See the following organisations which offer practical support for parents and carers. This is not an exhaustive list, but a hand-picked selection of really useful sources of help. For the most comprehensive, searchable guide to services for disabled children and their families please see the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Local Offer website.
(Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service)
Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) is a free service available to parents, children and young people living in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
They can help by providing access to impartial and confidential guidance and support on matters relating to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including education, schools, national and local policy and practice, statutory assessment and Education, Health and Care plans.
The service is provided to parent or carers with a child or young person aged 0-25 who:
• Believe their child may have a special educational need (SEN).
• Have a child with SEN.
• Live in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The service is also for young people with special educational needs up to the age of 25.
Parents/carers are encouraged to refer themselves to this service, although they can also give consent to professionals, they are already working with, to contact the service on their behalf.
SENDIASS offers a variety of support including:
- Listening to your concerns about your child’s education and helping you to put your views across (advocacy).
- Telephone information, support and advice about SEN.
- Written and online information about SEN.
- Help for you to understand letters and reports from schools and other professionals working with your child regarding their education.
- Help to write letters about your child’s SEN.
- Accompanying you to meetings at your child’s school or early learning setting.
- Help with disagreements and appeals.
- Signposting you to other services.
- Liaising with other children’s services.
- Organising and holding a transition event for parents/carers of year 5 pupils with a statement of SEN or EHC Plan.
- Advising young people on their future education and encouraging their aspirations.
- Home visits, if required.
- Opportunities to meet in venues across the borough.
- Providing access to an independent supporter through Greenwich Association of Disabled People. For more information call 020 8269 0674 or follow this link.
The service for families of children with a statement of special educational needs or EHC Plan is identical to that in the targeted section.
Click the following link to view and print the SENDIASS Leaflet 2016 which describes what the service can offer in full.
Who to contact
Maria Stacey (Contact via FIS helpline)
TEMPLATE COMPLAINT LETTERS
Cerebra have created a series of template letters to help families write to their local council or health body to ask for information or make a complaint. Click in the link below: they have different letters for England, Wales and Scotland.
PARENTING 4 PARENTS (P4P)
This is a course for parents with children 5-13 who are struggling to manage their child's behaviour. The programme explores ways of providing a safe and nurturing environment for your children using positive discipline.
It encourages parent participation and helps with:
Developing your parenting skills
Building positive behaviour
Managing parent-child conflict
Learning new problem solving skills
Understanding child development
Getting support from other parents
Preparing your child for a successful future
Courses take place in schools across Greenwich. Weekly sessions last two hours and you will need to sign up for a complete course of seven weeks. There's a crèche available.
For more info contact the Families Information Helpline on 0208 921 6921 or email@example.com
EARLY HELP FAMILY WORKERS
Early help family workers offer 1:1 support for parents. With you and your child they can:
Discuss any problems facing your family and help develop solutions
Work in partnership with you and build on your family's strengths
Help develop closer family relationships between you and your children
Give advice and support to help you manage your child's behaviour
Suggest ways to help your children in their learning and development
Listen to the views of your children
Offer advice and support on keeping children safe
They will also complete a document called and Early Help Assessment (EHA). This is a simple way of gathering information and recording it in an organised way. It helps work out who can support your family and keeps you and your children at the hear of any decisions that are made.
For more info contact the Families Information Helpline on 0208 921 6921 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BLUEBELL HOUSE (Short Breaks Service) Greenwich
Bluebell House provides children and young people with complex health needs with short breaks.
The team understand that having a child with complex health needs can be very challenging and demanding at times, and recognise that parents and carers need a break from their caring role. Taking a break from caring does not mean you do not care. A break can allow you to catch up with family or friends, have a rest or do all the things you cannot do while you are caring for your child
Children also benefit from having a break from their parent/carer(s). This break can allow them to make new friends and experience new activities.
A short break provides your child with the opportunity to develop social skills and access local leisure facilities, defined and agreed by you.
Day care at weekends and during school holidays
After school club
Home visiting service for children under five years old
How to access the service
Referrals are accepted from parents and carers, the child or young person and partnership agencies.
Once a referral is received an assessment will be completed and discussed at the care package panel in partnership with the Children with Disabilities Team. Parents, carers, families, children and young people are welcome to visit our centre and meet staff to learn more about services we can offer.
Contact: Tel: 020 8859 7463
Address: 2 Wensley Close, Eltham, London SE9 5AB
For more information click on this link:
WHIZZ KIDZ (mobility)
Whizz Kidz is a mobility support charity that helps disabled children and young people in every community in very practical ways. Each year they aim to provide more children and young people with appropriate mobility equipment than ever before. It provides disabled children and young people with wheelchair skills training, advice and information, opportunities to meet and have fun at local clubs, and training to help them gain vital skills for life. It also helps them gain their first experiences of the world of work through a work placement programme in partnership with a wide range of companies across the UK. Their strategy includes continued expansion of these services to ensure that young wheelchair users in every community have access to sustained support throughout their childhoods.
Whizz Kidz postal and registered address is: Whizz-Kidz, 4th floor, Portland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5BH.
Phone: 020 7233 6600.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR DISABLED CHILDREN
This is a useful list of organisations that can help with travel insurance/travel arrangements. When planning a holiday, travel insurance is an issue that can present some obstacles for families of disabled children. Many people have travel cover potentially included with a service they already use, such as car insurance, a membership subscription or a bank account, but they have looked in the small print and found that pre-existing conditions are excluded.
Here’s a short list of companies you might want to look at for more information. Some of these companies only cover for certain conditions. Listing these companies does not imply that GPV recommends any of them. Please make sure you check that they are suitable for your needs.
Fogg Travel Insurance Services
National Autistic Society autism-friendly holiday insurance
P.J. Hayman & Co. Ltd., a group of specialist travel insurance companies, each covering different requirements.
A holiday advice organisation that may know of other insurers is Tourism for All.
Government advice about travel with disabilities, which includes insurance, booking, taking medication abroad, law, access, finance, airports and so on.
Other things worth thinking about in advance include:
For travel in the UK, the National Key Scheme for access to toilets for people with disabilities (not all toilets are kept locked, but for those that are).
For travel in Europe, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is needed. These cards should be free of charge but they go out of date, so if you already have one it is worth checking that it will still be valid when you travel.
CHANGING PLACES SPECIAL TOILETS IN GREENWICH AND THE UK
Changing Places toilets are different to standard disabled toilets with extra features and more space to meet the needs of disabled users. Users who benefit include children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury, who often need extra facilities to allow them to use the toilets comfortably.
Each Changing Places toilet provides:
Equipment: The right equipment
– a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench
– a tracking hoist system, or mobile hoist if this is not possible.
Changing Places toilet: Enough space
– adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers
– a centrally placed toilet with room either side for the carers
– a screen or curtain to allow the disabled person and carer some privacy.
Changing Places toilet: A safe and clean environment
– wide tear off paper roll to cover the bench
– a large waste bin for disposable pads
– a non-slip floor.
Locations in Greenwich
11 Giffin Street, Deptford, London, SE8 4RJ
2 Archery Road Eltham London, SE9 1HA
The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX Tel: 020 8463 2000
35 Wellington Street, Greenwich, SE18 6HQ Tel: 020 8854 8888
For more information, a map of locations throughout the UK and more info on each of these toilet locations in Greenwich go to the website: www.changing-places.org
BLUE BADGE APPLICATIONS SUPPORT
Contact-A-Family provides very useful advice on applying for a Blue Badge.
Visit www.cafamily.org.uk for help with this.
The Blue Badge scheme allows some parking concessions for disabled people. You are eligible if your child:
– receives the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
– is aged two or above and has severe walking problems
– is under three and has a condition which means they either need to be accompanied by bulky equipment or kept near a vehicle at all times.
Disabled adults on Personal Independence Payments (PIP) also qualify for a Blue Badge if they score eight points or more under the PIP activity of ‘moving around’.
For more detailed information visit: https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge
Greenwich Mencap is a local member-led charity that works with and for people with a learning disability/difficulty and/or autistic spectrum condition and their families. Our services for children and young people and their families include:
Education Health and Care Plans - Independent Support - our Independent Supporters are trained to help families and young people through the Education, Health and Care Plan assessment, planning and development process.
Our approach is to provide support which is flexible to meet your family’s individual needs that includes offering advice on the telephone, face to face meetings, including home visits and joining you when attending meetings in schools or with other professionals. This service is free.
Greenlights – The Greenlights Project is a support service for families who are experiencing behavioural difficulties from their child with a learning disability/autistic spectrum condition. Our Greenlights Worker will visit you and your family at home in a series of structured visits, offering help and advice surrounding issues such as: understanding challenging behaviour, development of coping strategies and effective communication skills and/or invite you to a workshop covering these areas.
If supported on an individual basis, you and your family will have the time to express your individual concerns about the behaviour and the Greenlights worker will help families to better understand the underlying causes and meanings of the behaviour and will offer parents guidance on how best to respond to this behaviour with appropriate strategies and techniques. This service is free.
Contact: 020 83052245 ext 2
Independent Living Service – our team of trained Independent Living Assistants can support a person with learning disabilities/autistic spectrum condition to develop independence and provide regular weekly care breaks for families. Personal budgets/direct payments or self funded. The cost for this service is £18 per hour.
Contact: 020 83052245 ext 207
Let's Sort it Out – our team provide advice and information around a range of issues including benefits, health support, statutory agencies and advocacy and support at meetings. We can ensure that you will get the benefits and support that you are entitled to, and make you aware of all the services available.
To access this service you need to be 18 years or over with a learning disability/difficulty and/or autistic spectrum condition. Although not primarily a service for 'children' our clients include young people between 18 years and 25 years still in education as well as parents with learning disabilities who may need support with a number of challenges. This service is free.
GREENWICH TOY LIBRARY
The Greenwich Toy and Leisure Library Association is a toy library for children with special needs and their families/carers. It has over 7,000 toys in its lending library, and offers ‘stay and play’ sessions supervised by play therapists, as well as running a Saturday Club and a Young People’s group. The association supports parents by providing home visits, and organising holidays and outings. It also offers advice and information about autism, workshops and parenting courses, and can offer help with writing letters, filling in forms, preparing for meetings and transition planning.
Child or young person with a disability aged 0-25 years who is resident in the borough of Greenwich and who is substantially affected in their everyday living by one or more of the following: a learning difficulty; a sensory impairment; a physical impairment; chronic ill health or medical problems; a serious life limiting or terminal illness; a communication or language disorder; an autistic spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome and emotional, behavioural disorders.