Gina Davies has put together a wonderful selection of step by step videos of how to toilet train your child with Autism.
I think these videos could be useful for all parents wanting some ideas to make toilet training fun!
The link to her facebook page is below and the videos are also available on You Tube.... See more
Gaby Dawkins is the new temporary manager of CYPDT (Children and Young People’s Disability Team) taking over from Jane Heath who left on 26th June. Interviews for permanent manager will take place after the pandemic.
Alafia support families Black and Minority Ethnic families with children who have disabilities and/or additional needs. They are still working during the pandemic, contacting families by telephone and have a WhatsApp group. To contact them phone 0118 951 0279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dingley’s Promise have a closed Facebook group, zoom meetings and will be open for telephone support over the summer holidays. See their website for full details https://www.dingley.org.uk/covid-19-response/
Thames Valley Adventure Playground is now open for families (self-contained households) You will need to pre-book your session and make your contribution (£10 per visit) by phone. There will be a designated toilet for each family/unit but all of their buildings will remain closed. The outside Playground will be open for 2 sessions per day between 10am – 12 noon and between 1pm – 3pm for up to 3 families or residential units at any one time. To book telephone 01628 628599
Soundabout have a live virtual music festival this coming Sunday 12th July on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SoundaboutUK/ suitable for children and adults with severe learning disabilities or PMLD
The Witherslack Group is an independent Special Educational Needs provider. During the pandemic, they have a number of webinars eg managing your child’s anxiety during lockdown, mental health and guides to autism friendly days at home https://witherslackgroup.co.uk/webinars/
They also do sensory regulation workouts on Wednesdays at 11 on Facebook run by an OT https://www.facebook.com/witherslackgroup/
Chair of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition. Dr Pooky Knightsmith has been in conversation with autism practitioner, researcher and parent, Jodie Smitten in the last week about autistic masking and why it matters
Reading’s mediation is now being run by Kids Regional (it used to be Global Mediation) https://www.kids.org.uk/regional-mediation
Autism Berkshire’s Helpline service will be available throughout the summer to provide advice about autism and related matters, including challenging behaviour, food
refusal, sleep and signposting to specialist support services for issues
including education and schools. They will also be
offering Virtual Home Visits, by video link, to provide in-depth advice to parents and carers on a one-to-one basis.
If you need advice at any time, or would like to book a Home Visit with one of their family support workers, you can contact in the following ways - please make sure to include your email address and a phone number in your message:
Email us at email@example.com
Call us on 01189 594 594, select option 1 and leave a voicemail message
note that as the team is working from home, they may not be able to reply immediately, but will respond to all enquiries as soon as we can. Phone calls will
come from mobile phone numbers rather than their office, so please answer even if it is an unfamiliar number.
Autism Berkshire still has places available for some free workshops for autistic people and their parents and carers about benefits and how to apply for them, taking place on Mondays in July and are still supporting clients with mandatory reconsiderations and tribunals. Service manager Kevin Jackson and his colleague Carrie are also available to advise families of people with a number of conditions that often co-occur with autism, including ADHD, OCD, severe dyslexia and dyspraxia, on a fee-paying basis. Details of our fees are on Autism Berkshire’s website linked to below.
Their family support and benefits teams are running online autism advice workshops and support groups to help parents and carers and their families during the coronavirus shutdown. These free online services available are as follows:
Monday: Online benefits advice workshops.
July 20: Universal Credit and Employment & Support Allowance - click here to book
July 27: Disability Living Allowance - click here to book
To book follow this link
Tuesday: Online virtual ‘home visits’ for one-to-one advice for parents and carers, available by appointment – see below
Wednesday: Focused support group with discussion around a topical issue, for example doing schoolwork at home. Plus online virtual ‘home visits’ by appointment
Thursday: Bite-sized autism advice workshops based on their regular Meeting Sensory Needs, Managing Anger and Emotional Self-Regulation workshops, plus a new workshop about Understanding Food Refusal in autistic children and young people. (Please let them know which workshops you are interested in using the online registration form and they will contact you about availability.)
Friday morning: Support group for parents and carers
Friday afternoon: Support group for parents and carers
To register follow this link:
Autism Berkshire benefits advisers are available to help you and your family members to understand your entitlement to benefits and to help you with applications, reviews and appeals. If your hours of work have been reduced due to the pandemic or lockdown, you may be able to claim Universal Credit or Carer's Allowance. If you have any questions about the workshops or need advice about benefits applications, reconsiderations and appeals or are notified by the Department for Work & Pensions about a review of an existing benefit, you can contact the benefits experts Kevin Jackson and Carrie Steers in the following ways - please make sure to include your email address and a phone number in your message:
Call 01189 594 594, select option 2 and leave a voicemail message
The advisers will respond to all messages as soon as they can, but both work part-time, so may not reply immediately. Please note that while our benefits rights workshops are free, we do charge for some other services, including representation at appeal hearings, which are currently being held online, due to social distancing guidelines.
A range of other resources that you may find helpful are also listed on the website: http://www.autismberkshire.org.uk/useful-links/
Here is the link for all that Parenting Special Children are offering during Covid and beyond
Here is the guidance for special schools and specialist settings which was released in the last week about opening to all pupils in September
The Family Fund has received extra funding worth £10 million from the Department for Education to provide grants for families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children in England this year.
This emergency funding has been provided in response to the crisis presented by the Coronavirus pandemic and will help more parents and carers to look after their children. Families can apply for grants to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers and tablets, outdoor play equipment and sensory toys
You can register to apply online and can now apply every 9 months, rather than 12. There is a need to meet 3 out of 7 criteria and recipients are likely to be in receipt of Universal Credit or Tax Credits. Processing of all applications usually takes 10 weeks, but could be possible in 4/5 weeks if an emergency.
Reading Information Advice and Support Service for SEND (known as Reading IASS) is holding a virtual drop in from 10am-11am on Thursday 9th July. If you send a direct message via their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Readingiass, there will be someone online to respond to you straight away. Quick queries can be dealt with during the drop-in. If it is more complicated you can book a call to discuss further
Service Helpline 0118 937 3421 (Mon, Wed and Fri 9.30am-2.30pm)
Reading FC Community Trust can make contact to do some online gaming on the PS4 or XBOX, this is all free and young people have a 1 hour slot of meeting. To book follow this link:
The Trust also has SEND Traineeships 2020/2021 for 16 – 18 years old with special educational needs, looking for a job or a way back into education. It includes a training & games programme with coaching opportunities and a coaching qualifications. Contact Craig Peters (Assistant Disability Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ben Stokes from West End Live is doing a 40mins free session preforming musical songs on 8th July on zoom
Topic: Music Club with Ben
Time: Jul 8, 2020 02:00 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 864 6681 9921
Lastly, research on parent/carer views of aspects of aspects of raising a child or young person with autism.
We have been asked to facilitate the doctoral research of a student on the University College London Educational Psychology course, by Emma Chettiar who was a TA in a school in Reading . The research has been agreed by Ethics Committee at UCL. The greater the number of parents who respond, the greater the robustness of any findings.
If you are a parent of a child with a diagnosis of autism, please would you consider taking part in this online questionnaire using the link: https://opinio.ucl.ac.uk/s?s=64609. It should only take about 15 minutes of your time and can be completed on a phone, tablet or computer. Please could we request parents complete the questionnaires before end of July.
Parenting Special Children - Transitioning children with SEND into education at a time of upheaval – Zoom Webinar
A series of three linked workshops for families with children living, or attending a school, in Berkshire.
Wednesday 7pm-8.30pm on the following dates:
With the recent government announcement this week regarding the majority of children and young people not going back to school until September I wanted to draw your attention to our newest workshop on transitioning back to education.
Every September is a big transition for our children and young people with SEND and even so more this year so do come and join us on our new series of workshops in preparation. Below is a taste of the topics.
What are our worries and fears?
Managing unexpected endings and transitions
What is in our child/young person’s Coping Toolkit for home and school
Gradual integration and courageous coping
Preparing for new rules and expectations in context of our children’s strengths and limitations.
The workshop will be facilitated by one of our education professionals but also as important a parent who has lived experience of challenging transitions. Of course this is a new experience for all of us which makes that peer support that is so much part of what we offer at PSC so important.
Please click on the link below for further information and to book your place.
You can also find more information by clicking the link http://search3.openobjects.com/kb5/reading/directory/service.page?id=kAJmo9chq9o
Support from Reading Families Forum:
Our next coffee morning is on Monday 22nd June 11 – 12 with the Head of SEND, Deb Hunter, and the Local Offer team. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions about education for SEND during the pandemic, find out about local supports and share your ideas. To book email email@example.com or telephone 07156185380
Here is the information that the Reading Families’ Forum has received from other organisations, which we hope you will find useful.
The national Mencap has some downloadable sheets and lots of ideas to keep busy for children and young adults
Parenting Special Children is running the following event online via Zoom. They are free for Berkshire families (£5 refundable booking deposit)
You will need to attend all 3 sessions:
Wed 17 June: 7-8.30pm: Transition
Wed 24 June: 7-8.30pm: Prepare and Plan
Wed 1 July: 7-8.30pm: Reintroducing, Routines and Rituals
Dingley’s Promise has support available for families of under 5s. You do not need to have a child at Dingley’s Promise. Please contact Paula, Family Support Worker, if you would like to be added to their mailing list and be the first to receive details of online events and resources. You can also just call Paula for a chat.
Paula Chambers – Reading and West Berkshire
If you want to meet other parents of children with SEND or stay in touch with friends, you can access their private family support group on Facebook and attend online drop in sessions that take place twice a week. In the coming weeks they will also introduce an evening session where you can meet other families when the children are in bed.
Reading’s Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS) can support young people as well as parents and are looking at how they can reach out to CYP during these restricted times. They have an anonymous survey via SurveyMonkey (link below) to learn how CYP would like to be supported. This is initially aimed at Year 9 and above. It is a very short survey.
Autism Berkshire has added extra online sessions in July. The workshops, which are for autistic people living in Berkshire and their parents and carers, look at how to apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children aged up to 15 and for benefits for over-16s, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit. All the workshops will take place on Mondays from 10am to 1pm, as follows:
· June 29: Personal Independence Payment, Employment & Support Allowance and Universal Credit for autistic young people and adults aged 16+, and their parents and carers.
· July 6: Disability Living Allowance
· July 13: Personal Independence Payment
· July 20: Universal Credit and Employment & Support Allowance
· July 27: Disability Living Allowance
Full details of these workshops and how to register for free places are available on the website at https://www.autismberkshire.org.uk/benefits-service/by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01189 594 594 (option 2) and leaving a voicemail. The website also has information about other advice about benefits available to autistic people and their families, including help with the appeals process.
Contact, the national charity for disabled children and their families, has just completed a new preparing for adult life for families of children with SEND. It is well worth looking at from Year 9 onwards.
Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) run CAMHS and physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy in Berkshire. They have set up a dedicated phone line for young people in Year 9 or above and their parents for Reading families. They are able to listen, give health advice and/or refer you for ongoing support. They are open Monday to Friday 9 am – 4:30 pm. Call 01189312111 and select Option 4
BHFT assure us that they are doing face to face physiotherapy where there is a clinical need. If you are concerned that your child/young person’s health may deteriorate without physiotherapy, please contact their physiotherapist. Let us know if you have any problems. You can email us at email@example.com or contact us on the number below.
Parenting Special Children have the following events starting next week at £5 each. To book go to:
Kinship Carers Support Group Wed 17 June: 11am-12pm
Transitioning Children & Young People with SEND into education at a time of upheaval. You will need to attend all 3 sessions:
Wed 17 June: 7-8.30pm: Transition
Wed 24 June: 7-8.30pm: Prepare and Plan
Wed 1 July: 7-8.30pm: Reintroducing, Routines and Rituals
Sleep Tips for Children and Young People (age 8+) A free 12 minute presentation for children and young people. Available until 31 August 2020.
Yvonne Newbold has set up 3 new webinars for parent carers on reducing the impact of change on extreme behaviour 21st June, the teenage years 16th June and why SEND children avoid demands and how to minimise demands on 26th June.
Special Needs Jungle are conducting a survey into disabled children’s education during the coronavirus in order to plan their work. It is quick and gives you lots of opportunity to have your say!
Young Minds, the mental health charity, have some tips for teenagers anxious about the coronavirus
Some of you may know Healios from the online Autism assessments they have done on behalf of CAMHS. They have developed an app called ThinkNinja for young people to help them cope with the current pandemic, which is accessible for all.
Also, SIBS have a short video for siblings coping with being at home more with their disabled brother or sister
NHS England have just published guidance on community services for children and young people which includes guidance on physiotherapy and continuing care.
Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) run CAMHS and physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy in Berkshire. They have been seeing children and young people for physiotherapy etc via the One Consultation platform. They would like to know how this is working for families. Is it helpful? Is it better than having to come to appointments and struggle with parking etc? What are the challenges? Please let us know and we will feedback to BHFT. We are also keen to hear from anyone who feels their child/young person is not getting sufficient therapies to maintain their physical and/or mental health. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on the number below.
Education, Health and Care needs assessments and plans: Guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to COVID-19
Wishing you all the best this week and hoping to see as many of your young people as possible on Thursday for our Special United meet up via Zoom with the head of Reading’s SEN team, Steve Devlin. The session is from 3 – 4:30 and there is a £10 Amazon Voucher for all young people who take part. To book email email@example.com
Reading Families Forum
Registered Charity No. 1166585
A voice for families of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities
There is an online workshop on your benefit rights run by Autism Berkshire on 15th June for those with children 0 – 15 years and on 29th June for 16+
There are lots of resources for coping during this pandemic aimed at families with babies through to teenagers at the following link: Click here to view site
The Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group supporting and promoting the wellbeing challenge at the following site: Click here to see the challenge
Sunshine Support have some useful pre-recorded webinars plus some online workshops in the coming weeks such as a cuppa and chat on various dates and SEND violent child behaviour and siblings workshop on 18th June. See below for further details and to book. They work in partnership with the SEND VCB (Violent and Challenging Behaviour) project. https://www.sunshine-support.org/events
The Reading Family Information Service (FIS) are working hard to keep information up to date. Many of our voluntary and community sector partners have adapted how they work and continue to provide services to children, young people and families. FIS also has information for Key Workers.
Tel: 0118 9373777 (Option 2) (73777)
Remember, if you, or someone you know is in need of extra support, with shopping or medication call the Borough Council helpline 0808 1894325 (freephone) from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Contact, the national charity for families of children with additional needs, have put together some resources for keeping children with additional needs entertained: https://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/entertaining-children-at-home/
Chatterpack was set up by a mother and daughter with ADHD and has lots of good resources for occupying children with SEND https://chatterpack.net/
Advice about going out for exercise with a child with additional needs during this pandemic can be found here: linkedin.com/pulse/coronavirus-regulations-guide-exercise-send-parents-julian-norman
Autism Little Learners - Guidance for those with children who have Autism, as well as a clear social story about why we are staying at home.
National Autistic Society - Click here for useful links and resources from the National Autistic Society during Coronavirus
Speech and Language Activities Speech and Language Info