Making sure you get the right support for you and your family can be incredibly important. The services available will vary according to where you live, and your local authority should give you details of people you can turn to for help and advice.
- In England this will be you local parent partnership service, who can provide advice, information and support during each stage of the assessment process. They can also provide you with an independent parent supporter, who might be a trained volunteer, a relative or friend or someone from a voluntary organisation.
- In Wales you can contact the Special Needs Advisory Project (SNAP).
- In Northern Ireland the Local Education and Library Board will carry out your assessment. You can also get support from SENAC, the special educational needs advice centre, by calling 028 9079 5779 Monday to Wednesday or 029 9070 5654 Wednesday to Friday.
I sought out independent advice which helped us understand what good support should look like.
Once the statementing process begins, you should also be given a named officer from your local authority who you can contact about any concerns you may have. You may also want to get independent advice and support – ACE Education and the Independent Panel for Special Education Advice (IPSEA) both offer help with educational matters.
It is also important that you as a parent get the emotional support you need at this time. You might want to ask a friend, relative, independent parental supporter or an advocate to help you through the statementing process, or you can contact your local advocacy organisation or voluntary group. You can find out about the services in your area from your local Children's Information Service, or your local authority. Some parents also find it helpful to get support from a counselling service at this time – your GP should be able to refer you. Keeping positive will help you, your child and your family through this demanding time.
If you live in Wales you can visit the Snap website or call them on 0845 120 3730
If you live in Northern Ireland you can contact SENAC by calling 028 9079 5779 Monday to Wednesday or 029 9070 5654 Wednesday to Friday.
Visit the Contact a Family website for support and advice
Visit the IPSEA website or contact their helpline on 0800 018 4016.
- Contact ACE Education for free advice on education or call the helpline on 0300 0115 142