There are many organisations that offer information, support and advice. Some of them will be local and offer services to people in a specific area, others will be national and offer support to all. Some organisations offer support about specific conditions or subjects whereas others may offer general advice and support across a wide range of subjects that affect all families, children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities.
Where to find information
Details of these organisations can be found by searching the "Find Services" Directory on this website (see grey bar towards top of page) but we have prepared a search to get you started - Search for Organisations (opens a prepared search of organisations in the directory).
Here is a guide to some of the types of organisations you will come across.
Parent/Carer forum or Parent/Carer Representative Groups
Parent Carer Forums are representative local groups of parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities who work alongside local authorities, education, health and other service providers to ensure the services they plan, commission, deliver and monitor meet the needs of children and families.
SEND Family Voices (SFV) is the statutory group providing this service for Kingston and Richmond. SFV receive funding from the Department of Education to enable them to carry out their purpose and this also enables them to remain independent.
These may offer support or advice about a particular condition such as ADHD, Downs Syndrome or visual impairment. They may offer advice or support around a certain subject such as housing, travel, money or a range of issues and not be specific to any conditions but available to all.
Independent Supporters can work with you and your child to ensure that your voices are heard. They offer a free, friendly, flexible service for families and young people.
They offer support when:
- You have applied for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for your child
- Your child has a Statement that is transferring to an EHCP
They aim to do this by:
- Supporting you to understand the legal framework underpinning the changes in SEN
- Helping you think through and identify what the changes mean for you
- Attending/supporting you at meetings with the Local Authority/school
If you require specific support with an EHC plan, you can find an Independent Supporter through the local organisations who provide this service. They are:
Independent Support Partnership (opens a link to a page on this website)
KIDS Richmond and Kingston SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) (opens a link to a page on this website)
Information, Advice and Support Services
These should be impartial, confidential and accessible and should have the capacity to handle face-to-face, telephone and electronic enquiries.
In addition to their Independent Support role, the Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) offers advice and support across a wide range of subjects. This may include help with personal budgets and how to use the Local Offer plus:
- support with understanding reports and letters, attending meetings and preparing for assessments and reviews
- information and signposting to support services in your area
- support with Transition and Preparing for Adulthood
- support with and signposting to mediation
- advice and support on benefits
Information, Advice and Support Services offer advice to children and young people as well as parents and carers. Watch this video and visit The Information, Advice and Support Services Network website to find out more about how they support children and young people.