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Contact a Family is a national charity for families with disabled children

We provide information, advice and support. We bring families together so they can support each other. We campaign to improve their circumstances, and for their right to be included and equal in society.

Please click the link to open to the Contact A Family website

0808 808 3555

SENSE – Children's Specialist Services (CSS)

In order to be clear and open about the support we can provide to families we have developed a core offer of support which is available to all children and young people:

• We will get in touch within two working days from when you first contact Sense
• You will meet a Sense specialist within eight weeks of first getting in touch with us
• You will have your own identified worker
• You will have the opportunity to attend at least one family event per year
• We will keep in touch through an annual contact
• You will have access the information and advice service
• We will offer you the chance to join Sense through our membership programme
• An outcome of Sense supporting you may involve our working alongside your local authority to provide an individual service solution tailored to your needs.

This offer is provided through Sense’s work as a charity.

03003 309273

SENSE - Intervenor Service

One-to-One support to Deafblind children and adults, acting as an enabler for the individual to help in their social and personal development, as well as health and general wellbeing.

By providing one-to-one support to congenitally Deafblind children or adults, an Intervenor acts as an enabler, promoting the person's social and personal development, encouraging their independent skills and facilitating their communication with the world around them. Intervenor support may be provided in the person's home, in their local community, in an educational or vocational setting or a combination of these.

Intervenor schemes are usually funded by direct payments, individual budgets, social services, local health or education authorities. A person-centred approach to planning for leisure, learning, social, and vocational opportunities, enables Deafblind people to develop new skills and increase their independence. Individual programmes focus on daily life experiences and will include encouraging the use of residual vision and hearing, communication, development of cognitive skills, mobility, orientation and social skills.

Activities which might be included in an individual plan are: college courses, sport and leisure, art and craft activities, shopping, cooking, IT, use of public transport. Choices are made by the Deafblind person to suit their needs and interests.

02084 490964

Speech and Language Therapy

The Special Needs Team is part of the Speech and Language Therapy Service and is responsible for providing a service to preschool children with complex needs (Child Development Centre) and to children who have identified speech, language and communication needs and /or eating or swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) as part of their Education, Health and Care Plan who attend mainstream and special schools within Bedford Borough.

We provide a service for children between 0-19. The Service is provided in a number of ways depending on need. The Speech and Language Therapist will assess a child’s needs using formal and /or informal assessment methods; these will include observations and discussions with key adults in the child’s life. A report will be provided following initial assessment.

We will provide information and advice to enable key adults to:
• understand the language/ communication difficulty and / or swallowing difficulty
• gain skills to support the child at home and within the educational setting (preschools/schools).

We may provide individual sessions and / or group sessions to help develop specific skills and to review progress.

We aim to work collaboratively with parents and other professionals; and to agree a care plan which reflects identified targets to support development/management of the child’s speech, language and communication skills and/or eating and swallowing skills as appropriate.

Services offered to preschool children who attend the Child Development Centre include:
• initial assessment sessions ( contributing to a multidisciplinary assessment of a child’s needs)
• ‘communicate and play group’ sessions – children are offered this course of five weekly group sessions as appropriate following initial assessment.
• Down Syndrome group sessions – 6 sessions per year; a group for parents of children between 6-18months of age; to support early introduction of strategies to facilitate speech, language and communication development.
• Drop in group review sessions (Wednesday afternoons during term time) – these sessions are for children who have had an initial assessment and /or attended communicate and play groups. Families are given an allocated appointment between 13.00 and 14.30 or can attend without an appointment between14.30 and 15.30.
• Feeding clinic - joint clinic arranged by the Speech and Language Therapist and Paediatric Dietician to manage ongoing needs of children with swallowing difficulties. Approximately 2-3 clinics every 6-8 weeks.

Services provided to children who are attending a nursery/ preschool settings who have identified SEN; and children with identified needs as part of their Education, Health and Care Plan who attend mainstream and special schools:
• Assessment and review sessions are provided within the setting.
• Liaison with parents and education staff to agree and demonstrate strategies in order to provide a consistent approach to management of a child’s language and communication needs.
• Training and specialist support to parents and staff working with children and young people in preschool settings and schools; including parent workshops; termly program of workshops for adults supporting children within settings.

01234 310699

The Children's Trust

We are the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. Our national specialist centre is in Tadworth, Surrey, where we provide rehabilitation to children with acquired brain injury and specialist medical/transitional care to children with complex health needs. We also run The Children’s Trust School, a non-maintained residential special school in Tadworth for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and complex health needs. Our other services include expert community-based support for children with acquired brain injury and online support for families via our Brain Injury Hub website (www.braininjuryhub.co.uk)

01737 365080