If your child has a special educational need and or disability it can be difficult to know where to turn to for support. At times you can feel isolated and advice can be confusing or difficult to understand. Talking to friends and family may not help as they may not understand the difficulties that you are facing. If your child has been recently diagnosed, you can have lots of questions and worries about their future and what it means for you and the whole family.
You may have questions about:
- What happens now
- Your child’s medical condition
- Getting equipment or adaptions for your home
- Managing your child’s behaviour
- How to meet the needs of your other children
- How this will affect your employment
- Benefits that you may be entitled to
- You, or your child’s mental health
- Starting school or deferring entry
- The right type of childcare
- The right type of education, now and in the future
You’re not alone, there are lots of organisations in Lewisham that can help with all these questions and more. Some are run by charities, and many have parents just like you that you can talk to and learn from. Here are a few that may be useful:
If your baby was born too early and / or unwell Bliss can provide you with lots of advice and information to support you. They can help you with emotional and practical support.
Lewisham Portage Service
The Lewisham Portage service is an educational home visiting service for pre-school children with developmental needs. They aim to improve outcomes for children and families in the borough. They support the development of young children’s play, communication and relationships. They also help their participation in day-to-day life and inclusion in the wider community. Portage support is based on the principle that parents are the key figures in the development of their child. We aim to help parents to be confident in this role, whatever their child’s needs may be.
To find out more about the Lewisham portage service:
call Corinne Challener, Portage manager, on 020 7138 1449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lewisham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) offers therapeutic interventions to children and young people up to the age of 18 who experience mild to serious/complex mental health concerns that impact on daily living. The service is made up of professionals from different backgrounds working together to provide multi-disciplinary care.
Find out more about the teams in Lewisham:
- give you equipment to help increase independence with activities such as getting in and out of the bath
- give you equipment to help your child move from one position to another if they can’t do so on their own
- give you specialist seating to increase independence and support postural management
- make recommendations for minor adaptations, such as grab rails on stairs and window restrictors
- make recommendations for major adaptations, such as a level access shower, through-floor lift or ramp at the front of your property.
To access this service, you must:
Have a permanent disability (including physical and learning disabilities and mental health problems), live in the Lewisham borough, be aged 0–18 years old.
You can refer yourself or you can be referred by:
Your parent or carer or health and social care professionals.
You can make a referral by email or phone using the contact details below.
telephone: 020 3049 1266 / 1259
Lewisham Mencap is a charity run voluntarily by and for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers. Do join them on Zoom, become a member, a volunteer or perhaps you have a question.
Lewisham Autism Support provides support, advice and information to families who have children with an autism, autism spectrum or Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis. It aims to: help families to learn more about autism and gain confidence in meeting their child’s needs, offer a chance to think and talk with someone who will understand. They can provide information on: autism, national and local services, voluntary groups, and related issues such as benefits. They run occasional courses, workshops and offer practical advice.
Call Catherine Spain, Family Support Co-Ordinator: 020 8699 3066
Provide practical advice and emotional support whenever people need them most. They do this through the Scope helpline, their online community, a range of employment and child sleep services, community engagement programmes, and more.
Are a free, confidential and impartial service, which offers accurate information, advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with SEND. They understand it can be difficult at times and their approach is to empower our parents and carers by providing them with information on their rights and guidance on the legal framework that all schools and local authorities adhere to. Their experienced team of local advisors also provide this independent advice directly to young people aged 16 up to 25 years with SEND.
Our Advice Line provides legally based information and next step advice on any educational issue that is the result of a child’s special educational needs or disability. Our Advice Line provides legally based information and next step advice on any educational issue that is the result of a child’s special educational needs or disability. IPSEA’s Tribunal casework volunteers provide individual support for the families whose cases they take. This free and specialist support can only be accessed by referral after booking an appointment on our. Our Information Service is for general legal enquiries and will signpost you to factsheets and resources on our website.
SIGNAL is a support group for autistic children, young people and their families established in 1993 by parents of autistic children in the borough of Lewisham, South East London. They try and improve the quality of the lives of our autistic children through providing access to activities such as trampolining and swimming and trips for families to socialise in a non-judgemental environment. They also run a weekly group for autistic teenagers. They have monthly workshops with speakers who are invited to come to talk to SIGNAL members about relevant topics. They aim to invite speakers who are themselves autistic wherever that is possible.
If you’d like to chat to someone before attending an event, or to find out more about joining, please get in touch – go to Contact Us for details.