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01-09-2020 Personal Budget Travel Assistance options

Please click here to view the Personal Budget Travel Assistance options available if your child or young person is eligible for Travel Assistance

22-08-2020 Guidance in other languages re Coronavirus

Useful information on Coronavirus is available in a range of languages.

General guidance on Coronavirus is available in the following languages: 

Albanian      Arabic         Bengali         Dari         English        Farsi       French

Hindi       Kurdish         Mandarin        Pashto      Portuguese        Spanish

Turkish       Urdu             Vietnamese

Talking to your child about Coronovirus - this useful explanation tool is aimed at younger children and is available in English, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Portugese Brazilian, French, Polish, Hebrew, Indonesian, German, Turkish, Russian, Egyptian Arabic, Arabic, Romanian, Hungarian, Greek, Danish, Serbian and Welsh.  

Information in Turkish and Somali on supporting your child and your own mental wellbeing during the pandemic. 

Our Voice worked with Enfield Educational Psychology service and Mental Health Support teams to produce a set of six videos to help you create a sense of safety, calm, control, connectedness and hope in your child, and to look after your own wellbeing during this pandemic. A summary of each video is available in Turkish and Somali. For more information and to view the videos and summaries see our website here.

22-08-2020 Anxiety and wellbeing

Resources to support wellbeing, provide support for children or adults who are anxious, and general support in dealing with the current situation.

The Coronavirus pandemic may be a source of great anxiety both for adults and children, and may be especially difficult for individuals with existing mental health issues or those who find the situation hard to understand.

Videos to help you support your child

Our Voice worked with Enfield Educational Psychology service and Mental Health Support teams to produce a set of six videos to help you create a sense of safety, calm, control, connectedness and hope in your child, and to look after your own wellbeing during this pandemic. 

For more information and to view the videos (and links to support materials) see our website here.

General support for children with SEND

The BBC Bitesize SEND Toolkit includes a wide range of resources for supporting children with special needs and disabilities (as well as home learning support and fun activities) with managing emotions, keeping calm, mindfulness and Mental Health support. 

Educational Psychology Service Family Telephone support line

If you would like help and advice with supporting your child's emotional wellbeing and mental health (or your own) or managing behaviour at home you can contact the Enfield Educational Psychology Service's Family Support Helpline. The helpline also provides help with supporting your child's learning at home, concerns about their general learning, development or well-being, access to information and resources and signposting to other services. 

The Good Thinking Guide

The Good Thinking Guide produced by the Health London Partnership contains useful resources for managing your own wellbeing and that of your children, including dealing with anxiety, stress, sleep problems and low mood. It includes information about a variety of resources available including helplines and apps which you may find useful.   

A collection of top resources to do with your kids and help them manage their wellbeing here

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

have a variety of useful resources which you can download from their website. These include specific guides and resources for dealing with Coronavirus anxieties and supporting our own and our children's mental health, for parents, younger and older children and young people. 

They also have a wide range of different more general resources and tools for parents or carers and children. Topics include anxiety, self-esteem issues, self-harm, sleep, building resilience, managing stress, positive parenting, ADHD, controlling anger, Autism, problem-solving managing emotions and melt-downs, depression, adolescence, online safety, OCD, eating disorders,  Tourettes, supporting children when someone close has a terminal illness or dies, Pathological Demand Avoidance and mindful colouring. 

Thrive Enfield

Thrive Enfield have created a variety of different guides to help support parents, children and young people during this difficult time: 

Wellbeing support - how to look after yourself and your children

Let's Beat Coronavirus - information for children - a child-friendly guide to the situation and staying healthy

Going to school - a child-friendly guide explaining why some children are at school and others aren't 

Staying home - a child-friendly guide about staying at home, what will change and what won't

Support for parents - caring for children without a break, caring for your teenagers, looking after yourself, feeling isolated, working from home and links to useful resources on these topics. 

Supporting primary aged children - a guide for parents looking at how to talk to children about the situation and support them if they are worried, supporting home learning and useful resources

Supporting secondary aged children - a guide for parents on how to talk to young people about the situation and support them if they are worried, hopeless or angry, supporting young people with learning, and useful resources. 

Healthy Enfield

Healthy Enfield has a useful Mental Health and wellbeing section which has a variety of tips and resources to support your mental health including Are you OK? - a guide to your mental health during Coronavirus.  

Mental Health Support for young people 

Kooth is a web-based confidential support service available for young people which provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support. Kooth offers young people the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor, available 12 noon to 10 pm weekdays and 6 pm to 10 pm at weekends, on a drop-in basis. Young people can access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside hours young people can message the team and get support by the next day. 

Healthwatch 

Healthwatch has put together a useful list of links about Coronavirus including a section on Mental Health Support, and Mental Health support for young people. 

Other resources 

Play is a great way for children to deal with their emotions and manage stress and worry. This short film on the value of play has been created by the British Psychology Society/Division of Educational and Child Psychology.  

22-08-2020 Videos for parent carers

Our Voice has been working with Enfield's Educational Psychology Service and Mental Health Support team to produce a series of six videos for parent carers. The videos aim to support parents in creating a sense of safety, calm, connectedness, control and hope for their children. The sixth video is about how we can look after ourselves as parents and carers. 

The videos are all short - between 5 and 10 minutes because we know that most parent-carers rarely get enough time to themselves! 

All six videos are produced by Enfield's Educational Psychology Service and Mental Health Support team in partnership with Our Voice. We hope you find them useful! 

Additional resources to support all the videos can be found on the Local Offer

Creating a sense of safety - see the video here

This video aims to help parents think about how to help their children feel a sense of safety during the pandemic.  You can also see a summary in English, Turkish or Somali

The video refers to a book explaining Coronavirus designed specifically for primary school children, the Blob guide to Social distancing and a suggested safe place meditation

Creating a sense of calm - see the video here

This video aims to help parents think about how to help their children feel a sense of calm during the pandemic. You can see a summary in English, Turkish or Somali

The video makes reference to Coronavirus: a book for children, Mencap Easy Read information, Carol Gray's social story about coronavirus, safe space visualisation, Drop the anchor exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, seated yoga and Cosmic Kids Yoga

Creating a sense of connectedness - see the video here

This video aims to parents think about how to help their children feel a sense of connectedness during the pandemic. You can see a summary in English, Turkish and Somali

The video makes reference to 'While we can't hug' and 'The Invisible String'

Creating a sense of control - see the video here

This video aims to parents think about how to help their children feel a sense of control during the pandemic. You can see a summary in English, Turkish and Somali

Creating a sense of hope - see the video here

This video aims to parents think about how to help their children feel a sense of control during the pandemic. You can see a summary in English, Turkish and Somali 

Looking after ourselves - see the video here

This video aims to parents think about how to look after their own well-being during the pandemic. You can see a summary in English, Turkish and Somali 

The video makes reference to the 30-3-30 wellbeing plan and Wellbeing plan from Learn4Mental Health. 

11-08-2020 Summer Support pack

Introducing the Summer Support Pack for the Parents and Carers of children and young people with SEND. 

We know that this has been an exceptionally difficult time for many parents and carers, and that the summer is likely to continue to be challenging for many of us. 

Our Voice has worked with SENDIASS, with contributions from the Enfield Thrives partnership, to produce a support pack with information about events being run by the voluntary sector, support and services from the Local Authority and Health services and activities for families this summer. 

You can see the latest version of the pack here.

This pack will be updated as new events are announced, so do check back for the latest information.

05-08-2020 Coronavirus Guidance and news

Many parents and carers will have concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly anyone who has a child with additional health needs. 

Below we have pulled together some key sources of information and suggested some additional points that you may want to think about. 

The key government guidance is here. This is updated on a regular basis, including the FAQs which give more information on what you can and cannot do at the current time. 

From 24th July, there is a requirement for most people to wear face-coverings in shops as well as on public transport - see government guidance here. However, there are exemptions to these rules including for children under 11, and those children and adults who are unable to wear a face-covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability, or if doing so will cause you severe distress, or if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip-reading - see the government guidance here. You may find it useful to carry a card explaining why you or your child cannot wear a mask, although there is no requirement for you to do so and it is a matter of personal choice. There are some versions here that you can download for use, as well as an easy-read explanation of the guidance that might be useful e.g. when explaining the situation to a child or a young person with learning difficulties, or you can use the versions provided on the government website here

On 30th April, the government announced temporary changes to the law regarding EHCPs during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can see the details in a letter to parents issued by the DfE and DHSC here. For more detail see the Contact website here and the NNPCF statement here. On 29th May the DfE announced that they intended to extend the temporary changes until 30th June, and at the end of this period will decide whether to extend for a further period of up to a month. The two main provisions are that:

  • Education and Health support for a child set out in their EHCPs may be different for a period of time may be different and LAs and Health providers have to use their 'reasonable endeavours' to provide support. This means that they do not have to provide exactly what is set out in the plan if this is not practicable but they should try to find other ways to provide support e.g. over the phone. 
  • Legal timescales for EHCPs and Annual reviews are relaxed - LAs need to act as soon as they reasonably can. 

Our Voice is in regular discussions with the Local Authority and Health about how provision is given and families are supported during this time. We asked Gillian Douglas, current Head of SEN and Curriculum Inclusion, to update us on the impact of the temporary changes to the EHCP legislation - you can see her statement here.

The Local Authority has added a 'guidance for parents and carers' section to its 'Enfield's response to Coronavirus' information, including guidance on how to support your child and talk to them about what is happening.  

Whilst Coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child becomes ill during this period it is likely that it will be a non-coronavirus illness. Whilst it is important to follow the government stay-at-home advice, it can be confusing to know what to do if your child is ill or injured. See here for a useful summary. 

Contact, the Charity for families of disabled children have put together some useful advice for parents and carers which you can access via their website here. The Council for Disabled Children also has a useful page summarising the key sources of information here

If you think you need support e.g. with picking up shopping, prescriptions or medicine whilst you are self-isolating, or you are in financial hardship please complete the Community Support request form here (local link) and you can also register here if you or your child/family member/person you care for at home has a condition that makes you/them especially vulnerable. If you are not sure whether your/their medical condition makes you/them especially vulnerable, please register anyway.

If you have questions about your benefits or finances please see the factsheet here. Guidance regarding support from electricity and gas suppliers is here

You will probably have seen that the government has announced plans to fully re-open schools in September, and has provided updated guidance on how this is expected to work. 

You can see a useful summary of the key points on the NNPCF (National Network of Parent Carer Forums) website here. Some of the key points are: 

  • Limits on group sizes will be lifted to allow schools to open at full capacity and children to return full-time
  • Schools and colleges will deliver their full curriculum ahead of exams next summer
  • Limits on nursery group sizes will be lifted from 20th July
  • Covid-19 secure measures to remain in place to reduce the risk of transmission e.g. regular cleaning and frequent hand-washing, schools being asked to keep children in class or year-sized bubbles, and children will be asked to self-isolate at home when necessary
  • The information also sets out what will happen in the event of Coronavirus cases arising at a school. 

The NNPCF have responded to the announcements setting out key issues and concerns relating to the impact on children with Special Needs and Disabilities - see their response here

Detailed guidance has been provided including guidance for schools, guidance for special schools, updated guidance for Further Education providers and guidance for Early Years settings and childcare providers

Please continue to share your concerns and experiences with us so that we can feed them back to the government and Local Authority as appropriate. 

Useful guidance aimed at parents and carers has also been supplied by Carers UK here and Wellchild here.

NHS Guidance on Coronavirus can be found here

The Healthwatch website has useful advice on the current position in the local area (and more broadly) including visiting restrictions in local hospitals and guidance on how to self-isolate. 

Pets: although there is no evidence that pets can get sick from Coronavirus, it is believed that the virus could be transferred on pets' fur from one human to another so it is important to take appropriate precautions - see advice from the RSPCA and government advice

Talking to your child about Coronavirus - see our separate news page here for useful links and resources. 

Other Guidance available: 

National Autistic society guidance and helpline for parents, young people and staff

See also this guidance in British Sign Language.  

Amaze have produced a set of useful FAQs relating to children with SEND - although this aimed at the families of children in Brighton and Hove, much of it is applicable to children in the Borough of Enfield. 

School attendance

If you are worried about your child's health (for example if they have a health condition which makes them particularly vulnerable) and the fact they are still attending school, do talk to your SENCo or School Head about this. We are sure they will be sympathetic and understanding given the circumstances.

Going to Hospital

The children and young people's emergency department at Barnet Hospital is currently closed and diverted to North Middx Hospital for London residents and Watford General for Hertfordshire residents. See the Barnet hospital website for more information. 

In general, visiting someone in hospital is currently suspended. There are a small number of exceptions, when one visitor per patient may be allowed, which include a parent or appropriate adult visiting their child, or supporting someone with a mental health condition such as a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed. You should contact the ward in advance to discuss arrangements. See here for more information and check the website of the hospital you are planning to visit - e.g. Barnet hospital and Chase Farm Hospital here and North Middx here

Going to the Doctors  

Many GP surgeries are restricting or ceasing face-to-face appointments so it is recommended that you ring your surgery to discuss any issues. 

Enfield Carers' Centre 

Enfield Carers' Centre is currently closed for face-to-face visits, but you can still receive advice by phone and support groups will continue to run using teleconferencing facilities. More information can be found here.

Staying at home (self-isolation) 

Government advice on what to do if you need to stay at home - overview here

More detailed guidance here

Preparing to stay at home

You may find it useful to make some additional preparations in case you find you need to self-isolate at home and/or you or your child become ill. 

  • If your child has ongoing medication consider asking your GP/pharmacy for an additional supply of any repeat prescription to cover for a month or two. 
  • If your child uses nappies or incontinence pads, you should look at whether you can obtain a supply to last for a longer period. 
  • If you don't have a medical plan at home, ensure that your child's latest prescription is ready. 
  • Look at options for getting prescriptions delivered to your home. 
  • Look at what options you might have for childcare if you or your regular carers get sick or need to self-isolate (e.g. if you normally rely on your child's grandparents for care). 

Instructions for alternative carers 

If you are normally the primary carer for your child, it is important to make sure that your alternative care (i.e. partner, family or friends) know in advance any special arrangements for looking after your child if you get sick (and/or have written instructions ready) - you may not be up to explaining all the details if you are ill. 

  • If your child has regular medication you could include details of when and how to give this medication. A useful template which you can adapt as required is available here, covering medication, allergies and other care (e.g. feeding, assistance with toileting etc). 
  • If your child has an EHCP, ensure that your section A is to hand to help others know about your child and how to support if you're unwell. 
  • If you don't have a section A, you could use a communication passport or hospital passport to help staff know your child's likes and dislikes. See the template here
  • You could complete a medication plan to help people know what medications your child is on. See the template here which you can adapt as required. 

05-08-2020 Latest Coronavirus news

There is currently a requirement for most people to wear face-coverings in shops as well as on public transport - see government guidance here.

However, there are exemptions to these rules including for children under 11, and those children and adults who are unable to wear a face-covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability, or if doing so will cause you severe distress, or if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip-reading - see the government guidance here.

You may find it useful to carry a card explaining why you or your child cannot wear a mask, although there is no requirement for you to do so, and it is purely a matter of personal choice. You can see some options here which you can download for use, as well as an easy-read explanation of the guidance that might be useful e.g. when explaining the situation to a child or a young person with learning difficulties, or you can use the versions on the government website here

Our Voice is in regular discussions with the Local Authority and Health about how the provision is given and families are supported during this time. 

This page will be updated every few days with the latest developments. See our main Coronavirus news pages for a summary of advice over recent weeks: 

General Coronavirus news - a summary of recent developments and guidance as they impact on families of children and young people with SEND, living in the Borough of Enfield. 

Transition to homeschooling - advice on managing the change of routine, and some resources for home-schooling children with Special Needs and Disabilities  

Talking to children and young people about Coronavirus - Easy read guidance and story-boards. 

Advice in other languages

Anxiety and wellbeing - resources and support for parents and tools for children and young people. 

04-08-2020 Travel Assistance Q&As

Following our very popular Travel Assistance videoconference with the Transport team and SEN Travel Brokers, we have summarised the information from this session You can see the full Q&A here

20-07-2020 Keeping Safe Videoconference

We were pleased to host a videoconference last week in association with Public Health, who updated parents and carers about the Coronavirus pandemic and answered our questions about what the situation is currently like in our area and how we and our children can stay safe. 

All the questions and answers from the session are summarised here

20-07-2020 Short Breaks videoconference Q&A

Our Voice hosted a videoconference on 9th July to discuss questions regarding Short Breaks and summer activities for children and young people with SEND. We were joined by a panel from the Joint Service for Disabled Children and Cheviots Children's Centre. You can now see the Q&A from this videoconference here. The document includes questions and answers about what support is available over the summer, along with useful contact points.