Following our videoconference for parents and carers last week, we have put together a Q&A document, covering the questions that you raised. We had a very useful conversation with representatives of Educational Psychology, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Social and Emotional Mental Health, Joint Service for Disabled Children, and Durants school (Behaviour lead).
The Q&A summarises our discussions about the questions you raised covering:
- Supporting your child's learning at home
- Emotion and behaviour (including challenging behaviour)
- Support for mental health issues - yours and your child's
We have also included links to a range of other resources and websites on these issues.
We will be working with a team drawn from EPS, CAMHS, SEMH, JSDC/Cheviots and Durants to look at what other support could be provided during this time, and had our first (virtual) meeting yesterday. We are using the results from our survey on your biggest concerns to inform our thinking so please do complete the survey if you haven't already had time to do so - it should take you less than 5 minutes.
Now that the schools are closed, you may have concerns about the impact of this disruption on your children and be wondering how to help them adjust to the huge changes in their day to day routines for the immediate future.
The Enfield Educational Psychology service has produced useful guidance for Supporting your child at home during the lockdown.
Managing the Transition to home-schooling is a useful document produced by the UCL's Centre for Inclusive Education which covers some of the issues you may be facing and gives guidance and tools for managing the changes with your child/children.
There is also useful information from the UCL's Centre for Inclusive Education here.
Resources for being at home with your children:
Below are a series of resources focusing on children with SEND that you may find useful for supporting home-schooling and for keeping your children entertained, calm and happy at home.
Home Learning activities for children with Autism and/or Learning difficulties - these resources have been produced by Enfield Advisory Service for Autism in conjunction with Russet House school.
Useful Websites for Home Learning - this document has kindly been provided by a teacher and Behaviour lead at one of our local Special Schools.
There are some useful SEND specific resources (as well as a wide range of other materials) to support homeschooling on Twinkl which is free to use during the current school closures. You will need to sign up using the code UKTWINKLHELPS.
You can also find a range of other inclusive / SEND focused educational resources and activities for children on The Sensory Projects website.
Music Therapy Tree have provided accessible music therapy resources, suitable for children with autism and learning difficulties in the new Self-Isolation support area of their website.
Kids TV 123 - a YouTube channel with lots of educational songs e.g. numbers, phonics
GoNoodle - music and mindfulness
Cosmic Kids - Yoga and mindfulness for children
Stop Breathe Think - mindfulness and meditation for children
The Singing Walrus - fun educational songs with accompanying worksheets and flashcards
Just Dance - dance along to your favourite songs and follow the movements on the screen
Barefoot Books - animated singalongs and activity packs
The Learning station - 'brain break' action songs
Singing Hands on YouTube has videos of songs signed in Makaton, and will be doing live sessions at 10.30 daily from 6th April
PBS Kids Music Games - educational games and activities related to music.
imoves - a range of fun activities to keep children happy, healthy and focused including Worry Monster, Pilates and meditation for mental health and well-being
Tate Paint - a tablet-friendly online paint game
Bumble Bee Physio are offering live physio for children who are wheelchair users
Great Ormond Street The Power of Play has a range of fun games and activities provided by their team of play experts.
Primary Homework help is a collection of resources aligned to the National Curriculum which is useful for searching multiple activities on a specific topic.
Crickweb has educational interactive teaching resources and activities for primary level children - search by key stage and subject.
Contact has a range of suggested resources for children with SEND here, which they will keep updated on a regular basis.
If you have concerns about your child's online safety, see our list of useful sources of information here.
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. Note that there is specific reference to those who need to exercise more regularly (or have more people accompanying them, or visit specific places) due to specific health conditions here, including the example of individuals with autism and learning difficulties.
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. 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.
Information regarding school closures (issued 20th March) is here and information for schools including a list of designated critical workers (whose children will be allowed to remain in schools) is here. (issued 20th March). The government has now issued additional guidance regarding vulnerable children including those with EHCPs in a Q&A document (22nd March). Additionally, guidance has been provided in respect of children in residential educational settings. We have produced a Q&A sheet in conjunction with the Enfield Local Authority which answers some of the key questions you may have about EHCPs, school closures and related issues (last updated 31st March).
Vicky Ford, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families has issued an open letter to the SEND Sector (dated 24th March) which you can read here. This concerns the current Coronavirus bill passed on 19th March which has attracted press coverage and caused some anxiety for parents because it allows a temporary relaxation of some of the Statutory Duties placed on Local Authorities to enable them to divert funds to their emergency response. The letter addresses these concerns and includes a link to the bill. See here for the most recent statement on how the government intends to support individuals with disabilities and their families and carers during the coronavirus outbreak (31st March).
The NNPCF have been feeding concerns from parents and carers to the DFE and their latest communication on 25th March is on their website here. 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.
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.
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.
The latest news on Coronavirus developments.
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.
Our Voice is in regular discussions with the Local Authority and Health about how 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.
Anxiety and wellbeing - resources and support for parents and tools for children and young people.
Online safety for children is particularly important at this time when many children will be spending extra time on electronic devices at home.
Parents often feel that they don't know enough about online safety and it can be difficult to know where to find the best reliable information - particularly information tailored to children with special needs and disabilities.
Enfield Schools and Children's Services have kindly helped us to put together this list of useful sources of information including both SEND specific and general guidance and covering a wide range of topics from general internet safety to cyber-bullying.
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.
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 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.
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 has put together a useful list of links about Coronavirus including a section on Mental Health Support, and Mental Health support for young people.
To help us support you and feed-back your concerns to the Local Authority we have put together a short survey asking about your biggest concerns during this difficult time. We have focused on the issues around supporting your child's mental and emotional health and wellbeing and looking after your own mental health needs. If you have a child with special needs or disabilities, please take a few minutes to complete our survey here.
The survey should take you no more than 5 minutes to complete. Your responses will be kept confidential. The results of the survey will help us to think about how best to support families during this period, and to feedback to the Local Authority (including EPS and CAMHS) in our regular virtual meetings with them.
To help parents explain the current situation to children and young people, or individuals with Learning Difficulties a number of resources have been produced which you may find helpful.
General guidance explaining what Coronavirus is and what we need to do - child-friendly guides include:
- this one (available in a variety of languages including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French, Polish and Turkish)
- easy-read version like this one from the Down's Syndrome Association,
- Easy -Read guide from Mencap.
- Easy Read information from Public Health England
Information about why schools have closed and the importance of staying at home and social distancing, useful child-friendly explanations in graphic format.
Answering questions from your child:
Guidance on Coronavirus is available (from Doctors of the World) in the following languages:
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.
The Spring 2020 edition of our newsletter has just been printed and will be distributed via schools shortly, as well as being available in selected libraries, colleges and Doctors' surgeries.
We have a packed edition with news about:
- Our recent events including family events and our Parents' Conference in November 2019.
- Updates from the Joint Services for Disabled Children and other services.
- Articles on topics like the 'Moving on' programme, Mental Capacity issues for young people with SEND, Hydrotherapy and GP Annual Health checks.
- Information about things to do locally.
You can read the newsletter here.