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With my good intentions still intact here is a brief update on events over the last three weeks as well as plans taking shape for the New Year.

I am a little cross with myself for forgetting to take at least one photo at our joint Preparing for Adulthood event with EalingMencap on the 6th December. I am sure photos would have brightened up this dry text but I simply forgot during the day. Room for improvement. 

However, I believe it was a very productive and positive event for all who participated. Julie Pointer and Joshua Dennis were our two main speakers. Julie spoke on the various aspects of the transition into adult life parents need to think about and how they can be approached. There was a lot of time for questions and I have sent the presentation to all parents who attended. If anyone else would like a copy, please let me know. 

Joshua spoke engagingly about his own journey from childhood into adulthood, the barriers he had to overcome and what he felt were the most important aspects for parents to consider. I am sure I was not the only parent who found his explanations of his experience and priorities incredibly helpful.

After lunch some groups continued to focus on informing and supporting parents through the PfA stages whilst a lively group of parents and one young person fed back their views on barriers they and their children face in Ealing to Tom Lindsay and Deborah Dent from the LA for their SEND Provision Review.

There is always a degree of frustration amongst parents who come to voice their opinions as change, if it happens at all, can be incredibly slow. However, I do believe that communication is the only way to achieve it and I think both Tom and Deborah left with a clearer view on what parents and young people struggle with in their transition into adult life in Ealing.
A few days later Matthew, Sam (another parent member of our Steering Group) and myself attended a training course on EHCPs run by Ipsea in town. Sam has been involved in the Ealing SEND Reforms review group since the beginning of the process three years ago. And whilst we (the EPCF) are not an advice service for parents on the EHCP process it is vital that we stay in touch with any updates and case law around it. I am particularly keen to bring some of the feedback to the group of parents of children with ASD meeting in January.

Which leads me onto planning ahead:

Our first Information session in January will be on the 12th January on the topic of Toilet Training children with SEND, again with Mark Brown from SH 4 SK as the speaker. Mark is a phenomenally competent speaker and always manages to give good practical advice to any question parents throw at him.

I have also booked a room in the Lido Centre for a meeting on the 19th January at 10am for parents of children with “high functioning” Autism or other types of special needs who are struggling in mainstream schools without the extra support provided by an EHCP or statement. I will bring as much information as I have from Ipsea but the meeting is also meant to create an opportunity for parents to exchange advice and support to each other. I intend to follow this up with an information session in February and a speaker on SEND support in mainstream schools, have approached several organisations and am just waiting to hear about costs and quality of whom we could get.

There are more plans. P.E.S.T.S. have approached us for a possible joint session on transitioning from Early Years into school and CONTACT will most likely join us in February. We are also planning to participate in the second “Listening Event” for professionals to support the development of a participation strategy for Ealing. Tom Quilter from EalingMencap and Deborah Dent from Ealing have taken the lead on this and we are hoping it will become a termly event with more and more professionals hearing from young people, parents and adults with disabilities why listening to their voices and experiences matters and makes sense.

So plenty of action already lined up for the New Year. All that is left for now is wishing you good luck and hopefully some peaceful family time in the holidays ahead! 

Brigitte

EPCF Administrator


Ealing Parent Carer Forum writing about Life at the Forum (EPCF) on 22 December 2017

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