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Autism Bedfordshire is a charity that provides services to individuals with autism, their families, carers and professionals across Bedfordshire. Our key purpose is to provide emotional and practical support as well as information, advice, guidance and advocacy.
The outcomes our services deliver (as evidenced by our monitoring and evaluation) are:
1. Individuals with autism and their families will feel less isolated.
2. Individuals with autism will develop confidence, self-esteem, communication, social and life skills.
3. Parents will feel less stressed and better able to cope.
4. Parents will improve their knowledge about autism and the services available.
Autism is a lifelong disability so our membership reflects this as we support both children and adults. We run countywide services for our members including:
- family support groups (L.O.A.F. - Loads of Autistic Fun)
- youth groups (Wanted Fun)
- summer activity schemes
- extended services (e.g. trampolining, golf and swim sessions)
- skills training courses for adults with autism
- social groups for adults with autism
- parent training
- autism awareness training for professions (levels 1, 2 and 3)
- a helpline service (01234 350704) with trained and experienced team members on hand to answer calls (anything from services enquiries to crisis calls).
Autism Bedfordshire’s members can access books and other resources from our library and will receive our bi-monthly newsletter giving details about our services and other groups and activities that may be of interest. We also communicate information to members and our staff through e-newsletters. We have a website that anyone can access and we are on Facebook and Twitter.
To provide a summer holiday playscheme for children with a learning disability age between 4-18yrs.
The child needs to have a statement of Special Educational Needs.
The scheme promotes holiday fun in a relaxed atmosphere, with up to 60 children in attendance every day. Activities range from swimming, sports, art, yoga, animal visits, magic shows, flower arranging, tennis, art, cooking and gymnastics.
We are open for 15 days, lots of qualified and experienced staff, with the addition of volunteers (young people) to support the children.
We can offer support for a range of needs. For children who may find a busy environment difficult, we would need to plan carefully and ensure our service can offer the right support.
The aim of Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service (BYOS) is to reduce offending and re-offending of young people. The Youth Offending Service is made up of representatives from the police, probation service, social services, health, education, drugs and alcohol misuse. Because the service incorporates representatives from a wide range of services, it can respond to the needs of young offenders in a comprehensive way. The Youth Offending Service identifies the needs of each young offender by assessing them with a national assessment (ASSET). This helps to identity specific problems that make the young person offend as well as measuring the risk they pose to others. This enables the YOS to identify suitable programmes to address the needs of the young person with the intention of preventing further offending.
FACES aim to support families during difficult periods in their lives, especially where this will contribute to keeping children with their families. Our objectives include working in partnership with parents to promote the well-being of each family as a whole and enabling families to manage their affairs with increased confidence and independence
Our service is not time limited however we would aim to work with the family towards an end goal.
Early Help and Troubled Families Support
Domestic Abuse Support
Baby FACES - support from pregnancy through to the transition into parenthood
Face2FACES CBT course
Family Group - a weekly group for parents and their children
Relationship workshops for new parents
Monthly group for Fathers and their children
Protective Behaviours Workshops
Foxgloves is a specialist children’s home that is registered by Ofsted. We offer overnight short breaks to children and young people aged between 8 and 18 with autism, learning difficulties and/or challenging behaviour. The eligibility criteria can be seen on our web page.
The service enables families and carers to have a break, gives children the opportunity to make new friends, have fun and participate in leisure activities. It also enables children to promote their independence and social skills by being away from home and socialising with other adults and other young people.
At Foxgloves we support the young people using autism specific supports and communication systems and all of our staff are trained in these supports.
All of the young people will be allocated a Key worker to plan and support them during their stays with us and work closely with parents/carers.
We offer a range of activities and experiences for the young people and these are planned depending on the young people that are staying with us. Some regular activities include swimming, cinema, bowling, visiting cafes, shopping, parks. We also offer day trips to zoos, seaside etc and welcome any suggestions for these form the young people of their parents/carers.
Foxgloves is large house and we can provide a lot of activities on site. We have 2 lounges, a dining room that doubles up as a craft room, a sensory room, 2 computer rooms, a main kitchen and a smaller one where young people can be supported to develop their skills to prepare meals and to cook.
We have a lovely large garden with lots of play equipment, trampoline, climbing frame, swings, slides as well as bicycles, tricycles and go-karts. There is also a large patio area to sit outside for meals or to relax.
Foxgloves also has a self contained annexe where we can work with young people to help them develop their independence skills ready for moving into adult life.
Our sister unit, Sunflower House provides the same service for children with physical, sensory and learning difficulties.
Music Therapy is a psychological intervention which provides a unique opportunity for a child, young person or adult to express themselves through sound and/or voice at their own pace. Music Therapists are skilled at listening and responding, and have experience working with a very wide range of disabilities including SEBD, complex medical needs, MSI, MLD, SLD and PMLD. Music Therapy is client led, and is non-confrontational; using music (easily accessible instruments and voice) to enable an improvised dialogue to be established between the therapist and the client.
Please note: Music Therapists are not teachers. We do not offer instrumental lessons for children and young people with SEND.
Music Therapy Bedfordshire is a team of music therapists that can provide:
Individual (one to one) music therapy sessions
Small group music therapy sessions
Liaison with other professionals
Advice and support to parent/carers with regard to music therapy
There are no limitations on the length of time each person can access music therapy. The therapist will advise, following an initial assessment.
Questionnaires are used to evaluate outcomes
Typical outcomes may include:
• Raised self-esteem and confidence
• Reduced anxiety
• Increased resilience and emotional wellbeing
• Reduced physical tension
• Increased motivation to communicate
• Improved social skills
We support children and their families affected by imprisonment. We manage the Visitors centre at HMP Bedford and operate a play area for children to use while they visit. We offer family support to prisoners and special children's visits. We deliver a parenting course to prisoners and other child related courses.
In the community we support children who have a parent or significant family member in prison. Referrals are made from schools, social workers or families. We meet the parent and then see the child on a one to one basis in their school. Initially for an hour per week. Usually we arrange 6 sessions but these can be extended (and usually are) if the outcomes are not met or new outcomes have developed. We continually evaluate the work with the parent and child.
After the intervention, we can offer a volunteer mentor service for children living locally where they can be taken out on social outings to improve emotional wellbeing.
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.