Practical Services Directory

Here you will find links to online resources covering all of your needs. Click one of the links below to narrow your search.

 

I’m new to this!

Call us on the PACT for Autism Parent Support Line – 07837 606089. Open 10am – 2pm weekdays during term time. Periodically checked through the holidays.

Send us an email – Offices open 10am – 2pm weekdays during term time. Mailbox periodically checked through the holidays. info@pactforautism.org.uk.

Essex Educational Psychology Service Parent Helpline – Call 01245 433293 (Monday 1pm – 5pm). Concerns about education of children 19 and under.

SEND IASS (Information, Advice and Support Service) – SEND IASS are an information and support service for Essex. They have advisors you can speak to for advice and support on anything you might need. You can learn more about their services online here. You can also call these helplines:

West Essex (Harlow): 07880 092785

South Essex (Basildon): 07880 092782

North East Essex (Colchester): 07880 092 765

Central Essex (Chelmsford): 07880 092908

Families InFocus (Essex) – Specialist information, advice service and helpline for families of children with SEND. One to one support including DLA applications, support on educational issues, group activities and respite opportunities.

NAS – National Autistic Society – Information about autistic behaviour and communication, the diagnosis process, benefits and care entitlements, education and transition. Frequent campaigns.

 

Nationwide Support

Autismlinks – A list of websites for autism information and resources.

Different Together – A safe, supportive and understanding community for the partners of people affected by Asperger Syndrome (AS).

NAS (National Autistic Society) – Information about autistic behaviour and communication, the diagnosis process, benefits and care entitlements, education and transition. Frequent campaigns.

IPSEA – A national charity providing free legally-based advice to families who have children with special educational needs.

PAWS – (Parents Autism Workshops and Support) Bringing together parents to explore the potential of a pet dog in the family.

Caudwell Children – Family support services, equipment, treatment and therapies for additional needs children and their families across the UK.

The Son-Rise Program – This US based program visits the UK each year to run training courses.  Funding is available through the Caudwell Charity to attend. (Their Facebook Page is also very useful.)

Thera – a charity that empowers people with learning disabilities to be leaders in their own lives and communities through various projects.

Sensory Integration Network – helping children and adults with sensory integration difficulties through courses, training and research.

All Party Parliamentary Group for Autism – The APPGA is a group of MPs, Autism bodies and members of the public working to advance the interests of individuals with Autism and their families.

 

Local Services

Accuro – Social activities and clubs for children and adults with additional needs in West Essex along with support.

Grove Cottage – Mencap – based in Bishop’s Stortford with services available to all families. They provide a wide range of social and educational activities for children and adults of all ages with special educational needs.

SNAP – charity based in Brentwood for SEN support. Their information network has resources geared towards individual age groups.

Families InFocus (Essex) – Specialist information, advice service and helpline for families of children with SEND. One to one support including DLA applications, support on educational issues, group activities and respite opportunities.

SAFE – support group for individuals and families affected by Asperger Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) in Essex.

Inclusive Communications Essex (ICE) Resource Service – An Essex-wide training package that teaches the families and carers of adults with learning disabilities how to use a variety of different forms of communication.

Healthwatch Essex – aimed at young people (but not SEN-specific). Stocks information about physical, sexual and mental health, and a comprehensive list of health services and organisations in Essex.

 

Therapy

My World Therapy – Led by Anna Hamlet, Clinical Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist. Anna regularly attends our Parent Support and Information Meetings in Harlow. Based in Broxbourne. Call 07380 286811.

Beanstalk Children’s Therapy – Led by Lara Breaker-Rolfe, Clinical Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist. Provides Ayres Sensory Integration Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy for children – you can call her on 07825 300560. Based in Chelmsford.

The Counselling Foundation – BACP accredited counselling service and part of Herts & Beds Counselling Foundation. Arrange an appointment by calling 01992 637285.

Counselling Directory – Directory of other local professional counsellors or psychotherapists.

PAWS – Animal Assisted Therapy based in Harlow, Essex. Sarah King is a Animal Assisted Therapist and Therapeutic Play practitioner, and her therapy animal is a Newfoundland dog named Frank.

 

Medical

The Princess Alexandra Hospital Learning Disabilty Team – Based in Harlow. Stephanie & Andy are there to help you and will answer any questions you have about hospital and your health. Call 01279 444 455 and ask for the Learning Disability Team.

Healthwatch Essex is a website about health and well-being for young people. They have a comprehensive list of health services and organisations in Essex that can help people.

Contact ‘Concerned about your child’ leaflet – Outlines the framework of support available to you in your local community for different areas of health and social support.

 

Employment

ECL Work Based Training – ECL provide time-limited work experience to adults with learning disabilities in Essex and West Sussex.

Into Apprenticeships – Disability Rights UK guide for SEN young people applying for apprenticeships

Too Much Information in the workplace – get involved in the National Autistic society’s workplace campaign

The Leadership Academy Programme – A career development programme for people in employment with SEN, by Disability Rights UK. Aimed at mid-career leaders in all sectors.

Working it out – Good article from SEN Magazine outlining the issues facing people with learning difficulties getting into work.

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) Program in Hertfordshire:

MILE in Herts – The Money Information for better Living & Employment (MILE) in Herts project aims to support adults with general debt issues, people requiring support to transfer to Universal Credit and people who have problems with travel to take advantage of employment opportunities. Call 01992 556183 or email bbo@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Herts Youth Futures – will support young people furthest from the workplace to improve employability and enter training or work. Eligible 15-19 or under 25 with disabilities. 1-to-1 support to work out training or job goals. Call 01992 556193 or email bbo@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

STRIVE – The Support and Transition Routes into Volunteering and Employment (STRIVE) in Herts project provides tailored support to adults aged 19+ who have previously tried to find employment and the support they had was not successful. Call 01992 556183 or email bbo@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

 

Education

Network 81 – A national network of parents working towards properly resourced inclusive education for all children with special needs.

Options Group – Provides services, including residential education placements for children and adults with Autism. Geoff Evans is Head of Quality Improvement at the Options Group and is an inspirational speaker regularly booked for PACT events.

Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities – useful information about the transition from primary to secondary school, including guides for pupils, parents / carers and schools.

Grove Cottage – Mencap – based in Bishop’s Stortford with services available to all families. They provide a wide range of social and educational activities for children and adults of all ages with special educational needs.

ASD Bright Ideas – A family-run business producing Autism Resources and visual aids to help children with autism / SEN with their visual auditory processing skills. Widely used in schools.

Harlow College Supported Studies – One-year programme designed to support young people with mild to moderate learning difficulties, to realise their potential within the PfA pathways and to move forward into the world of work.

 

Sport and Fitness

Enable Sport Programme – A programme that provides specialist equipment for talented disabled athletes, run by Caudwell Children.

All Ability Sport and Leisure are closely linked with PACT for Autism and are based in Harlow. This group provides sporting opportunities for adults and children with additional needs and disabilities.

Pole Train Fitness – You can book specialist Aerial Fitness classes, and their staff have experience in working with autistic children. In the holidays there are frequently parent/children group classes too.

Fit and Better – A variety of fitness classes for adults and children with SEND. Based in East Herts.

 

Financial

The Family Fund – annual grants for families raising children up to 17 years of age with a disability if you are also eligible for state support.

Merlin’s Magic Wand – A charity that offers annual free tickets to families affected by disabilities to visit popular UK attractions. Anybody is eligible but they are currently only able to offer tickets to families that have not applied through the charity before.

Kids in Need –  A charity that grants wishes to children with multiple disabilities, or who are seriously ill.

Personal Independence Payment – Government overview of PIP, replacing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in October 2017. Ages 16-64 eligible. This will not transfer automatically.

Citizen’s Advice Bureau Information on PIP – Including lots of other useful links.

 

Legal

IPSEA – A national charity providing free legally-based advice to families who have children with special educational needs.

SENTAS – Special Educational Needs Transport and Advisory Service is a charity run based in Derby, though works nationally. Information and advocacy services around SEN home-to-school and college transport.

Talem Law – Local law firm based in Chigwell, run by a lawyer who is also the mother of an autistic child. Specialises in SEND and Employment law.

Bar Pro Bono Unit – National Charity matching eligible with advice, drafting or representation services from barristers for free. Eligibility applies.

Disability Law Service – National Charity aiming to provide free legal advice and representation to people with additional needs and their carers.

 

Travel and Holidays

Essex Short Breaks – Respite, family days out, activities and beach huts to hire across Essex. An excellent school holiday resource.

Merlin’s Magic Wand – A charity that offers annual free tickets to families affected by disabilities to visit popular UK attractions. Anybody is eligible but they are currently only able to offer tickets to families that have not applied through the charity before.

Kids in Need –  A charity that grants wishes to children with multiple disabilities, or who are seriously ill.

Centre Algarve – Holiday Centre for people with SEND in Portugal. “Europe’s only holiday centre dedicated to people with special needs.”

Kerry Farm – Unique holiday destination in the Welsh countryside tailored to SEND. Contact Rachel@papworthtrust.org.uk for more information or call 01480 357 224.

Airport Guides for the disabled can be very handy when travelling, so please feel free to look at the guides for Heathrow AirportLuton AirportGatwick Airport and London City Airport. If you require information for a separate airport, please contact us at PACT and we will be happy to help.

This blog post about travelling through airports if you have autism may be of interest.

Lambourne End – Lambourne End is an Outdoor Learning Centre that run fantastic year-round activities with a focus on inclusion. SEND friendly. They release regular newsletters with information about upcoming activity days.

SENTAS – Special Educational Needs Transport and Advocacy Service. Provides free information and advocacy services for SEN home-to-school and college transport.

JustPark – JustPark is an app that helps drivers to find available parking rapidly and simply. Extremely useful helping to plan daytrips as you can book parking spaces in advance. Downloadable to phones.

 

Websites and blogs

Autismlinks – A list of websites for autism information and resources.

The Son-Rise Program – a regularly updated Facebook page with useful links and information.

The SEND Parent’s Handbook – the Facebook page of Yvonne Newbold, writer, speaker and trainer and mother. Excellent source of information.

Autism Discussion Page – a tool box of strategies on a Facebook page for helping children to feel safe, accepted and competent.

The Girl with the Curly Hair Project – Website set up by a young woman with Asperger Syndrome, aiming to promote understanding between neurotypical and autistic women and girls.

The Girl with the Curly Hair – Facebook page of The Girl with the Curly Hair project.

Kevin Healey – Website of Kevin Healey, award-winning autistic campaigner against bullying. Keep up to date with the campaign by visiting Kevin’s Facebook page, or follow the live tweets here.

Autcraft – Minecraft is a popular online game that involves building and teamwork. Stuart Duncan founded Autcraft, a server specifically for children with autism.

Dean Beadle – Journalist, autistic campaigner and performer. Dean regularly performs across the country and is headlining the PACT for Autism Charity Ball 2017.

Paul Isaacs – Autism training consultant, speaker, trainer and Author. Excellent website and resources.

To Siri, With Love – Article in the New York Times. How Siri helped people with autism to communicate more effectively. You can read more on the Plusnet blog.

 

Other SEND

The Fragile X Society – Information and practical guidance to individuals and families living with fragile X, and the professionals who support them.

The Metabolic Foundation – Information and awareness of fatty oxidation disorders.

ADHD+ Support – Information, support and services for those with ADHD and its many related conditions. Based in Chelmsford.

Cerebral Palsy Symptoms – A website dedicated to raising awareness globally for cerebral palsy and other birth injuries.

 

Stock images throughout the website have been supplied by Images Live