Issue 4 of our Member's Newsletter is out - read it here!

You spoke, we listened

You told us there is a need for information about how to help support your neurodiverse children.

Essex Family Forum is proud to have worked with parents from Send the Right Message Southend, MYOTAS and professionals from across Health, Education, and Social Care to produce a pack of useful information for families with a neurodiverse child.

This pack includes information about the diagnosis process, how to get support for your child at school, health and wellbeing and much more. The team have shared their own experiences and hints and tips, along with those of parents, carers and young people from across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. There are also signposts to useful books, blogs and online resources which are all tried and tested resources that the team have used and found helpful.

To access the pack, please click on the image.

If you require a hard copy, please click on the button.

Does your child have SEND? Do they require more care and support than expected of a child or young person of their age?

If the answer is yes, even if you are a parent to that person, it is extremely likely that you are a Carer, whether you were aware of it or not.

Do you realise you can register with your GP as a Carer if you are providing this support on a regular basis? If your GP surgery is aware that you are a Carer they can monitor how caring may be affecting your health or emotional well-being and signpost you to additional support. You may also be eligible for free vaccines and health checks or support with appointments.

Action for Family Carer’s has designed a universal form you can complete and give to your GP in order to register as a carer. CLICK HERE  to access the form.

SEND Transport Resources

To access Essex County Council’s SEND transport policy and application process visit the link below.

School transport: Apply for school transport – Essex County Council

A video has been produced which tells parents and carers about SEND transport.

It covers:

  • How to apply
  • Travel options
  • Travel allowance
  • Travel training
  • Shared vehicle transport- This is by licensed transport providers.   It will be a taxi or a minibus.
  • Passenger assistances  Passenger Assistants
  • Settling in and route planning
  • Pick up and drop off guidance.
  • Journey times
  • Changes that may occur
  • Behavioural support
  • Parental concerns

The video will also help children and young people understand more about their transport.

Click HERE to view the video.


Resources for transport staff

Below are a number of fact sheets to help support transport staff’s understanding of different needs. There are also editable cards and a one page profile to give them specific information about your child/young person.


Autism- key facts

Supporting communication- key facts

Sensory processing difficulties- key facts

About me cards- editable

One page profile template


Communication Stories

A communication story is a simple story. It tells a specific situation in words, pictures or both together. It helps children and young people learn about the situation. Often, a communication story will need to be told more than once to help the children and young people understand better.

Here are some communication stories that can be changed and people’s names added. These will help your child or young person. They are about shared transport which is a school taxi or mini-bus.

The stories are at 3 different levels:

  1. Informal – for children and young people who have little to no understanding of language.
  2. Semi Formal – for children and young people who have some understanding of language.
  3. Formal – for children and young people who have some a solid understanding of language.

The stories help tell about changes that happen. This can be a new driver or a change in route. They also tell about traffic and noises in the vehicle. Click on the link below to access the stories.

School Transport Webinar

Essex family Forum held a webinar with SENTAS on SEND home to school transport. The following document highlights some questions and answers arising from that session

The Essex Family Forum Equipment Survey, designed by our Family Champions, demonstrated a need for better information on the equipment service for families.

As a result, Essex Family Forum co-produced the new Equipment Guidance Document – which can be found by clicking on this link.

It is an in-depth guidance document on equipment including the process for assessments, types of equipment, how children and young people receive equipment as well as contact details for key organisations.

Tell me more

Employment Opportunities in Essex

There are a number of ways that young people with SEND in Essex can be supported into employment.    Please click on the images below to find out about the different pathways.  There is also a regular “Opportunities Board” published by Essex County Council – which outlines the current vacancies in the various supported employment options. Click here to view.

If you would like to find out more, please do contact Essex County Council’s Targeted Employment Team:

Information on the SET (Southend, Essex & Thurrock) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Is your child/young person struggling to attend their education setting because of Mental Health difficulties?

Click HERE to access the guidance from the Department for Education on how to support school attendance where there is a pupil experiencing social, emotional or mental health issues.

The examples of effective practice document shows how some schools have supported children to build up their confidence and help them to attend regularly.

This guidance is for:

  • school staff
  • academy trustees
  • governing bodies
  • parents and carers
  • local authorities

Guide to preventing inappropriate admissions to Mental Health Hospitals

This guide has been produced by parents from Parent Carer Forums across the Eastern Region of England.

The guide is written for parent carers of children or young people with SEND who have a mental health condition, but it is specifically written for parent carers of those who also have a learning disability, autism or both.

The information aims to prevent inappropriate admissions which occur because of a lack of understanding of the importance of having local services to meet the needs of the children and young people in local areas, whilst acknowledging that there will always be cases where admission to a mental health inpatient facility is the optimal course of treatment for a mental health need.

The guide sets out background information on what is happening in the NHS at the moment, the NHS Long-Term Plan and what this might mean for your family and, more importantly, the services available within Essex to support your child or young person today.

Contact for Disabled Children, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), along with NHS England, conducted a webinar for Parent Carer Forums on the new guidance for Dynamic Support Registers and Care, Education, and Treatment Reviews. This session explored what the updated policy means for autistic and learning-disabled children, most at risk of hospital admission.

Recording of the presentation click HERE

PowerPoint click HERE


Annual Health Checks

All young people, over the age of 14, with a Learning Disability and on the Learning Disability Register, should be offered an Annual Health Check by their GP.

Please click on the images for some useful resources about the Annual Health Checks.

To find out more about the Learning Disability Register, please click on this link The learning disability register – how to sign up and why you should – United Response

SEND Funding Arrangements in Essex

During the last year, Essex have undertaken a review of the arrangements for allocating “top-up” funding for children and young people with special educational needs.  Our (Essex Family Forum) Parent/Carer representatives have been part of a working group, alongside representatives from early years settings, mainstream and special schools, colleges, SEND leaders from the Local Authority and Health, developing a new approach.

Settings have been asked to use the new framework to allocate a new band for each child/young person with an Education Health and Care Plan and/or in receipt of top-up funding during the Autumn Term 2022.  You can find out more details about this in our Guide for Parents, by clicking on the image.

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