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 Easy Read Mobile Phones
 Here is a useful link  to an easy read mobile phone guide from Ofcom:
EasyReadMobilePhone

Autism -friendly Youth Trail
The British Museum have been doing lots of work around supporting young people with autism and, in partnership with the National Autistic Society, have opened an Autism-friendly Youth Trail - well worth  investigating with holidays coming up soon!

 Entitlement to Local Authority support  until the age of 25.
This is a link to the Disability Rights UK page which nicely summarises the Department for Education's publication of Support and Aspiration published in May 2012:  www.aspirationpublication .
In summary, local authorities are required to support disabled children and young people and those with SEN from age 0 -25.

 Puberty Book for Girls.
This book comes recommended for girls with SEN. It is called "What's Happening To Me?" , published by Usborne www.usborne.com or buy from Amazon.  It covers topics such as "How can I get rid of spots?, When will I need a bra? What are periods like? Why do I feel moody?"  ISBN:  9780746 069950

 Youth Group for Young People with ASD.
A youth group for young people aged 13-17 years old with Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning  Autism.  The aim is to meet others, join in discussions and take part in activities such as table tennis, cooking, art and indoor sports, and to socialise - all for just 1.   It is run by the Autism Society, at various venues across Hertfordshire.  For more info contact Alison Carpenter (alison.carpenter@nas.org.uk) or Wayne Thorpe (wayne.thorpe@nas.org.uk) on 01442 247046.

 Autism Resources for Staff and Parents

Here are some links from the NAS website which are extremely good resources and information for haring with your child's teacher, SENCO, after-school activity leaders etc.  The website has been updated recently and will definitely help everyone understand.

Circle of Friends link: Circle of  Friends
Games for introducing autism to a class or group link:  Games

Potential assistive tactic for students with HFA/AS sitting exams link:  exams

Information for classmates/groups link: classmates


 Autism Friendly Film Screenings.
More Autism Friendly Film Screenings have been announced and will show at more than 8- Odeon cinemas accross the UK and Ireland:  For more info click on www.dimensions-uk.org/autismfriendly.

Also, there are autism friendly films shown at West Herts College Theatre, Watford Campus, Hempstead Road, Watford WD17 3EZ.  . All tickets are 3; parking is free too. Call Karen on 01923 812233 for details or click on www.westherts.ac.uk/film.pdf.

Gambado group.
For children with autism and their families.  Their Play Area, Roaring Meg Retail Park, Stevenage SG1 1XN has evenings for children with additional needs once a month - 20th Feb and 12th March are the next ones (6-7.30 pm; 4 per child).  For more details click on Gambado.

 Changes to A&E Services at the QE2 Hospital, Welwyn Garden City
From Mon 16th  January 2012, the A&E services at this hospital are changing:
ADULTS:  the current A&E service will continue 8am-8pm, 7 days/week but overnight services will treat minor injuries only.
CHILDREN 1 yr-16yrs: will only treat minor injuries that need urgent care -  24hrs/day 7days a week.
BABIES under 1yr: not treated at QE2 please go to your nearest specialist emergency department eg Lister (Stevenage) or Princess Alexandria (Harlow).
Of course, if an adult or child is taken to the QE2 hospital and their condition deteriorates, staff will stabilise the patient before transfer to the best place to receive ongoing care.  For up to date info on A&E departments and minor injuries/walk in centres local to you click on the following site: www.wheredoigo.org.uk a new online resource for Hertfordshire.


 Acitivites for Young People
Following our meeting with some of the Transition Team, here are 2 recommended websites you can use to find out what activities are available for your young person to try and access in your local area:
mogozout
mumsnet (this is very new and still developing so please feel free to use the "traffic light" feedback system to help it improve).

 Charlotte's Tandems
"My elder daughter, Charlotte, has Severe Learning Difficulties and Autism and keeping her busy and active is difficult, but we found it tandeming. We then decided to get more tandems to lend disabled people of all ages to go cycling with their families and friends. We have grown so much that we have set up an outpost in London and now need people to borrow the tandems we have there. "  This service is FREE - full details are on their website Charlotte's Tandems

 Cerebra - Grant towards Wills
As well as being a fantastic source of resources, Cerebra Innovation Centre (www.cerebra.org.uk) has grants you can use to pay towards the special wills needed for families with disabilities. They can also help towards Speech Therapy if you are not getting any in your area - and the magazine is good too!!  For more details contact cic@cerebra.org.uk  or 08003281159.

 St Elizabeth's College OPEN DAYS
St Elizabeth's College, Perry Green, Much Hadham, HERTS are running a series of Open Days - for more info and for an invitation to attend contact Terez Fitxherbert on 01279 844423 or email: fitzherbertt@stwelizabeths.org.uk:

 KIDS East HUB
Offering information and support for families of disabled children and young people.  At Divot Place, Hamels Drive, Hertford, HERTS, SG13 7SP, 01992 504013 email shelley.bell@kids.org.uk or kirsty.russell@kids.org,uk.

Flu  Vaccination.  
Carers are eligible to receive the Flu vaccination free of charge at their local GP surgery. 

 Cinema Card
The Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) card entitles the holder to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema - costs 5.50 and is valid for 1 year.  For more details click on: cea.card.

Secondary Transfer for children with ASD
The presentation on the link below is very informative - you can print off the tansition workbook and go through it with your child and give a copy to their teacher/teaching assistant/SENCo. www.autismtoolkit.com.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics run a number of sporting activities which a number of children attend. There are lots based around St Albans and Harpenden but some are in Watford (football) or Welwyn Garden City. If you are interested in finding out more then contact Christine Caffrey, The Special Olympics St Albans Coordinator and St Albans sport development officer, at London Colney Recreation Centre on 01727 827667 or email her at christine.caffrey@leisureconnection.co.uk.  

This is the link on Herts direct that lists all the sports that special Olympics run if you would like to find something more local to you:-

http://www.hertsdirect.org/comdirectory/comvol/disable2y/spdis3y/10601207


 Haircutting Guide for Children with Autism
I know this can be a real problem for some families - this site looks very useful  with a visual picture guide included - may be of some help:
www.autismspeaks.org/docs/HaircuttingTrainingGuide.

Transition control
 A new online guide gives advice on moving from school to adult life. Mencap has launched a new online guide to transition for parents and carers whose son or daughter is moving from school to adult life. The guide is full of top tips and advice, and covers everything from transition reviews at school to getting the right support, planning for future health needs and leaving home. Go to www.mencap.org.uk/transitionguide

IPSEA: comments on SEN funding in Mainstrem Schools in Hertfordshire.
For parents/carers who are having issues with Herts County Council re SEN Funding and how we can challenge them.

Letter from Roger Inman, Cheif Exec of IPSEA to Herts CC: www.ipea.org.uk/delegation-complaint-herts.

Mr Inman's Briefing Note for families: www.ipea.org.uk/PDFs/BriefingChallengingSEN


Free Loft and Cavity Wall Insulation for Families receiving DLA!
I have checked this out myself, and apparently due to recent government initiatives on home insulation, you are entitled to free cavity wall and loft insulation (subject to requirement) if a member of your household receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA).  However, the average thickness of your existing insulation needs to be less than 60cm to qualify.  Just contact your energy provider and mention a member of your household receives DLA.  The whole process can take a short time .  Its certainly worth investigating if your home is not well insulated.  The process is as follows:
  • Contact your energy provider and ask about having a survey for home insulation. If you receive DLA you should mention this at the same time.
  • They contact you to arrange a survey which takes a short time. (Best to ring them to arrange the appointment as it is quicker)
  • Date agreed to insulate your house (subject to your need-and again, call them to arrange the appointment as it is quicker)

Concessions for Library Card Holders
 If you are a parent/carer of a child/adult with SEN who finds it difficult getting their own items from the library  (you do it  for them) then you can apply for a "Carers Library Card".   They also have concessions for people (children & adults) with disabilites and learning difficulties, and  for people with dyslexia, basic skills needs, or need help to read English......All you have to do for any of these above cases is let them know and they will update their computer records!

HAND
You can register  your child on the Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database (HAND) online by clicking on HAND.  
This entitles you to a HANDS membership card which allows you &/or your child to qualify for concessions at certain leisure facilities (see HAND for list).  The team at HAND are working at trying to expand the venues this card is accepted at.