21st Jan, 2019

Special needs children get website boost, Solihull council says

Felix Nobes 5th Feb, 2018 Updated: 6th Feb, 2018

YOUNGSTERS in Solihull with special educational needs can now benefit from improved information about services, council says.

Solihull council and NHS Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have re-launched their ‘Local Offer’ website.

The council claims it has used “feedback from young people and their parents”.

The council says the website provides information about services and support available locally for children and young people aged 0-25 with SEND, from social care, community health, education and voluntary organisations.

It explains the support young people are entitled to, and showcases the wide range of services on offer that can assist young people in preparing for adulthood, social activities and employment.

Having spoken with parents of children with SEN for our feature last month, we were told on many occasions that there is not enough information or assistance available for parents concerning their children’s conditions.

Many remain unconvinced that new information will get to the root of the issues with SEN services in the borough.

Some parents have to end their careers to understand what their children are entitled to under law and learn how to manage the problems that are caused by their children’s disabilities.

More than 1000 parents in total are members of two additional needs support groups in Solihull.

Debby Allen, mother to a son with autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder and Irlen Syndrome, spoke to us on the subject of information and support services.

She said: “I’ve got a support group of parents and I set up that support group to help parents find help and information. When I started there was nothing to help me. There was no support.

“The schools don’t want to help you- understanding all these conditions – its just a minefield out there. And we all support each other and help each other now.

“There’s also a parent carer forum that you can speak to. But it’s if you know it’s there and I don’t think a lot of parents know it is there.”

Councillor Ken Meeson, cabinet member for children, education and skills, said: “We are committed to ensuring all children and young people with SEND and their families get access to all the services and support they need.

“This new website is a brilliant resource as it is a one-stop-shop of useful information and guidance, enabling people to make informed choices about their education, health or social care.

“We’ve worked closely with young people and parents of children with SEND to develop the website and make sure it meets their needs.”

Solihull council says it is committed to regularly reviewing the website, adding and updating information.

David Coles, lead for maternity, children and young people’s commissioning team at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCGs said: “The website relaunch gives Solihull residents greater access to updated resources, to help them understand and access the services they may require.”

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