Office Number: 01279 430300
  Parent Help Support Line: 07837 606089

Practical Services Directory

Welcome to PACT for Autism’s Directory, this should provide you with links to National/Local services and Activities. They are listed below under different coloured headings to help you find what you are looking for.
We have Support and Information Officers at PACT, they will be happy to chat with you on our Helpline or by email to help signpost you in the right direction or just to listen.
If you would like to speak with someone face to face or get together with other Parents/Carers/Individual’s you can find the dates of our regular drop in Information and Support sessions here.
For Adult/Over 18 specific information/services please click here for our Adults Directory page as you may find services and processes are different.

Where do I begin?

If you have concerns about your child’s/young Persons development.

Begin by collecting together your own observations and concerns together with reports from nursery/school or any other people involved. Then speak with your G.P, Health visitor, Speech Therapist or other Health professional and ask them to refer your child or young person to the local Child Development Team. You can also call us at PACT on our helpline.
West Essex
If your child is in education you do not need a diagnosis to get support for them, your school or nursery should be working with you to record their strengths and needs and to provide support. Please scroll down to the Education section for further information.

Our top 7 websites to find a wide range of support, services and activities.

    •   Local offer :What is a local offer? This is the local government run directory of Information about all services and local opportunities and activities for Children and young people up to 25 years with SEND (Special Educational Needs/Difficulties).To find your Local Offer type your county name and Local Offer into your search engine.
      • National Autistic Society
        All the most up to date information from diagnosis through to all sorts of services and useful information from Child to Adult.
      • ShortbreaksThe Short breaks programme is open to all children and young people who are aged between 0-25 (Please note some services post 19 will require a personal budget) and have a diagnosis of Special Educational Needs and/or a Disability. Providing support and a wide range of activities.
      • Contact
        A national organisation with a wealth of information supporting families of Children and
        young people with SEND, from benefits through to education and clothing.
      • Essex Child and Family wellbeing :
        Virgin care manages the Children’s Health and developmental health needs along with the family hubs/Children’s centres in Essex, the site has a wealth of information on therapy, services and ways to help your child/young person.
      • SNAP (Special needs and Parents)
        An excellent easy to use resource to find activities, Parent and Professional courses/talks, and the services SNAP offers as well as an extensive local directory for Essex, aimed at families of children with SEND 0-25.
      • SPACE
        SPACE is a Hertfordshire based Charity supporting Parents/Carers of Children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum or a related condition

Education

      • SENDIASS -Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice Support Service.
        This is a confidential and impartial information and advice service with matters related to special educational needs, you do not need a diagnosis to access this service. To find your local SENDIASS service follow this link SENDIASS SERVICES
      • IPSEA
        Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) IPSEA offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). There is detailed information about EHCP’s on their website. They also provide training on the SEND legal framework to parents and carers, professionals and other organisations.
      • Families in Focus
        • Independent Parental Support on educational issues including assessments, education
        • health care plans and exclusions. Also provide support around applying for benefits
      • SOS SEN
        Offer a free independent helpline for Parents and others seeking advice with SEND

Health and Wellbeing

      • Essex Child and Family wellbeing
        Virgin Care manages the Children’s health and developmental health needs along with the family hubs/children’s centres in Essex, the site has a wealth of information on therapy, services and ways to help your child/young person.
      • West Essex NHS Diagnostic service
        If you are in West Essex this is the team that you will be referred to for assessment and therapy support for your child, the link is also a useful resource of information for anyone to use.
      • Princess Alexandra Hospital 01279 444455 You can contact the hospital in advance of your child attending appointments and ask for support/ seek advice on how the appointment can be best managed by asking to speak with the Children’s Matron or the Adults Autism and Learning difficulties team.
      • Hertfordshire PALMS – Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning disability and Mental health Service
      • EWMHS – Essex Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health service for Children and Young people.
        If you have concerns about mental health of a young person then you can self-refer to this service
      • CAHMS – Hertfordshire – Child and Adolescent Mental Health service.

Family Support / Care

      • Contact
        A national organisation with a wealth of information supporting families of Children and young people with SEND, from benefits through to education and clothing
      • Essex Safeguarding
        A wealth of information around all areas of concern you may have for your child or young person, offering online information and face to face training.
        You can also find here the number to report any concerns you may have for a child or Young person.
      • Family support in Essex/ Essex Effective Support is given at varying levels, this depends upon your needs
        You can call this number 0345 603 7627 and ask to speak directly to an adviser from the Children and Families Hub who can listen to your concerns/ request for support, they will then refer you to the appropriate service.
        Be that a team Around the Family meeting, Family Solutions or The Children with Disabilities team from Social services.
        If you would like to read more about this you can do so here Read More
      • Family Support in Hertfordshire
      • Young Carers Essex
      • Young Carers Hertfordshire
        Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who have a sibling with additional needs or a Parent that they support.
        Young adult carers are aged between 16 and 24, can also access support from this service. The service provides assessment of needs, fun activities and individualised support.
      • Thinking ahead –
        A guide to support families in talking about, and planning for, the future. You can download and save this version on your computer, write your ideas in the tables and templates and save for future reference and updating.

Financial – Benefits, Funds and Passes

      • Families in Focus Independent Parental Support on educational issues including assessments, education health care plans and exclusions. Also provide support around applying for and appealing benefits.
      • Benefits Online Checker
        Provider of online benefit calculators. Helps determine what you can claim from national and local government via self-serve calculators.
        You need to consider if you can apply for Disability living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Carers allowance and Child tax credits. If youd like more information on this contact families in focus above.
      • Cinema Exhibitors Card The Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.
      • Family Fund
        Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people
      • Government information on benefits and rights
      • Bus Pass scheme

Resources

      • Local offer :What is a local offer? This is the local government run directory of Information about all services and local opportunities and activities for Children and young people up to 25 years with SEND (Special Educational Needs/Difficulties).To find your Local Offer type your county name and Local Offer into your search engine.
      • ShortbreaksThe Short breaks programme is open to all children and young people who are aged between 0-25 (Please note some services post 19 will require a personal budget) and have a diagnosis of Special Educational Needs and/or a Disability. Providing support and a wide range of activities.
      • Accuro
        A local charity providing a range of specialist services for children, young people and adults with a disability across West Essex, their services enable members to take part in a wide range of social and leisure opportunities.
      • Chewigem
        A company that makes and sells a wide range of items for sensory seeking chewers, also offer advice and support.
      • Epping Forest Inclusion Project
        A wide range of well supported Activities that anyone can access regardless of area. To see what’s on offer please Contact the team on the link above to discuss your child’s/young persons needs. Then to book follow this link and look for activities marked Disability Inclusion Project To Book
      • Essex Outdoors
        With sites across Essex including Harlow, with skilled and inclusive teams who offer a wide range of activities for over 8’s , contact the centre on this number to discuss activities and support needed for your child to attend their activities. 01279 620270
      • Fledglings
        An online shop for a wide range of reasonably priced specialist products from clothing to toothbrushes, toys to g.p.s trackers.
      • Grove Cottage
        Provides social and educational activities for people of all ages with learning disability: to develop their potential, avoid social isolation by supporting lifelong friendships and; to provide respite for their families.
      • Inclusive Communication Essex
        An Essex wide service that offers training and resources to hire that enable communication.
      • SNAP (Special needs and Parents)
        An excellent easy to use resource to find activities, Parent and Professional courses/talks, and the services SNAP offers as well as an extensive local directory for Essex, aimed at families of children with SEND 0-25

Other Useful Links

    • Council for Disabled Children
      A wealth of information on rights, sample letters to use and examples of good Practice. Council For Disabled Children offer an online library of resources that you can access to find out more about disability policy and practice which includes a selection of materials specifically written with parents in mind.
    • Disability Rights Uk
    • Wills and Trusts – Mencap
      A complex area to understand, this link gives comprehensive advice both online and via telephone.