Our Voice

Making a difference …

News News

10-03-2021 Talking to children and young people about Coronavirus

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. 

Easy Read guidance about Coronavirus and vaccinations here and a video aimed at people with learning difficulties or autism here

West Lea school have kindly shared with us the Easy Read Resources they have produced about Coronavirus testing - an Easy Read Guide to taking a Coronavirus test, and a Simplified version plus a Social Story about what happens if your Coronavirus test is positive.   

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. 

10-03-2021 Results of the Lockdown experiences survey

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our survey regarding their experiences during lockdown 3. We had a great response with 132 families participating, and have also been able t compare the information you gave us with responses across 23 other London Boroughs (with over 1700 people participating in total).  

As promised we are now using the results to:

  • Inform our discussions with the Local Authority and Health Services about what problems families are facing and what actions need to be taken now. 
  • Feed into national discussions with the Department for Education and the National Network of Parent Carer forums. 
  • Sharing the results with other local voluntary organisations to add to their own understanding of the issues. 

You can see a summary of the results here, and a fuller analysis here

04-03-2021 New Chair of Our Voice

Our Voice has a critical role in working with the Local Authority and Health Services in the Borough of Enfield to support the families of children and young people with a Special Educational Need or Disability. Our Chair is coming to the end of her term of office at the end of March, and we are now looking for a replacement to work with our management team and help us to continue to move forward. 

Please see the flyer for more details and the Job Description for a full outline of the role. 

16-02-2021 Supporting your child at home - activities and resources

Whilst many of our 'normal' day to day activities are cancelled or restricted, and many children are not attending school on-site, 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.

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

The Enfield Educational Psychology service has produced useful guidance for Supporting your child at home during the lockdown. 

Contact (the charity for families with disabled children) has produced a useful 'Top Tips for Home-schooling'

This short film on the value of play from the British Psychology Society/ Division of Educational and Child Psychology looks at the importance of play and the way in which play helps children to manage their emotions and stress. 

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.

BBC Bitesize SEND toolkit has a wide range of useful resources for both learning and wellbeing, including music, fun activities, adapting physical activities, Makaton, BSL and supporting reading. There are a range of specific resources for children with specific special needs and disabilities including hearing impairments, visual impairments, Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Learning Disabilities.

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 - although this is no longer free to use, it is usually possible to download some specific items free of charge. 

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 a wide range of videos of songs signed in Makaton.

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. 

05-02-2021 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.

If you need someone to talk to you can contact the Samaritans round the clock - telephone 116 123  - and see the flyer here for more information and other ways to contact them. 

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.  

Children's Mental Health week resources

The website for Children's Mental Health week (1st - 7th February 2021) has a section for parents and carers here, which contains a useful selection of resources for supporting your child's mental health and helping them to express themselves, which you may find useful. It includes games and activities to do with your child, like the 'Squiggle game' and 'Draw your feelings' as well as a section on other resources which you may find useful. 

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. 

Resources from the Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation has some useful general resources for supporting your mental health including: 

How to look after your Mental Health

How to overcome fear and anxiety

How to look after your Mental Health Using Mindfulness

How to sleep better 

Look after your Mental Health using exercise 

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.  

05-02-2021 Free webinar on Protecting your vulnerable dependants

Join us for this free webinar with Estate Planning Solutions, 8-9 pm on Tuesday 9th February. 

The session will look at the Do's and Don'ts of protecting your vulnerable dependants. 

If you have children with special needs or disabilities, it is vitally important to plan for their long-term future and to think about who can make decisions for them in adult life.

This seminar will look at what you need to think about and what pitfalls you need to avoid.  

You must pre-book your place here.

For more details see the flyer here

05-02-2021 Covid 19 helpline for black, Asian and ethnic minority communities

Barnardos have launched a new Covid 19 family helpline for young people and their families from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

See poster here for more information. 

More detail in the booklet and the Easy Read version

26-01-2021 Natural ways to reduce stress and anxiety

Lewisham parent carer forum have kindly invited residents of Enfield (and other London Boroughs) to a virtual event they are holding on Thursday 11th February 8-9pm. 

Paula Sharp, a Nutritional Therapist, will look at ways in which you can stay healthy and help yourself combat stress and anxiety through food and drink. The workshop takes into account the fact that many of us need to economise at this time, as well as looking after ourselves. 

For more information and joining/booking details see the flyer here

As you will not be on the Lewisham mailing list to receive a reminder, please make sure that you either keep the joining details to hand, or contact Lewisham forum to sign up for a reminder.  

24-01-2021 Save the Date for Meet the SEND Heads

Save the date for our Meet the SEND Heads Q&A Panel session 

Friday 26th March 2021 10 am - 12 noon 

We are pleased to announce that, since we cannot run a face-to-face event this year, we are organising a Meet the SEND Heads Q&A Panel session. This provides an exceptional opportunity to hear directly from the Heads of Service areas and other key professionals and to put your questions to them. 

We will also have: 

  • Written  updates from all the service areas before the event
  • An opportunity to let us know what workshops you would like to see over the coming months. 
  • An opportunity to book one-to-one sessions to discuss individual questions and concerns with professionals from the different LA and Health service areas

Booking will open soon - watch this space! 

18-01-2021 Tell us about your experiences

We know that the latest lockdown has been very challenging for many families.

We really want to know how you and your family have been affected this time. 

Where you have previously given us your feedback, this was given to the government and Local Authority and has influenced the guidance from them. See Open Letter from Children and Families minister setting out the guidance here. However, we know that guidance is not always followed consistently on the ground, so we need to know about your experiences. 

Please could you help us by taking a few minutes to complete our short survey here to let us know about your experiences - it should only take around 5 minutes to do.

The more people complete the survey, the more powerful it will be! 

The survey will close on 31st January. 

The results of the survey will be:

  • Kept anonymous (we won't collect or share your personal information)
  • Used for our discussions with the Local Authority and Health Services when we talk about what problems families are facing and what actions need to be taken
  • Fed into national discussions with the Department for Education (other London Boroughs will also be sending out the same survey to families in their area). 
  • Key findings will be shared on our website