently being delivered online using video conferencing systems, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Government’s social distancing guidance to help limit the spread of the virus.
Autism Berkshire August newsletter provides updates and information on
- Autism advice and benefits rights workshops
- Return to school - top tips for parents
- Card helps to explain why you are not wearing a face covering
- website page to make renewal of membership easier
- Bear with me and 197 sessions online
- National Careers Service online webinars
Multisensory stories immerse the learner by telling a story through the senses using sensory stimuli (story props) that provide new experiences to calm and alert the sensory system in a safe, therapeutic and motivating environment.
Exposure to the stimuli enables the learner to build a bank of motivators that can calm when anxious or stressed. This record of likes, dislikes and preferences can be an invaluable tool to inform on behaviour strategies and the writing of care plans.
The multisensory stories and poems are adapted to meet a range of abilities from curious preschoolers to adolescents with complex needs, helping individuals to understand the world and connecting them to topics, culture and literacy in a way that is meaningful to their lives.
Visit https://www.rhymingmultisensorystories.com/ for details.
East Berkshire CCG provides top tips for autistic and ADHD children returning to school.
The summer 2020 newsletter provides information on the SEND Mental Health Conference on 23 September and all the workshops offered by Parenting Special Children.
Bringing up children can be enjoyable and rewarding but it also has its challenges.
If you live in the Frimley Health and Care area (East Berkshire, Surrey Heath and North East Hampshire and Farnham), you can access four free online parenting guides with top tips from childcare, education and NHS experts:
- Understanding your pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby
- Understanding your baby
- Understanding your child 0 to 19 years
- Understanding your teenager’s brain
The guides are for parents, grandparents and carers of children of all ages including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
The guides are available in different languages.
Each guide has between 5 to 11 sessions which last roughly 20 minutes each, plus activities that can be carried out between courses. Access is unlimited, so you can return to the guides as and when you need to.
Registration is quick and easy – just go to inourplace.co.uk and apply the access code PARENTING.
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 :-
- 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
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.
We are running the online events, for Berkshire families, online via Zoom. They are free (£5 refundable booking deposit) or at a nominal cost. Click here for details.
Click here for a list of services and information, advice for Slough residents.
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.
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
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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.