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25-03-2020 Coronavirus Guidance

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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, the virus could be transferred on pet's fur from one human to another so it is important to take appropriate precautions - see advice from the RSPCA.

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 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. 

25-03-2020 Managing the Transition to Home schooling

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. 

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

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. 

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. 

25-03-2020 Talking to children and young people about Cornavirus

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:

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:

  • Place2Be has a useful guidance page to help you answer questions from your child about Coronavirus including links to other sources of information like a Newsround item on the topic, and support for family wellbeing. 
  • Young Minds has useful tips for talking to children from their helpline. 

16-03-2020 Guidance in other languages re Coronavirus

Guidance on Coronavirus is available (from Doctors of the World) 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.  

09-03-2020 Spring 2020 newsletter

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

17-02-2020 Fairer funding declaration

Our Voice has today signed the 'Enfield Declaration' - a request for the government to consider fairer funding for our Borough. The declaration has been created by the Over-50s Forum, to draw attention to the under-funding of the Borough of Enfield. 

Our Voice represents parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities and special needs - some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society, and who have been disproportionately affecting by funding cuts, and we, therefore, felt it was important to lend our support to this plea for fairer funding. 

You can read the full wording of the declaration here.  

05-12-2019 Report from Parents Conference

The fourth Our Voice 'Meet the SEND Heads' Parents' Conference took place on Thursday 28th November 2019. Below are the presentations and handouts, and a summary of the Q&A panel session. 

Introductory Presentation 

Summary of Q and A Panel Session 

Positive Behaviour Support Workshop and link to a video on Challenging Behaviour 

Inclusive Activities in Enfield workshop (AccessAble presentation) 

Education Health Care plans workshop and IPSEA Annual Review checklist

Sensory Processing issues workshop and handouts on Brushing Hair, Brushing Teeth and Washing Hair for sensitive children and video on understanding Autism

18-11-2019 Update for Parents Conference

We are looking forward to welcoming Parents and Carers to our Meet the SEND Heads Parents Conference next week on Thursday 28th November. The event is now almost full, so if you have not already booked, please book as soon as possible. 

You can see the full agenda here

Question and Answer panel session

The Q&A panel session with the SEND Heads is at the heart of our conference. See our full list of panel members. 

Parents and carers attending the event are invited to send any questions for the panel in advance. Please email us at info@ourvoiceenfield.org.uk by Tuesday 26th November at the latest. Although we will accept new questions on the day (time permitting) priority will be given to any questions submitted in advance. 

You might want to have a look at the updates from the different service areas below when thinking about your questions. 

Updates from Local Authority and Health

15-10-2019 Our Voice Parents' Conference

Booking is now open for the Our Voice Parents' Conference on 28th November. 

Our fourth annual 'Meet the SEND Heads Parents' Conference will take place at the Dugdale Centre on Thursday 28th November - see our information booklet for more details and book your place here

10-09-2019 Our Voice Autumn Newsletter

The latest 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: 

  • reports from our recent events
  • events we have coming up over the autumn and winter (parents' conference, Christmas party and pantomime trip) 
  • new members joining the Our Voice team - and an opportunity for you to get more involved by volunteering with us
  • GP checks
  • Updates from the Joint Services for Disabled Children, Educational Psychology team and Speech and Language
  • Information about things to do locally.  

You can read the newsletter here.