In England, the special educational needs (SEN) reforms introduced in September 2014 continue to be rolled out.
Although all SEN statements should be converted into Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans by April 2018 recent government figures show that 45% of the statements are still in place with only 19 out of the 152 English local authorities currently on track to meet the deadline.
Clearly, many families are still waiting for statements to be converted to an EHC plan and they can get more information about the process from our guide on Education in England: Statements of Special Educational Needs: A Guide for Parents.
However, those families undergoing assessment for an EHC plan, and those who already have one, will find the information they need in the recently revised guide Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans. (Education in England: A Guide for Parents).
Meanwhile in Wales, the Welsh Government’s proposed SEN reforms, which it hopes will pass into law at the end of the year, continue with the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill being scrutinised by the Welsh Assembly.
At the same time a consultation is being carried out on how the reforms should be introduced. For now, however, nothing has changed and the current system remains in place meaning that parents can continue to request an assessment for a SEN statement. Information on the Welsh system can be found in Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents.
A new system for children with special educational needs (SEN) was introduced in England from September 2014. From that date statements of special educational needs (SEN) were replaced in England (but not Wales) with a new document called an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). This means that SEN statements are no longer issued and those children who have a SEN statement are gradually being transferred over to an EHCP. This process is not due to finish until April 2018 which means we are in a transition period where the old and new systems are running alongside each other.
Please note this guide is only relevant to those children who still have a SEN statement and live in England. If you believe that your child has SEN or is being assessed for an EHCP or already has an EHCP please see Cerebra’s Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans (Education in England: A Guide for Parents). If you live in Wales please see Cerebra’s Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents.
Download 'Statements of Special Educational Needs (Education in England: A Guide for Parents)' PDF
First published 2016. This edition 2016. Review date 2018.
This guide has been prepared for parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabled children living in Wales. It only applies to Wales and we have written separate guidance for England.
Download 'Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents' PDF
First published 2016. This edition 2016. Review date 2019.
Our new three part Cerebra Anxiety Guide: A Guide for Parents has been developed to give up to date information on how to spot the signs of anxiety and anxiety disorders in children with an intellectual disability and looks at what can be done to help.
This is the first in a series of articles taking extracts from the guide and will be looking at recognising the signs of anxiety. The full Anxiety Guide can be downloaded free of charge here.
Anxiety and fear are our body’s built-in response to danger – our alarm system. When we are anxious or fearful our hearts beat faster and blood is directed to our muscles so that we are ready to protect ourselves from the danger by either ‘fighting’ or ‘fleeing’. We experience ‘fear’ when we have to tackle an immediate threat (e.g. getting out of a burning house); however, anxiety is experienced when we anticipate that something threatening might happen in the future (i.e, moving to a new home).
Signs of anxiety
There are many different signs that someone may be feeling anxious. These can be changes in the person’s body; changes to thoughts/thinking patterns; changes to emotions; changes to behaviour:
Changes to the body:
- fast and irregular heartbeat
- muscle tension
- pale complexion
- stomach aches
Changes to thoughts/ thinking patterns:
- inability to concentrate
- repetitive thoughts about perceived threat
- concerns about losing control
- inability to relax
Changes to emotions:
- feeling worried
Changes to behaviour:
- avoiding situations
- fidgeting/ moving more than usual
Children and individuals with mild communication impairments often have difficulty describing their emotions despite having some speech, so may describe physical symptoms such as stomach aches or feeling sick. As many of the signs of anxiety overlap with signs of physical health difficulties, it is very important to always ensure that a health problem is not underpinning your child’s behaviour and emotions and if you are in any doubt, contact your GP or paediatrician.
Further information about assessing whether your child may be experiencing pain can be found in Cerebra’s Pain guide.
Dr Jane Waite, Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders will be talking about how to spot the signs of anxiety disorders as well as what can be done at our conference on Improving Mental Health and Well-being for Young People with Autism, ADHD and Learning Disabilities.
Some behaviours are a challenge to professionals, teachers, carers and parents. This factsheet gives information on how to manage challenging behaviour by considering five key points:
What is challenging behaviour?
Why does challenging behaviour happen?
Understanding challenging behaviour
Where do I find professional help?
What further information is available?
Download Challenging Behaviour Factsheet PDF
Published 2015. This edition 2016. Review date 2018
This Accessing Public Services Toolkit aims to support disabled people and carers, as well as their families and advisers, who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of health, social care and education support services. This toolkit aims to unpick these problems and to develop effective strategies for resolving them.
You can download the Toolkit below.
Download Problem-Solving Toolkit PDF
Published 2016. This edition 2017. Review date 2020.
This three part guide has been developed to give up to date information on how to spot the signs of anxiety and anxiety disorders and what can be done. Part one describes the common signs of anxiety and specific anxiety disorders. Part two describes the ways professionals assess anxiety in children with intellectual disability, and Part three gives guidance on helping your child reduce feelings of anxiety and gives some examples of specific disorders associated with anxiety.
Download 'Cerebra Anxiety Guide: A Guide for Parents' PDF
Highly Commended in Special Award-Children in the 2016 BMA Patient Information Awards,
First published 2015. This edition 2015. Review date 2018.
This guide has been prepared for parents of disabled children in England who want to know how to get help for their child’s social care needs. It principally deals with the responsibilities of the local authorities to provide social care for disabled children, as well as support for the parents/carers of those children.
Download Social Care in England: A Guide for Parents PDF
First published 2012. This edition 2015. Review date 2018.
A number of changes have been made to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) and social care frameworks in England and Wales since 1st September 2014 and significant parts of this guide are no longer up-to-date.
We’re currently reviewing our information and we’ll update this page as soon as we can.
In the meantime, for more information about the SEN system in England please refer to our Education in England Guide. For more information about the new SEN system in Wales please refer to our Education in Wales Guide.
Welcome to our section containing Cerebra’s guides for parents.
These Guides are provided free of charge but if you would like to make a donation to help cover the costs of research and updating, it would make a huge difference. You can donate online, or by text, sending CERE12 and then the amount to 70070 or telephone our Fundraising Department on 01267 224221.
Cerebra’s aim is to provide high quality health and social care information for the parents and carers of children aged 0-16 years with neurological conditions. Cerebra has been a certified member of the Information Standard since August 2013. The Information Standard is an independent scheme, supported by NHS England, to ensure only the highest quality health and social care information is produced. This means that our relevant products have been through the schemes rigorous quality control procedure. For more details on what it means to have achieved the Information Standard certification, visit:
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- Inform parents and carers about different conditions and the issues surrounding these so that they have a better understanding.
- Empower parents and carers to make their own decisions and resolve problems and issues.
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