SENsational Families, a Norfolk based Parent Support Charity, is launching an appeal to help families who are facing an exceptionally challenging time due to the removal of their face-to-face support networks or self-isolation. They are appealing to local companies for donations of art and craft items, puzzle books, stationary, sweet/chocolate treats, pots of bubbles or sensory friendly toys such as slime, putty, stress balls to send to children with special educational needs (SEND). They are also asking for donations towards these items via their website www.sensationalfamilies.org.uk
The families SENsational Families support are going through a very difficult time as many are having to cope with self-isolation with children that often manage best with routine in their life through nursery, school, college or places to visit and learn with home-schooling. These children have a range of special educational needs/disabilities (SEND) including sensory issues, speech and language disorders, complex physical and health needs and many will have challenging behaviour in response to the changes going on in the world currently. This will impact on parents/carers and siblings immensely and due to isolation, their support networks will be either gone or be available purely via technology.
In addition, parents are struggling financially due to the pressure of additional food and utility bills and many will have been affected by loss of earnings. Families with a child with disabilities already face on average an extra cost of £581 a month (SCOPE 2019) so cannot afford extra supplies for their children.
Since the COVID-19 crisis the charity immediately started to offer support in a different way. Including:
- Referral via their website for 1:1 PSA support via telephone or video call
- Online Forum Support Group now has even more admins helping to run the group, ensuring the increase in questions are answered as quickly as possible
- Facebook SEND events page changed to Home Events & Activities Guide full of links to activities while isolating
- Weekly Newsletter with updates for families including other agencies latest information and professional advice such as support with mental health, sensory therapy and De-escalation
- Collaborative Support pack produced in partnership with SPCN for families, available online and regularly updated
- PECS and visuals being made for families and will be available to download their website
- Online Easter Events and Easter Treasure Hunt for families
Nicki Price, CEO and founder of SENsational Families said:
We want to see some SENsational smiles back on the faces of Norfolk SEND children
SENsational Families has been supporting families since 2017 and has over 2000 local members. In the past year we have run weekly parent/carer coffee groups in 3 locations, weekly advice clinics in 2 locations, attended a variety of appointments and meetings with parents across Education, Health and Social Care. We have a very well used online Support Forum and SEND events page so parents/carers can access all local events for the week in one place.
To empower parents, we have facilitated greatly subsidised training sessions and provided easy access handouts on our website. Alongside this, we have arranged family events during the school holidays and worked in partnership with other providers such as the library service to run SEN friendly sessions. The volunteers have successfully set up SEN sessions with local leisure providers such as water inflatables, gymnastics, trampolining, laser tag and care farm sessions. More information on the services offered by SENsational Families can be found at www.sensationalfamilies.org.uk
For more information please contact Nicki Price CEO at [email protected]