All posts in “Partnerships”

11 Fun Ways You Can Keep Your Kid Active during Pandemic

This is a guest post, by Charles Vallena of TheSleepMatters (https://www.thesleepmatters.com)

The pandemic can keep children restricted with the number of activities that they can do at home. Unlike the usual setting without the imposed health protocols and community rules, becoming fit and active with the coronavirus pandemic can be a struggle.

 

Health experts advocate for children to make physical activities part of their daily lives, promoting healthier growth and helping them maintain the appropriate weight for their age. To keep children engaged in physical activities, check out these fun ways that will help them enjoy being active.

 

1. Do sports at home

 

Experts recommend children stay active with at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Playing sports is among the most efficient ways to keep your children competitive and active at the same time. Sports at-home – roller blades, swimming (if you have a pool), and even shooting some hoops, can keep them very active during the pandemic.

 

Sports have a lot of interpersonal, emotional, and physical benefits for children. It develops their motor and social skills, and it also promotes self-confidence. Most of all, sports are fun to play for all ages.

 

2. Learn how to play the guitar

Letting kids become musically inclined will let them explore more of their interests. Learning how to play the guitar keeps their minds sharp. Music experts at Guitar Junky said even young kids can try learning a few chords and let them enjoy the instrument on their own.

 

kids guitar is easy to find and portable so they can continue to learn playing the instrument at home or your nearby music school. Aside from the guitar, you can also let your children learn other musical instruments, and let them choose the instrument to learn with the given time.

 

3. Get them into kids’ yoga

 

Wondering how you can keep your children interested in yoga when you are not an expert? There are a lot of online yoga classes that you can take with your children. There are yoga videos that are fun and challenging for kids and parents.

 

Aside from varied yoga poses, yoga also keeps them focused, developing their mental growth. Yoga videos are great for those kids who love screen time because they can enjoy watching while also learning how to be active.

4. Make a fun obstacle course

 

Another thing that spells out fun is having an obstacle course at home. You can always build your obstacle course that  you can design and construct based on their physical capabilities.

 

Ninja ropes and old tires can be used to make a DIY-obstacle course.  Nevertheless, DIY obstacle courses are fun ways to keep kids active, while also helping you recycle old or unused tools and objects. These obstacle courses also encourage creativity and resourcefulness for your kids. 

5. Play indoor games

Simple indoor games like hide and seek, board games, and even their toys, can promote physical activity among children. Indoor games are more fun especially when parents, or their siblings, interact and engage with their play.

 

Encourage children to spend time off their screens and let them have fun with their toys at home. There are a lot of age-appropriate games that make children more physically active. Make sure to let them play with safe and non-toxic toys for their indoor games.

 

6. Grow plants

If you want your kids to be responsible, giving them a pet is ideal. But, if you want to train your children on how to be responsible while still being physically active, let them grow their plants, but teaching them how to cultivate plants or grow flowers makes them more responsible, as they learn how to take care of their plants daily.

 

Gardening is something you can enjoy with your kids, especially in activities like trimming stems and watering the plants.  While this activity can get them dirty from time to time, it can teach them to become more responsible and allow them to be more aware of their surroundings.

 

7. Do a backyard camping

 

Nothing is more exciting than enjoying backyard camping at home. Involve your kids in setting up camp, gathering some ingredients for some outdoor s’mores, picking up wood for the campfire, and having some fun camping games. Backyard camping is something they can look forward to in these times, and you can still let them enjoy camping even at home.

 

8. Make DIY projects

One of the things that spark creativity in children and parents is fun DIY projects. There are a lot of easy DIY projects that they can do at home –tie-dye shirts, slimes, sock puppets, playdough, even their fort. The possibilities are endless with the DIY projects that you can make at home.

 

9. Have dance parties at home

 

Dance parties at home are fun ways to keep active. Children are more active when engaged with music. Funky and groovy songs let them throw their dance moves on the floor. There are a lot of trendy dance challenges on the internet that will encourage them to learn those moves.

 

10. Have a game night with the family

 

Charades, freeze games, twister, and treasure hunting are fun game night activities. Schedule a game night with the whole family to let your kids have something to look forward to. Game night encourages social skills, graceful winning or losing, as well as following rules for kids. Games are also great for bonding with the family.

 

11. Cook and bake with your kids

Cooking or baking with your young ones is very beneficial for both parents and children. Cooking and baking are low-intensity physical activities as it involves walking, upper arm workout, and even fine motor activities. Kids learn a lot from cooking or baking simple recipes. It also promotes confidence and it lets them explore their taste and other senses.

 

Experts recommend kids have about 60 minutes of physical activity every day for healthier mental, emotional, and physical growth. Even amid the pandemic, your kids can still be active in a lot of different fun ways.

 

Being physically active in the eyes of your children can set a great example for them to follow. You must engage your kids in age-appropriate activities, and they should be enjoyable so they will anticipate more activities in the coming days.

 

Bethan’s story

Sharing your experiences, the challenges you’ve overcome and any support we have provided, can help us in so many ways: when we talk to parents to reassure them they’re not alone and show what you can achieve with the right support.

When you tell us about your experiences including any help you have received from SNAP Cymru, we can share your stories to help even more families across Wales. This lovely feedback was sent to us this week from Bethan who was looking for an appropriate placement for her son David. We were thrilled to read it.

Maybe you used our Helpline or website for advice on a difficult situation or had more in-depth casework support from us.  We’d love to hear from you. If we have supported you, tell us how and why you got involved with us and how it helped.  You can use the feedback form on the contact page or let your local family and young peoples officer know.  

We love hearing from you.  

Bethan’s story

To whom it may concern,

 I am writing to express my upmost gratitude for the help I have received from SNAP Cymru and Donna Morgan.  Below is a summary of our journey:

I had been striving for 18 months to get my son David into the right placement, which would be able to meet his exhaustive list of needs. The relationship with David’s school had broken down. I felt the LA were supportive of the school and didn’t ‘hear’ my concerns and queries. At this point I had hit rock bottom. I then got in contact with SNAP Cymru and arranged a meeting via Teams with the LEA, school, SNAP and myself.    On the morning of the meeting, I was completing my list of points in preparation when my mobile phone started ringing.  Upon answering the phone, I heard a very unfamiliar, friendly strong valleys accent, it was Donna.   At this point I felt very anxious and apprehensive as David’s case was extraordinarily complex lengthy and in depth.

Donna amazed me with her expansive knowledge, she was highly informative, friendly, and helpful.   From that day forward my life changed for the better, for once I felt I had a chance to get David the provision his needs warrants.  What followed over the next few weeks can only be described as an informative journey, that I will not forget.

Donna worked tirelessly on my case, educating me, informing me about  statement content, panels, processes and transitions.  Donna very much became one of my rocks.  

Donna’s passion, determination and knowledge coupled with her superb people skills, complete professionalism and friendly demeanour completely shined through during every conversation, meeting, and email.

 Thanks to Donna:

  • I have a better understanding of statement process.
  • A passion has been awoken in me to pursue a job within advocacy, to one day help parents like me.
  • David has been awarded the appropriate provision.

I do struggle to find the words which fully express my gratitude to Donna Morgan and SNAP Cymru. Without your service many families would be in dire situations.   Thank you Snap Cymru and Thank you Donna Morgan.

Best wishes

Bethan Bodman


We love hearing from our families. If you’d like to help more people like Bethan and David please get in touch with us at enquiries@snapcymru.org or follow the buttons below to find out how to volunteer or fundraise for us


Related content

Something for everyone

Everyone’s reason for volunteering is unique, from meeting people to learning new skills and making a difference. Our volunteers come from all backgrounds and we have a range of roles to suit everyone.

If you’re interested in volunteering with us please complete and submit the application form, or for more information please see our volunteering page

Read more about how some of our volunteers in Mid Wales help SNAP Cymru to help our families

10 Ways You Can Help Your Kid with Special Needs Sleep Better at Night

This is a guest article by Charles Vallena (thesleepmatters@gmail.com)

 

Everyone needs a peaceful slumber for optimum health and wellness. Children sleep more than adults because it is necessary for their growth and development. 

Unfortunately, children with special needs can have problems sleeping because of physical, mental, and developmental issues. If you have such a child, here are ten ways you can help your kid with special needs sleep better at night. 

 

 

1. Create a Relaxing and Cozy Environment

Putting soothing and relaxing items in your child’s bedroom can improve his sense of security whenever you tuck him into his bed for the night. Soft lights, mellow sounds, and a comfortable mattress, pillows, and blanket can all help in calming his mind. 

According to Dr. John DeGarmo of the Foster Care Institute, using weighted blankets can encourage relaxation and improve mood by promoting the more efficient release of dopamine and serotonin, allowing kids with special needs to sleep better.

 

2. Play Soothing Sounds

Studies show that music can induce a mental or physical state conducive to sleep, while also blocking external or internal stimulus from disrupting the sleep. Calming music can send your child to slumberland in as little as three minutes. You can also use his favorite audiobook to help him fall asleep.

It would be best to set the soothing music on continuous play. Should your child stir and wake up in the middle of the night, he can fall back to sleep a lot faster because of the familiar calming sound.

3. Have an Early Dinner

Having dinner as close to bedtime as possible will not help your child fall asleep fast, said experts at Sleep Matters . His digestive system will still be too busy processing the food he ate at dinner time. It would be best to have dinner at least two hours before going to bed.

It will also help kids with special needs to fuel up at dinner. You can give them healthy, complex carbs and proteins to put low blood sugar in check. The body processes proteins and complex carbs a lot longer than simple sugars, preventing a dip in blood glucose that can awaken your child at night.

4. Avoid Stimulating Drinks and Food before Bedtime

Avoid giving your child stimulant foods and drinks before bedtime because these food items activate some neurotransmitters that can make falling asleep difficult and keep him awake longer. 

Dark chocolates, aged cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, spicy foods, cured meats, pizza, onion rings, French fries, sugar cereals, chocolate cakes, and energy drinks are a no-no. 

Additionally, avoid caffeine. For example, a cold brew coffee has a caffeine content of 200 mg for a 16-ounce cup.

5. Ask Your Doctor for a Melatonin Supplement

Contrary to what many people think, melatonin does not put you to sleep. However, it prepares the mind into a state of relaxed and quiet wakefulness, promoting sleep. It calms the brain, allowing it to slow its processes for regenerative and restorative rest and sleep.

You can ask your doctor to prescribe a melatonin supplement for your kid with special needs. The recommended dose is 0.3 to 0.5 mg about an hour before bedtime. If your child has ADHD or autism spectrum, he may require a larger dose of 2 to 6 mg.

6. Consider Using Natural Remedies

If you are not comfortable giving your child synthetic melatonin, you can ask your doctor about natural sleep-promoting remedies. For example, Dr. Nicole Beurkens recommends Valerian1000 essential oil to children with neurodevelopmental disorders, cognitive impairment, and ADHD.

Another natural remedy you can try is Vetiver essential oil. You can rub this essential oil on your child’s belly button right before he goes to bed. Some parents are also successful in helping their kids sleep better at night by using a diffuser for the essential oil.

7. Get a Lightbox

Children with specific learning disabilities can benefit from a lightbox to help them sleep better. Studies show that a normal circadian rhythm promotes efficient memory consolidation, an integral component of learning. 

Light therapy can help reset your child’s circadian rhythm, promoting sleep, and allowing him to fall asleep faster. The trick is to use the correct light intensity to reset the body’s normal body clock. Exposing your child to very bright light for 30 minutes in the morning can also help.

8. Make Space in Your Bedroom

Most kids with special needs wake up at night feeling anxious and scared. In many instances, they get out of their bed and head straight to their parents’ bedroom to feel safe and secure. If your child happens to be like this, you may want to modify your bedroom.

If your bedroom has ample space, adding a small bed can help provide your child a temporary safe haven for him to feel safe and comfortable. He can continue his sleep without waking you up. A futon mattress is perfect for bedrooms with limited space.

9. Consider Giving Your Child a Body Pillow

Body pillows are perfect for maintaining optimum spinal alignment and pressure point relief. However, did you know that it can also provide your child a sense of security and feelings of comfort?

Giving your child a large body pillow he can hug during sleep can help him stay asleep better. He feels more secure, mimicking the sensations of having his mom cuddle him as he goes to and stays in slumberland.

10. Put Your Kid Snuggly to Bed

Many kids consider their blankets and beddings as a form of security. It helps them feel calm and relaxed, allowing them to sleep better. Unfortunately, constant movements during sleep can remove the blanket or loosen the bedding, awakening the child.

It will help if you put your child to sleep and tuck in the blanket tightly under the mattress. Doing so will give your child a sense of safety while also feeling comfortable. You can weigh down the edges of your kid’s blanket to keep him snug.

Conclusion

There are more than ten ways you can help your kid with special needs sleep better at night. One thing parents must remember is to understand and appreciate their children’s unique needs. It will give them an idea of the best possible approach to secure a more peaceful and restful slumber for their young loved ones.

Immigration Advice Service : Supporting Asylum Seeking Children

SNAP Cymru aims to support children and young people who encounter barriers to their education – all children deserve to reach their full potential! Our SNAP team can offer free and independent information and advice, as well as advocacy and training. Our services are open to any child/young person experiencing barriers to their learning (and any adult supporting them), and can be accessed via our helpline (0808 801 0608), or online enquiry form (Contact – SNAP Cymru).

We are proud to be working in partnership with the Immigration Advice Service – the following article is a guest piece written by Aileen Bowe (Writer and Correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service). 

Much more is needed : Educational Opportunities for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Overview of the situation

When an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC) arrives in the UK, they enter a system that ostensibly has been designed to provide quality care and treat them in the same way as UK-born children. However, this is not always the case. Reports frequently show poorer outcomes for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

One of the ways that this is visible is in the educational journey for children with these backgrounds. As we outline in more detail in this article, while motivation can be very high for asylum-seeking children at primary and secondary level, this can then fall dramatically when it comes to moving to third level education as a result of systemic obstacles placed in the way of further progression.

 

What happens when UASC arrive in the UK?

Worldwide, there are 13 million child refugees. Since 2016, over 9,000 unaccompanied children have requested asylum in the UK. In the year ending March 2020, there were 2,205 grants of leave made in the UK to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (including grants of asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, UASC leave and other grants).

When a UASC arrives in the UK, they will either submit an asylum claim at their port of entry or at the national intake unit in Croydon. Local authorities are responsible for the welfare of children who are not accompanied by parents or guardians. The child may be transferred out of the care of the first council in which they are placed in if there is insufficient capacity to provide care.

 

Key considerations for unaccompanied child asylum seekers

It is widely accepted that unaccompanied refugee or asylum-seeking children have higher risks of developing mental health problems. As well as this, they are more likely to have experienced a number of adverse childhood events or traumatic experiences, including the death of parents or close family members, exposure to violence, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and severe deprivation of basic needs.

Significant” numbers of vulnerable young people have regularly been reported missing by authorities, and in some cases, even end up being trafficked or subject to further abuse. In 2020, following the onset of the pandemic, some forms of legislation designed to protect vulnerable children were removed. The Guardian reported that a 17-year-old unaccompanied child asylum seeker went missing from care after his in-person support was cancelled due to the legislation. Authorities stated he had not been accessing his support payments and there were serious concerns about his welfare.

This problem is not limited to the UK, as a recent report found that at least 18,000 unaccompanied child migrants have gone missing since 2018 after their arrival in European countries. The Lost in Europe project undertook research that found many European countries had child asylum systems that were not fit for purpose.

 

Accessing education as an unaccompanied child asylum seeker

Even the promise of an education and the hope that this brings with it is not a guarantee to unaccompanied asylum-seeking or migrant children. A Unicef report in 2018 found that no region in the UK was meeting its requirements to enrol asylum-seeking children into schools within their 20-day target.

Children with asylum seeker or refugee status under the age of 18 years have the same entitlements as British-born children, however, they may face additional obstacles, including language challenges, adapting to a new educational system, gaps in education history, social isolation, discrimination, or racism. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

Unicef report into educational opportunities for UAS children

Unicef commissioned a report into the educational journey for refugee and asylum-seeking children which was published in 2020 and aimed to identify the barriers faced by these children transitioning to further or higher education.

The report found some of the primary factors preventing young people with these immigrant backgrounds from progressing with their education included lack of support and encouragement, poor mental health or emotional wellbeing, and poverty and disadvantage.

Some of its findings make for difficult reading. Despite facing significant disadvantages, the issues involved in accessing further or higher education are often prohibitive. One person quoted in the report stated, “even if [young people] are ready and willing to go to college, literally a £1.50 bus fare is what stops them.”

Another major challenge cited by respondents found that stakeholders frequently gave inaccurate or incorrect information about accessing opportunities for further study at higher level. The report noted, “Half of key informants described how young people are often given wrong information about their eligibility to study at FE level, including from teachers, social workers and other professionals supporting them.” It was reported that there was a widespread lack of awareness of the rights of young people in accessing further education.

Another area that represents significant disadvantages for young people with asylum seeker backgrounds relates to how young people access courses. Young people cite the challenges of gathering documents required by admissions officers and institutions. For unaccompanied child asylum seekers, it is not unusual for them to be unable to gather the required documents from their home countries to prove their levels of educational attainment.

 

Supporting young people with asylum seeker backgrounds

The report lays out its findings on the different stakeholders and what is needed to improve the life outcomes of these children. These include interventions or policy changes from the Department for Education, the Home Office, higher and further education institutions, schools, voluntary organisations and private sector organisations. Some of the recommendations include:

  • The Home Office should provide clear guidance to educational institutes in relation to the Student Visa immigration permission and the rules around people with asylum seeker or refugee status
  • Further education institutes should exercise appropriate discretion and flexibility when dealing with students applying for courses or funding
  • Schools should establish effective pastoral and mental health systems to provide encouragement and tailored support for young people who wish to continue within education
Photo by Juan Serrano Arenas from Pexels

Organisations working to support asylum seeking young people

In Wales, there are several organisations working to provide support and care to refugee and asylum-seeking families and children. Many of these have an understanding of adverse childhood events and the impact these have on life outcomes.

Displaced People in Action (Wales) has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Wales since 2001. They provide a range of much-needed supports, with the ultimate mission of empowering these individuals to become more confident, more integrated, and self-sufficient.

Similarly, SNAP Cymru provides support to individuals who have faced discrimination in education. The work of these organisations in ensuring equal educational opportunities for all children in the UK, no matter their background, is vitally important.

Another recent and comprehensive report jointly published by the WHO, Wales Public Health, and the Cymru Well Wales Adverse Childhood Events Support Hub. The report highlights the potential for adverse childhood events (ACE) to occur throughout the migration journey. This can include pre-migration, on the migration journey, and post-migration. The report notes that, “By the time a displaced child arrives in a host country, he or she is likely to have experienced a multitude of ACEs due to their reasons for migrating and on their journeys to host countries.”

Despite the significant difficulties and often traumatic experiences of children with asylum seeker backgrounds, the report found that many children have a strong commitment to education and have ambitions to enter higher education. However, it is important to point out that not there is not always a negative relationship between war trauma and lower educational outcomes – in some instances, there can be insignificant or even positive effects on educational attainment.

 

Conclusions

It can be difficult to think about the struggles and challenges faced by asylum-seeking children, and it is impossible not to empathise with the hardships they have seen. Despite this, numerous studies[i] have shown that these groups of children are incredibly resilient, and if given opportunities, they show the capacity to embrace opportunities for growth and development.

Even for adults, there are extensive difficulties involved in getting immigration permissions to stay in the UK after arriving as an asylum seeker. The route towards citizenship is a complex path, and this is especially the case for children. Becoming a UK citizen brings with it many freedoms and can offer second chance at life for many children.

The value of education for improving life outcomes and improving mental health and wellbeing cannot be overstated. One 2005 study[ii] found that access to school and the opportunity to integrate well into a new educational system can actually mitigate the effects of trauma on young people with refugee backgrounds.

It is incumbent on all of us to continue to fight for equal educational access for all young people, and especially those who face extraordinary. disadvantages and obstacles.

 

Aileen Bowe is a writer and correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation of immigration solicitors that provides legal aid to forcibly displaced persons.

Happy Holidays from SNAP Cymru!

We want to say thank you to all of our families, partners and volunteers this Christmas!

Despite the difficulties of 2020, we are proud to have continued our services to children, young people and their families throughout the year.

We understand that the festive break may be a little different this year, but we hope you have a wonderful and restful Christmas, and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

We are hopeful that 2021 will be a much brighter year for all of us!

Our offices are closed from the 24th December, and re-open on the 4th January.

Mr X Appeal 2020

Mr X Appeal 2020

We are thankful to have support from the Mr X Appeal – a project that provides presents for children and young people in need across Swansea, Bridgend, Neath/Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Llanelli, Carmarthen and most recently Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

This is the third year that SNAP has worked in partnership with the Mr X Appeal, allowing us to deliver Christmas gifts to some of our families in need in the Swansea area. We are excited to help spread some festive cheer!

Some of the gifts delivered to us from the Mr X Team

We had a chat with ‘Mr X’, and he told us all about the appeal, how it started and how it runs today

The appeal started 61 years ago; Mr X’s family were often visited by a little girl from the local orphanage. Her name was Francesca and she would eventually visit the family every Sunday, and during the holidays to take part in their games and activities.

When Christmas came around, Mr X’s colleagues asked if they could provide some presents for Francesca; before Mr X knew it, he had more gifts for Francesca than he did for his own children! He asked those wanting to donate if they’d consider donating to other children in the orphanage – and over time, more and more people wanted to offer gifts – and this was just the start of the ‘Mr X’ Christmas campaign!

Mr X in 2020

With the Covid-19 restrictions in place, this year was going to be challenging – unsure of whether the team would be able to secure enough donations due to the hardship of 2020, Mr X and his team pushed forward with the appeal, determined to ensure that over 8000 children receive gifts this Christmas! Not only did the team manage to secure 2 presents for each child – they also donated additional gifts to local foodbanks in hopes that no child is without presents this year.

The Mr X Appeal is run by a huge team of volunteers. Alongside the core team of ‘Mr X’, ‘Mrs X’ and the affectionately nicknamed ‘Santa’s Transport Elf’, there are a lot of people who give up their time freely to donate, sort and deliver gifts across South Wales. Mr X emphasised his true gratitude for all the volunteers involved with the appeal, expressing that their support enables the campaign to go ahead.

If you want to find out more about the Mr X Appeal, or would like to learn more about donations, check out their official Facebook page:

Mr X Christmas Appeal | Facebook

800 children received activity packs from SNAP Cymru

Over the last few weeks our team have been able to put activity packs together for children with the generous support of the following who identified the need to support children in their communities.

  • The Steve Morgan Foundation emergency Covid 19 Fund which helps projects that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, or those that are socially disadvantaged in North Wales
  • The Merthyr Tydfil Emergency Covid 19 Fund
  • Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund which provides emergency funding to deliver additional and new community services to address immediate community needs in the Upper Neath and Upper Afan Valley

We sent out a short tick list for parents on what they might like us to send – we found that a lot of the families weren’t able to print activities at home, or didn’t have the available laptops etc… so all were requesting printed activities for their children. We also decided to sent out glue sticks, stickie’s, crayons, scissors and felts – al of which went down really well with the children

We sent out packs which our team of staff and volunteers put together responding to the children’s particular needs and wishes and sourcing some of the items they might like.
One of our volunteers Valdis has put together age related packs of general materials that can appeal to those groups and another volunteer is creating bespoke materials

Jessica a new volunteer to SNAP Cymru is a font of all curriculum related knowledge and very quickly sourced materials for different age groups

At the end of the project we were delighted to have sent out sent out packs to 800 children in Merthyr, Upper Afan and Neath Valleys – The Pen Y Cymoedd Communities and in North Wales

Sadly almost all parents were requesting emotional wellbeing and self-regulation advice and activities – so these were added these to every pack.

The activities packs have proved to be really successful and we’ve received great feedback from the children themselves. 

“Thank you so much for the activity pack! It’s amazing and covers everything from numeracy to literacy, colouring, puzzles, and lots more, all with some of his favourite characters. We’re very excited to get started. Fantastically put together. Thank you x

“I was sent a wonderfully put together activity pack to keep my Son busy, and to help him better understand his emotions about the situation we all find ourselves in. “

The project has now come to an end and we can no longer accept any requests for packs.

However if you’re looking for other activities for children , including those with additional learning needs and disabilities please do go and see our full list of information and activities that is updated regularly.

Additional Learning Needs Parent Information Sessions

SNAP Cymru in partnership with the Additional Learning Needs Transformation Leads for South East Wales, South West & Mid Wales and North Wales are delivering a series of information events for parents intended to help families understand how the new system that supports children and young people with Additional Learning Needs will work. The events are being held at the locations below and can be booked by contacting Amanda 07587 187 430 or amanda.daniels@snapcymru.org

Or book on:  South West & Mid Wales    Eventbrite               

South East Wales and North Wales  Eventbrite 

Carmarthen

Wed 21st November 2018

10.00 – 1.00 p.m.

Outdoor Bowling Club

St. Peters

Carmarthen

SA31 1QP

 

Neath Port Talbot

Fri 23rd Nov

1.30 – 3.30

Owain Glyndwr Community Ctr

Waunceirch

Neath,   SA10 7BZ

 

 

Torfaen

Tues 27th Nov

11.00 – 2.00

Brecon House

4a William Brown Cl

Cwmbran

NP44 3AB

 

Swansea

Wed 28th November

10.00 – 1.00

ITEC

250 Carmarthen Road

SWANSEA

SA1 1HG

 

Newport

Thurs 29thth Nov

11.00 – 2.00

Leisure Centre

1 Kingsway

Newport

NP20 1UH

 

Swansea

Fri 30th Nov

10.00 – 1.00

ITEC

250 Carmarthen Road

SWANSEA

SA1 1HG

 

 

Conwy

Wed 5th Dec

10.00 – 11.30pm

Clwyd Suite

Parc Eirias, Eirias Rd

Bae Colwyn/Colwyn Bay

LL29 7SP

 

Conwy

Wed  5 Dec

2.00 – 3.30

Towyn Community Centre

Ty’n y Coed, Towyn Road,

Towyn

LL22 9ES

Denbighshire

Thurs 6th Dec

3.00 – 4.30

Willow Room

Oak Tree Centre

Ffordd Las

Rhyl LL18 2DY

Denbighshire

Thurs 6th Dec

10.00 -11.30

Eirianfa Community Centre

Factory Place

Dinbych/Denbigh

LL16 3TS

 

Powys (1)

Mon 10th Dec

10.0  – 1.00

Media Resource Centre

Oxford Rd

Llandrindod Wells

LD1 6AH

 

Powys (2)

Tuesday 11th Dec

10.0  – 1.00

COWSHACC

Olford Lane

Welshpool

 

SY21 7TE

 

 

Ceredigion

Wed 12th Dec

10.30 – 1.30

Y Ganolfan Integredig

Boulevard de Saint-Brieuc

Aberystwyth

Ceredigion

SY23 1PD

 

Caerphilly

Wed 12th Dec

11.00 – 2.00

Bryn Meadows

Ystrad Mynach,

Caerphilly

CF82 7SN

 

For further information or to confirm your attendance at one of the parent events opposite, please contact Amanda Daniels on:

07587 187 430 or amanda.daniels@snapcymru.org

 

Overhaul of how the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed and met

This year and next new reforms will overhaul how the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed and met.

This December the new Additional Learning needs Bill was presented to the Welsh Assembly and pass through several stages before becoming Law next Autumn. This will begin several years of replacing SEN statements with Individual Development Plans. Changes to assessment are designed to place the child and their family at the centre of consultations with Schools and  local authorities (LAs)and make the whole process more integrated, collaborative which should facilitate early, timely and effective support

A fair and transparent system of resolving concerns

Many families have concerns that LAs as pre-destined to deny families the provision they want or feel their child needs, and cast statutory assessment as a fight of David versus Goliath proportions. Perhaps inevitably, battle-lines get drawn in some minds before they even approach the LA.  The new process will hopefully change this ‘fight’.

SNAP Cymru has always provided measured guidance for parents who are dissatisfied with school or LA’s responses and our intention has always been to help families avoid the prospect of legal action or costly, stressful disputes over what ought to be a collaborative process between families and professionals based on the best interest of the child.

The new Bill and code of practice (which will follow next Spring/summer), suggests a move away from the widespread default model.  It emphasises the significance of “high quality teaching” and high aspirations for children as part of a ‘transformation programme’ and workforce development. http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/pupilsupport/additoinal-learning-needs-reform/?lang=en

When the English reforms took place from 2014 onward, and statements were changed to Education and Health Care plans the English government announced a £30m scheme to train “independent supporters to assist parents through the SEN process and their request for an EHCP. No such money on the horizon here just innovation funding for LA’s to plan for the process.

The Welsh Government Law will describe a fair and transparent system for providing information and advice, and for resolving disagreements, although there are concerns that Local Authorities may take this opportunity to reject independent support and advice preferring to take services ‘in -house’ as happened in Pembrokeshire.  Whilst these service are informative (many appoint ex SNAP Cymru  staff)  it can never offer a reliable  independent perspective.

For the time being, local authorities and all those who work with children and young people with SEN, must ensure that they continue to comply with the duties placed upon them by the Education Act 1996. They must also continue to have regard to the SEN Code of Practice for Wales, (The SEN Code of Practice can be accessed on our website) and must continue to accept requests for Statutory assessments  and write and maintain Statements of Special Educational Needs.

You could help shape this Bill

SNAP Cymru will be supporting the Welsh Government Children, Young People and Education Committee to ‘hear’ parent’s voices to assist them with the scrutiny of the Bill.  If you are a parent of a child with SEN,  informed about the reform so far, passionate and have a real interest in sharing your perspective with the AMs on this committee – give us a call or send us an email- we may be able to offer you place to have your views heard.

You can also contact your local AM who can feed your views into the process.

If you’ve received a great service from SNAP Cymru and are concerned about the potential loss of Independent support and Parent partnership from the Bill and COP or the way in which this could be weakened- let your AMs know.

There is an exciting time ahead for SEN,  moving from one system to another and replacing statements with IDPs could be great news, but it also has the potential to cause anxiety for lots of parents.  SNAP Cymru is here to support family concerns through this process.  If you are worried or have any questions, please contact us through our helpline 0845 1203730 helpline @snapcymru.org or directly to training@snapcymru.org or 01554778288.

 

 

The SNAP Cymru & Merthyr Tydfil AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme

Children and families judge their inclusion far more on the warmth of welcome than on whether all the ramps and handrails are in place. Inclusion is about valuing all individuals, giving equal access and opportunity for all and removing discrimination and other barriers to participation. To be included is to belong and that’s exactly what Merthyr Tydfil and SNAP Cymru want to encourage through their new Amber Green project.

We are really pleased to be working with Merthyr Tydfil LA to roll out this exciting new scheme which recognises and helps develop inclusive practice across Merthyr.

The scheme developed with Welsh Government Family First funding offers a structured approach for organisations to develop, and evidence their inclusive practice with the aim of providing choice and equal opportunity for all children, young people and families across Merthyr Tydfil…… irrespective of their additional learning need.  Signing up to the AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme:

  • Demonstrates an organisation’s determination to deliver inclusive activities
  • Provides a checklist for organisations to consider their own practice
  • Can be used as a development tool for advisers and those supporting settings
  • Be a guide for parents, children and young people seeking a welcoming inclusive setting
  • Be a measure for professionals seeking appropriate inclusive placements

 “The single most important factor in a successful inclusive setting is a ‘can do’ attitude. Positive expectations, flexibility and a commitment to accessibility and inclusion underpins high quality services.” ESTYN

The AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme takes the social model of disability as its starting point, builds on existing good practice, and then offers a structured approach which  guides each setting through the stages of preparation, development and review. The process of working with the scheme is itself designed to contribute to the inclusive development of settings.

The AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme is twofold:

Amber Award – Get Ready

Supports and evidences that a setting is reviewing their  current practice and are working towards becoming fully inclusive

Green Award – Go

Supports and evidences active Inclusion for all

Once an organisation has ‘signed up’, the Inclusion Development Officer will meet with them, agree any support and offer a range of training sessions to support your progress.  There are no timescales in which to complete the checklist and each organisation may require different levels of support at different times. Following a process of review, the setting and the Inclusion Officer will determine your level of award.

The project has many benefits, not least that it helps settings

  • promote a positive image of disability and equality
  • Demonstrate to Inspectors, such as ESTYN and CSSIW, that you treat all children with respect and equal concern
  • Ensure each individual child or young person’s needs are planned for and provided for
  • Improve their reputation
  • be more responsive to the community you serve

Benefits for children and young people are also tangible:

  • Children and young people with disabilities educated in inclusive settings have significantly better outcomes. They enjoy a better quality of life, including a sense of belonging, better social connections, increased community involvement, and greater earning potential.
  • All children and young people benefit from inclusion, everyone does better educationally and socially when attention is focussed on how best to meet the needs of all children.
  • Including children with additional needs is a major contributor to tackling discrimination. Inclusive education embraces the concept of equality of opportunity for all children.

 “We moved our son here because they are different; they see our son for the whole child he is.”

Lots of different organisations have signed up so far, nursery and early years settings, youth services and even dental practices , the one thing they have in common is that they want to demonstrate how inclusive and welcoming they are and each one belives that all children and young people should have access to good quality services in their own communities.  What’s not to like.  If you are interested in learning more about the scheme and how to join please contact Teresa.bradley@snapcymru.org