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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 

15-01-2021 Coronavirus Guidance and news

The last year has been hugely challenging for everyone and especially so for parents and carers of children with additional needs. 

Below we have pulled together some key sources of information relating to the impact of Covid 19 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. 

School attendance

At the moment most mainstream schools are closed to children except the children of critical workers, and children classed as 'vulnerable', who should be offered a place at school if they want one - see the government guidance here and additional information from Contact here. The definition of vulnerable includes children with EHCPs and also those on SEN support. Special schools have been asked to remain open during this period (although we are aware that staffing issues are currently preventing this from happening in some cases). Attendance at school is not compulsory for any children and there will be no penalties if you chose to keep your child at home- it is up to parents to discuss with the school and what will be in the child's best interests. Please talk to your child's school about your child's return to school and/or your decision to keep them at home. Schools should supply remote learning for any children who are at home. The Minister for Children and Families Vicky Ford has issued an open letter (dated 14th Jan 2021) setting out the position which you can read here and there is detailed guidance for special schools and colleges and alternative provisions here.

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. We are aware that some supermarkets and other shops are trying to take a harder line on this, so 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

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

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.  

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. 

Going to Hospital

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. 

17-12-2020 Information and support over Christmas period

We have put together two information packs gathering together key facts about local services, and information on events and activities over the Christmas period. 

Information pack SEND - Information and support for parents and carers of children and young people with Disabilities and Special Educational Needs

Information pack Autism - an amended version of the information and advice pack for parents and carers, with a specific focus on support for children and young people with Autism (ASD, ASC, Aspergers and other neurodiverse conditions) 

04-12-2020 Resources from Positive Behaviour Support Webinar

Our Positive Behaviour Support webinar took place on 3rd December, with Seema Islam and Rupali Bhullar from the Our Voice team presenting along with Bethanne Willingham (CAMHS and SCAN), Stephen Chatterjee (Durants School and PBS Coach) and Clare Redrupp (Cheviots and PBS Coach). 

Here are the resources from the webinar

Presentation 

Summary of the presentation 

Strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour 

Additional information and resources 

Supporting adults and children with learning disabilities at home during the Pandemic 

Challenging behaviour - supporting your loved one at home

Information sheet on Spitting 

Guide to supporting a child who is struggling to attend school 

24-10-2020 What's On this half term?

Wondering what to do this half-term? See our guide to what's on - including an exclusive Mr Marvel Halloween party for Our Voice members (join our mailing list if you'd like to come!). 

21-10-2020 Moving to Secondary School

Our Voice and SENDIASS held two videoconference sessions on 20th and 21st October, to give parents and carers of children in or close to year 6 to discuss the options and the process for transfer to Secondary schools. For those children with an EHCP, the deadline is 23rd October, and for all other children, it will be 31st October. 

You can see the presentation from our session here. and the Q&A here.

Resources for supporting your child during the transition

The following information may be useful in supporting your child during the transition to secondary school: 

For children and young people: 

Tips for pupils starting secondary school - an easy read guide for children and young people developed by The Foundation for people with learning disabilities, with University of Nottingham and University of Cambridge. 

Things I could say to start a conversation when making friends - a useful list from SENDIASS

For parents and carers 

Suggestions for families - a guide for parents and carers on how to support children with SEND during the secondary transfer - developed by The Foundation for people with learning disabilities, with University of Nottingham and University of Cambridge. 

Secondary transfer guide from the Enfield Advisory Service for Autism - a guide to supporting children with Autism during the transfer. 

Suggestions for supporting pupils - this is a guide aimed at teachers but which you may find useful (or wish to bring to the attention of your child's school) - it is developed by he Foundation for people with learning disabilities, with University of Nottingham and University of Cambridge.