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Dene Dunn

Dene Dunn

Hi my name is Dene and I work for Portsmouth Disability Forum maintaining and developing their websites. We are always looking to improve our website and welcome any feedback you may have as this helps us to create a website that is easy to navigate, understand and meets your information needs. If you have any suggestions please feel free to email me (denedunn@blueyonder.co.uk).

IOY March 2016 Page 01The March issue of 'Impacting on You' produced by Portsmouth Parent Voice is now available and includes lots of useful information. 

Please click on the link below to view:


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Posted by on in Latest News - general information

NASEveryTeacherFBFinalsmallHave you heard about the National Autistic Society's campaign for change to get autism training for every teacher?

With more than 1 in 100 children on the autism spectrum, and 70% of those children in mainstream schools, every teacher in the UK will teach an autistic child. But there is no compulsory autism training for teachers. The NAS have joined forces with Ambitious about Autism to get autism training for every new teacher.

Sign their open letter if you agree that every teacher deserves the right training, and every autistic child needs a teacher who understands them.

Right now, the Government is reviewing the Initial Teacher Training framework. They will decide what training new teachers get. They want to make sure every new teacher is trained to work with autistic pupils. That’s why they’ve launched the #EveryTeacher campaign, calling on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to include autism in Initial Teacher Training. 

  • 58% of children and young people on the autism spectrum said that the single thing that would make school better for them was if teachers understood autism.


  • 77% of parents say that the lack of support for their autistic child in school has a negative impact on their educational progress.
  • 80% of parents say that the lack of support for their autistic child in school has a negative impact on their self-esteem, and social and communication skills.

While autism can present some challenges, we know that a child who is understood and supported can make excellent progress.


  • 60% of teachers said they didn’t have the training they need to teach pupils on the autism spectrum.
  • 44% of teachers say they do not feel confident teaching autistic children.

They think teachers deserve the right training so they can get the best out of all their students. You can take action now by signing their open letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, and telling the Government to provide autism training for every teacher. Click on the links below to read this NAS article in full or sign the letter:



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The Department for Education (DfE) have published their latest SEND newsletter for February. Within the newsletter you will read about:

  • SEND funding for 2016-17
  • Implementation update - views from the frontline
  • Ofsted/CQC update on SEN inspections
  • High needs funding for young offenders in custody
  • Latest resources

The newsletter can be read and downloaded by clicking here.

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The Government announced on 2nd February that they are piloting the 30 hour week childcare offer in 8 areas across the UK. £13 million has been allocated to be shared between the councils of Wigan, Staffordshire, Swindon, Portsmouth, Northumberland, York, Newham and Hertfordshire. 

Parents will be eligible for the offer if they work 16 hours a week on the national living wage and a salary of up to £100,000 a year per parent, but local authorities are to decide how they will offer the places during the pilot.

The Government will also be looking at the issues that make it difficult for parents to access childcare, including parents of children with special educational needs and disability. 

It's essential that the pilot addresses how the quality of childcare can be improved and delivered by well-qualified staff, in order to ensure that all eligible children, including those with SEND, are able to access high quality provision which supports their learning and meets their needs.

Christine Lenehan, Director of CDC, says: "Childcare provision for families of disabled children has been a ongoing challenge. We welcome the Government's renewed commitment to this area and look forward to seeing it fully implemented in practice."

To read the full press release with details on the announcement click here.

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  • Expert parentAre you the parent or carer of a child or young person with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges?
  • Have you struggled to access appropriate health support for your child? 
  • Do you think parents need more support to understand how the health system can support their children with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges?

The Council for Disabled Children is looking for parents to help us develop the curriculum for the Expert Parent Programme (EPP) tailored to parents of children and young people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges, as part of the NHS England Transforming Care programme.

Theyunderstand that this group of children and young people are too often left unsupported by health services which can have a long-term negative impact on whole families. The EPP supports parents to understand the health system and how to access the most effective health support for their children/young people. 

They are holding a development day on the 8th March from 11am-3pm in central London and are looking for parents to attend to share their experiences of accessing health services and suggestions to make this process easier that we can incorporate in to the existing EPP materials. 

If you are interested in attending please let Vicky know (vwatt-smith@ncb.org.uk) by 19 February, we will cover reasonable travel expenses and provide lunch.

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The theme of last week's Children's Mental Health week was Resilience and Angela Kelly from the Special Needs Jungle has written a guide to help and support building resilience in your son or daughter.

Angela explains that we all encounter difficult times throughout our lives whether at home, school or working lives. Inevitably, you come out the other side either relatively unscathed or, on occasion, with emotional scars that can stay with you for the rest of your life if not worked through. This, sadly, can start in childhood, even in otherwise functional families, caused by the emotional turmoil of not feeling they fit in at school, or feeling a failure in the eyes of others.

Understanding what resilience is and learning methods to encompass it within our daily lives can, quite literally, be a life-saver.

Resilience isn’t about not experiencing setbacks, challenges, accidents and illness in life. They happens to everyone. Resilience is all about how we deal with those challenges and come out stronger. And that's where the level of resilience can produce vastly different results from people even in the same family. While many children appear to take most things in their stride, others, especially those with special educational needs, can behave in ways that leave us, as parents, with little idea of how to help.

Angela's guide shares 10 area to be aware of as parents together with tips to help children learn resilience. 

To read this article in full please click on the link below:


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Special Needs Jungle, Tania Tirraoro's latest article explains how a Wiki can be used to help with EHC plans and one page profiles.

Wikis are simple, accessible, secure and easy to build personal websites. They can be used to create multimedia person-centred plans that use pictures, words, video and sound to capture the voice, skills, aspirations and needs of the individual. Wikis give ownership of the planning process to individuals and families , facilitating genuine collaboration between parents, teachers and professionals. RIX Wikis can also be used as public websites to provide information about the Local Offer in a simple, accessible online format.

Tania met with Gosia Kwiatkowska, of RIX Research and Media at a recent SEND conference and Gosia has written an article for the SJN to explain to us all about how using their wiki puts the family or young person themself in control of their own information to promote person-centred practice. 

Using RIX Wikis to implement EHC plans

wiki1The SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Reforms, launched in September 2014, introduced a system of support which focuses on positioning children and young people (aged 0-25) at the heart of planning and decision-making. They and their parents and carers must be able to participate in this process, putting the new Education, Health and Care Plans (ECHP) into place through person-centred practice and co-production with their education, health and care professionals. The focus is on support to improve outcomes for children and young people rather than simply provision of support.

These reforms demand that support professionals work together with children, young people and their families to ensure they have choice and control over their futures and enjoy full, healthy and active lives. It requires not only a legal but a cultural change. The round-table event at the Department for Education hosted by the SEND Minister, Ed Timpson, earlier this month highlighted that there are many challenges, including the necessary culture change, that still need to be tackled by local authorities and health services in implementing these reforms.

RIX have been working with a group of parents who have children aged between 4 and 19 with varying disabilities and complex needs, all of whom either had an EHCP or were in the process of an EHCP, and all of whom confirmed that their child’s views were not sought during their EHCP process. Rix wanted to explore how a multimedia approach to self-advocacy and using the RIX Wiki tool could improve their experience and participation in the EHCP process.

To read more about Rix Wikis please click on the link below to read the full article:



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We are pleased to be supporting Children’s Mental Health Week (8–14 February)

Hosted by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, the theme of the week this year is 'building resilience' and teaching children to 'bounce forward' from life's challenges.

Bereavement, illness, family breakdown, bullying, pressure of exams… children carry far more than the weight of their backpack on their shoulders.

And while we cannot always change children's circumstances, we can teach them the skills to cope with the difficulties life throws at them.

3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem and children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties later in life if they receive support at an early age.

Get involved

For more information and resources for parents, schools, youth clubs and teachers visit:


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IOY February 2016 The February issue of 'Impacting on You' produced by Portsmouth Parent Voice is now available and includes lots of useful information. 

Please click on the link below to view:


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This Is My Child is a myth-busting and awareness-raising campaign, launched by mumsnet in response to requests from their members and supported by input from some of the leading charities in the field. 

Its aim is to support parents of children with additional needs, inform everyone else, and open up a conversation about how we can all act to make life easier for everyone caring for children with additional needs.

For this campaign to be a success they need it to reach far and wide, so please share as widely as possible.

For more information please click on the link below:


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