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Coronavirus: Information for parents and carers of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

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Helpful information for parents and carers with a children with special educational needs and/or disabilities during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

    Summer holidays

The Good School Guide has some tips for making the most of this long holiday.

For local activities and events visit our:

    Special educational needs and disabilities updates - summer term 2021

    Covid-19 vaccine

Children aged 12 to 15 at increased risk of serious Covid-19 disease are to be offered the Covid-19 vaccination

On the 19 July the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that children at increased risk of serious coronavirus (COVID-19) disease are offered a vaccine. This includes children aged between 12 and 15-years-old with severe neurodisabilities, Down's syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Visit the UK Government website for further information.

Who gets the Covid-19 vaccine first

Read the Public Health England Easy Read guide to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Photosymbols has produced this easy read poster and audio version on who gets the Covid-19 vaccine first, this can be downloaded from the Keep Safe website. Further easy read and audios relating to the coronavirus and health matters can also be found on the Keep Safe website.

For further information visit the GOV.UK website to read the:

Unpaid carers

On the 30 December the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) revised it recommendations in relation to unpaid carers. Visit the Contact for Family website for further information.

Roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination in Berkshire West

Visit the NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group website for information on the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination in the Berkshire West.

Watch the NHS England and NHS Improvement film on vaccinations for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

The film describes what is a vaccine is, how vaccines are made, why you should get a vaccine, whether a vaccine make you ill and how to decide whether to have a vaccine.

Easy read guides

Walk through of the COVID vaccination centre at Reading’s Madejski Stadium

Watch Jane Thomson-Smith, Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing at Berkshire West CCG, do a walk through of the COVID vaccination centre at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.

    Education: information for parents and carers

Guidance for parents and carers

For the latest updates on schools opening visit our covid-19 school guidance web page and our news centre websites.

The UK Government have produced guidance information for parents and carers on:

Further information can also be found on the education and childcare section of the GOV.UK website

Open letter to parents from Children's Minister Vicky Ford MP

Read Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families open letter to parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, their families and those who support them.

Face coverings when travelling to school

Face coverings are a legal requirement for students on public transport.

Face coverings in secondary school and college

Read the latest government advice on wearing facemasks in an educational setting on the GOV.UK website.

Further information

Go to the IPSEA website for a list of frequently asked questions on the how the COVID-19 measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

For further information visit our:

    Use of Personal Assistants, Direct Payment Workers and Agencies during COVID-19

Read our guidance on the use of Personal Assistants, Direct Payment workers and agencies during COVID-19. Covering the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), practical considerations and other advice so that short breaks undertaken in this way can happen safely.

    Activities and online groups

Online groups

The Autism Group

Young people can continue to enjoy their special interest group virtual, for futher information go to the Autism Group website.

The Ark

Hold Stay Up Late zoom video chats, for further details contact The Ark via email: info@theark.org.uk

For further details about the Stay Up Late national campaign go to The Ark website

Challengers

Are holding virtual youth sessions via Zoom, to book a place go to the Challengers website.

Outdoor activities

Parks and nature reserve

Go to our parks, play areas and open spaces around the Wokingham Borough directory listing to view a map of local parks and nature reserves.

Camp Mohawk

Providing online support through zoom meetings with young people.

Camp Mohawk is open to our existing registered families and groups, in a limited capacity and only outdoors. Please contact Camp Mohawk before planning a visit.

See Camp Mohawk Facebook page for updates.

Thames Valley Adventure Playground (TVAP)

Is open, families are required to pre-book their sessions and make their contribution by phone.

To book phone: 01628 628599

Visit the TVAP website for further information.

Swings and Smiles - Garden family play

Swings and Smiles is open to their existing registered families. To access the garden family play sessions email office@swingsandsmiles.co.uk

Search the Local Offer directory

Visit the Local Offer directory to find clubs and leisure activities.

    Free online counselling for young people aged 11-18 years

Free online counselling

Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional well-being support service providing young people aged 11-18 years (up to 19th birthday) in Wokingham with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.

On Kooth you can:

  • Chat to our friendly counsellors
  • Read articles written by young people
  • Get support from the Kooth community
  • Write in a daily journal

For further information and how to access the service go to the Kooth website.

Find out how Kooth can help you by watching the video below 

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people from XenZone on Vimeo.

Watch the Kooth Chat video

Kooth - Chat from XenZone on Vimeo.

Molehill Mountain – an app to help autistic people with anxiety

Molehill Mountain smartphone app aiming to help autistic adults understand and self-manage their own anxiety. The app has been developed by UK research charity Autistica and researchers at King’s College London with input from autistic people.

Further information about the App can be found on the King’s College London website.

    Useful resources for parents and carers

Resources for people with learning disabilities

The Learning Disabilities Professional Senate have developed two resources for people with learning disabilities:

Watch the East London NHS Foundation Trust video on supporting Neurodiverse children in challenging times such as during self-isolation

Mencap have produced a number of helpful easy read guides around the coronavirus including what may happen if you go into hospital. These can be download from the Mencap website.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation has developed a guide with tips and advice for parents and carers who are looking after a child or adult with serve learning disabilities at home during the COVID-19.

Read the supporting children and adults with severe learning disabilities at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of Glasgow with assistance from colleagues at the Universities of Lancaster and Warwick have developed a series of self help booklets to support people who have learning disabilities to express their feelings. The guides can be downloaded from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) website.

Visual Stories

Ambitious about Autism have created visual stories on home testing, going back to school and other covid-19 related matters.

Go to the Ambitious about Autism website for practical resources.

Helpful resources for mental health wellbeing during the covid-19

Wokingham Borough Educational Psychology Service has put together some wellbeing tips for families in their information sheet called Coronavirus: supporting children's wellbeing.

The universities of Oxford and Reading have put together a helpful information guide for parents and carers to help support children and young people with worries about COVID-19.

West Berkshire CCG have produced some resource to help support children and young peoples mental health:

Contact for families with disabled children have adaped the support they offer to families during the coronavirus outbreak, visit their COVID -19 Information web pages for further information.

The Well child website has a range of useful information and advice for parents and carers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Go to the UK Government blog to find a comprehensive list of resources on where to go for mental health support?

Free online counselling

Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional well-being support service providing young people aged 11-18 years (up to 19th birthday) in Wokingham with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.

On Kooth you can:

  • Chat to our friendly counsellors
  • Read articles written by young people
  • Get support from the Kooth community
  • Write in a daily journal

For further information and how to access the service go to the Kooth website.

Useful websites

Website with useful information, advice and resources:

Further information

Go to our information web page for further resources and guidance on: 

Health resources

The NHS has put together a range of resources about Coronavirus in accessible formats, including information in an easy read, picture vocabulary, videos, British Sign Language, podcasts and Makaton

To access these resources visit the NHS Health Education England Library and knowledge services website.

Visit the Keep Safe website for helpful easy read information on matters related to coronavirus, the covid-19 vaccine, support bubble, getting help if you are feeling unwell, getting a covid test and more. 

    Support for parents and carers

Wokingham community response - support to get food and medication

If you need assistance with foods and medicines if you are reducing social contacts or shielding please contact the Wokingham Borough Community Response service through the Citzens Advice Wokingham website or

Call: 0300 330 1189 or

Email: admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

Further information can be found on the Wokingham Borough Community Response to COVID-19 web page.

Co-op introduces gift card scheme for vulnerable customers

The Co-op supermarket group has launched a gift card scheme for those shielding or self-isolating and reliant on others to do their shopping or who are volunteering to help someone they know, including as part of a local support group.

By calling a dedicated Co-op phone line on 0800 029 4592,  a gift card can be purchase which can be shared with friends, neighbours or volunteers to pay for shopping in their local Co-op store.

Co-op Health app - repeat prescriptions delivered to your home for people age 16+

The Co-op Health app connects people securely to their GP so they can automatically view and order their medications from their mobile phone.  Home delivery is at no extra cost to them or the NHS.

To get a repeat prescriptions from Co-op Health, the person must:

  • be 16 or over
  • be registered with a GP in England
  • have medication that’s on a repeat prescription
  • have a delivery address in the UK or be able to collect your medication from a pharmacy in England 

Visit the NHS website for further information.

School Nurse Advice and Support Line 

Berkshire Healthcare is launching a new school nursing advice and support line for children, young people and their families, to offer health advice and referral into the service for on-going support if needed. The line will be available from 9am until 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

You can access this service by dialing 0118 931 2111 and selecting ‘Option 4’ to speak to a School Nurse from our team.

Local carer support services

Wokingham SEND Voices

Visit the Wokingham Parent Carer forum SEND Voices website for information, advice and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can also keep update to date via the SEND Voices Facebook page.

The Wokingham SEND Voices website also has a helpful COVID-19 quick reference guide for Wokingham Borough SEND families with useful information and resources.

Dingley Promise

Read the Dingley Promise leaflet to find out what support Dingley Promise can offer to families during the coronavirus outbreak who have a child aged between 0 and 5.

Further support information can be found on the Dingley Promise website.

Parenting Special Children

Parenting Special Children hold Dads and Male Carers Support Groups via Zoom.

To join the group and to find out more information go to the Parenting Special Children website.

ASD Family Help

ASD Family Help are keeping in touch via their Facebook page. You can also call, text or email the service.

Autism Berkshire

Autism Berkshire are holding online support groups, visit the Autism Berkshire website to register your interest in joining a group. You can also keep in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

Me2 Club

The Me2 Club team members are availble to contact through their email addresses and mobile phones numbers, visit their website for details. Me2 also has a Facebook Parent Forum page for local families to support each other.

Promise Inclusion

The Promise Inclusion family liaison service is available to support families during these challenging times. Read the Promise Inclusion leaflet to for further information and contact details.

Home-start

Home-start launching a new remote family support service. They are now taking referrals for remote support, by digital means, for families who are struggling to cope during the toughest of times.

Telephone: 0118 988 8025

Email: admin@home-startwd.org.uk

Website: Home-start Wokingham District

Wiggle Worms

Telephone support from family worker for families of children 0-5 with a diagnosis of ASD or waiting for an assessment. Contact service by phone:

  • Brambles: 07900 071 017
  • Ambleside: 0118 908 8152

Useful websites

The Carers UK website has guidance for carers on being prepared and protecting someone you care for.

The Special Needs Jungle website has helpful information on the coronavirus and the SEND law as well as other information and guidance.

The Council for Disabled Children website has useful information on what the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean for children and young people with SEND.

Disabled Children's Partnership website has helpful resources and information.

Contact for families with disabled children have a Listening ear service which is a 1:1 confidential phone appointment line with a family support adviser for parents during the coronavirus outbreak.

Caring for someone over 18

Find out about support through The Wokingham Carers Hub (0118 324 7333), run by TuVida on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council. It provides a wealth of information. Its staff are highly trained in understanding carers’ needs, providing support, signposting you in the right direction as well as a host of online help groups and home visits.

The hidden carers free helpline (0800 133 7851), run by East Berkshire and Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups together with Signal4Carers, has been extended until the end of December. This is for those of you with caring responsibilities, but don’t recognise yourselves as a carer, so may be unaware there is help available. 

You can also request an assessment in your own right if you’re caring for someone aged 18 or over by completing our online carers self-assessment.

Guidance for carers

Go to the UK Government website to read guidance from the Government for those who provide unpaid care to friends and family.

The Carers UK website has guidance for carers on being prepared and protecting someone you care for.

Read the Council for Disabled Children family support information page for information about the new government restrictions including information about what the new guidance means for families and for local authorities and short breaks providers. 

Childcare Bubbles

Go to the UK Government website to find out how you can get informal childcare for children aged 13 or under from friends and family you do not live with.

National free school meals voucher scheme

The National Free School Meals Voucher scheme runs for four weeks, from 18 January - 12 February 2021. For parents and carers who would like to know more about the scheme visit the Edenred website for an overview.

Read Edenred guide to use the free school meals vouchers.

    Online training for parents and carers

Digley Promise - children under 5

Dingley Promise offer support to families who have a child aged between 0 and 5.

For information on the support they provide visit the Dingley Promise website.

Autism Berkshire

Autism Berkshire a various of online workshops including support around benefits, transition, sleep difficulties, food refusal and more.

For dates of workshops and to register to take part, visit the Autism Berkshire web page.

Parenting Special Children

Parenting special children are running online Zoom workshops and events:

For dates and to book a place on a workshop visit the Parenting Special Children website

The Autism Group

The Autism Group are running a number of online Zoom workshops and events.

For details of the workshops and how to book your placce go to the autism group website calendar.

Contact for families with disabled children

Contact have adaped their workshops to be online, visit their website for further information.

    Face covering and exemption card

Face coverings

Read photo symbols easy read guide to wearing a face covering to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation has producted a leaflet on how to wear a a medical face mask safely.

See a guide by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and the Community Infection Prevention and Control service on the dos and don't when wearing a face mask.

People who do not have to wear a face covering

Go to the UK Government website for:

Mask alert cards and medical alert cards

Carers and essential companions can download an alert card from the SEDS website explaining that they cannot wear a face mask because they are providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. Medical alert cards are also available to download to help people with a disability or medical condition explain why they are unable to wear a mask or face covering.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower 

The Hidden Disabilities sunflower design is recongnised by many businesses and organisation. It indicates to people that you need additional support, help or a little more time.

The hidden disabilities website has sunflower face masks, face snood, face shields, hand sanitiser bottle and neoprene sleeves to purchase via their online store. 

Please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges 

If you have concerns about social distancing you can go to the UK Government website and download a badge or card that lets others around you know that they need to pay attention and give you space.

Clear face masks

The UK Government announced that 250,000 clear face masks are to be delivered to frontline NHS and social care workers to support better care for people who use lip-reading and facial expressions to communicate.

For further information read the UK Governments press release.

    Shielding and self-isolating

    Funding for low income families to support children with complex needs

On the 19 May the UK Government announced a multi-million-pound settlement for Family Fund.

Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities will receive grants for vital equipment to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.

Read the full UK Governments press release on the GOV.UK website.

For further details on applying for the grant visit the Family Fund website.

Useful documents to read before completing the application form:

    Health - Coronavirus support information and advice

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Visit the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Children, Young People and Families service website for information on:

Berkshire Healthcare have a helpful blog on their children and young people and families service website where therapists talk about ways of promoting children’s speech and language or sensory/physical development through play.

Read the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust easy read guide about what you are allowed to do in the new lockdown.

Check if you have coronavirus symptoms via the NHS 111 online service

The NHS 111 online service provides a tool for checking if you have coronavirus symptoms, by asking a few questions and telling you what to do next.

Information and advice on the Coronavirus from the NHS

Go to the NHS UK website for information and advice on the Coronavirus, staying home, how to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

Find an NHS Dentist

Healthwatch Wokingham have put together an information page o their website with tips on what to do if you're facing problems finding an NHS funded dentist.

Guide for Parents and Carers - COVID-19

When your child is ill or injured it is very difficult to decide if/when to call your child’s GP, NHS 111 or go the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E). During the current situation and while the government is asking everyone to stay at home, it can be confusing to know what to do. Read the NHS guide for guidance to help you.

Health resources

The NHS has put together a range of resources about Coronavirus in accessible formats, including information in an easy read, picture vocabulary, videos, British Sign Language, podcasts and Makaton

To access these resources visit the NHS Health Education England Library and knowledge services website.

Public Health have published guidance on the Gov.UK website for households with possible coronavirus infection

Photosymbols has produced easy read posters including audio versions on health matters relating to the coronavirus pandemic. They can be downloaded from the Keep Safe website.

Co-op Health app - repeat prescriptions delivered to your home for people age 16+

The Co-op Health app connects people securely to their GP so they can automatically view and order their medications from their mobile phone.  Home delivery is at no extra cost to them or the NHS.

To get a repeat prescriptions from Co-op Health, the person must:

  • be 16 or over
  • be registered with a GP in England
  • have medication that’s on a repeat prescription
  • have a delivery address in the UK or be able to collect your medication from a pharmacy in England 

Visit the NHS website for further information.

Hospital Communication Passport and Supporting Resources

The charity Include Me Too have produced a COVID-19 resource pack to help families prepare for admission to hospital. The pack includes:

  • COVID-19 hospital communication passport
  • COVID-19 history sheet

These documents can be download from the Include Me Too website, along with their all about me communication passport.

    Training for professional and volunteers

View the local area Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) training directory for courses that are available for professionals and volunteers working with children and young people who have SEND.

    Wokingham Borough Council - Covid-19

    UK Government response - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

GOV.UK - Guidance and support

Go to the UK Government website for the latest information on the UK Governments response.

Childcare Bubbles

Go to the UK Government website to find out how you can get informal childcare for children aged 13 or under from friends and family you do not live with.

National free school meals voucher scheme

The National Free School Meals Voucher scheme runs for four weeks, from 18 January - 12 February 2021. For parents and carers who would like to know more about the scheme visit the Edenred website for an overview.

Read Edenred guide to use the free school meals vouchers.

Tribunals

For the latest advice and guidance from the judiciary regarding tribunals visit the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.

For details about security, cleaning and social-distancing arrangements in court and tribunal buildings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, read the UK Government guidance on keeping court and tribunal buildings safe, secure and clean.


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The Service Directory includes information and links to third party internet websites which are controlled and maintained by others, information is provided solely for guidance and does not constitute any endorsement. Wokingham Borough Council is not responsible for the accuracy of the information on the directories and information is not provided as a recommendation of suitability or quality of service.