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Please make sure that if your child has a learning disability it is flagged on their electronic record with the GP. This will enable your child to be called for their annual health check from the age of 14.

People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services. Regular health checks can detect treatable illnesses and help prevent more serious ones, as well as familiarising the young person with the GP practice which they may use throughout their adult life.

There are over one million people of all ages in England who have a learning disability.  Only 200,000 of these currently appear on GP registers.  Nearly one million people are missing from this register and not getting the health check to which they are entitled.

Health services have a duty to make changes to their services (reasonable adjustments), so that they are easier for people with learning disabilities to use. Unless a patient’s learning disability status is registered on the GP systems then reasonable adjustments to care for that individual cannot be anticipated and made. People with learning disabilities have poorer health and die at a younger age than the rest of the population, but some of this ill health is preventable.

The benefits of being on the register are:

  • Better and more person centred health care for those individuals;
  • Better information about the health needs of people with learning disabilities in a given locality;
  • Better planning of health and care services for people with learning disabilities;
  • An ability to anticipate an individual’s needs before they attend health or care settings;
  • Better understanding and integration of needs across health, care, education and employment; and
  • Better transition planning for young people with learning disabilities who are leaving school or college and approaching adulthood.

Please see the draft letter which can be adapted and sent to your GP.  Alternatively you can ring up and ask that your child’s learning disability is flagged on their electronic medical record. 

Please note that not all GPs have signed up to deliver the annual health check from the age of 14 but it is worth following up with your GP to make sure the ongoing health needs of your child are anticipated. 

The following weblinks contain more information on the annual health check for people with learning disabilities.

NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenwithalearningdisability/Pages/AnnualHealthChecks.aspx

Public Health England – Improving Health and Lives: http://www.improvinghealthandlives.org.uk/projects/annualhealthchecks

Mencap leaflet on what the health check should consist of:

https://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Annual_health_checks_Standard.pdf

Do not assume that your GP will have automatically registered your child on the learning disability register.  Contact them now to make sure that our children receive the best possible health care now and in the future.

Parent To GP Letter - Please download here: Parent-to-GP-Letter.docx

 

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I expect you have heard on the news of the government’s plan to make cuts to Tax Credits. For many parents I meet these credits are the crucial to maintaining their standard of living which makes working worthwhile.  Contact a Family, the national organisation which supported Parent Forums/voices all over the country have a petition which they have asked us to promote. If you or anyone you know is going to be affected should these changes go ahead please use this link to sign the petition.

Take action against tax credit cuts by signing the Contact a Family petition: bit.ly/1PthLlL 

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It's that time of year again when we are all starting our Christmas shopping and if you are a parent of a child with additional needs being able to involve them is even more of a challenge. The bright lights the noise; the people rushing about can be far too much for them to deal with (a sensory invasion) however, giving them a chance to choose presents for their siblings and friends is important.

This Sunday (15th November) from 10 – 11am Toys"R"Us in Portsmouth  are opening early to enable families with children on the spectrum an opportunity to shop in more relaxed setting. The lights will be dimmed, there will no music playing and staff will have been advised and trained to deal with situations in a more suitable way. This will be a great opportunity to shop in the peace and quiet and ensure your children can share the experience.   

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Next week is Anti-Bullying week (16th - 20th November) and its purpose is to raise awareness of bullying and to help stop it.

Bullying can take many different forms and can take place in school, travelling to and from school and even in the local neighbourhood. Verbal bullying can be just as damaging, if not more damaging than physical bullying.  Why?  Because it really attacks us mentally.  Name-calling, constant teasing, abusive comments can all have a long-term impact. 

Bullying can result in the victim having a low self esteem, poor school performance, depression, increased feelings of isolation, even thoughts of self-harm. Bullying is not just a problem for a minority of children; it is a widespread problem that can upset and disrupt a child's emotional, physical and intellectual development. One of the biggest reasons bullying isn’t tackled is because victims are too scared to speak up.  Bullying is a serious issue that should be challenged and the more it is, the better chance we have at beating it!  Bullying is deliberate and almost always a repeated behaviour; sometimes carrying on into adult life.

BullyingUK have provided some advice for parents about bullying; it covers lots of issues such as:

A guide to dealing with bullying  for parents of disabled children Front page Page 01If you are worried that your child may be being bullied the Anti-bullying Steering Group published a guide for dealing with bullying for parents of disabled children. The guide contains information about spotting the signs of bullying, the action you can take, your child’s rights and stories and tips from other parents.

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Some of you Person Centred v 3will have heard of the new Education Health and Care Plans (sometimes called EHCPs) which replace the old system where young people had a Statement or an LDA. 

If you are going through the process of getting an EHCP then it is important that you understand that process so that you can have a say in what goes into your plan.

There is information on our website but sometimes its better to hear about EHCPs in person. There is a joint event on the 19th of November at the Frank Sorrell Centre from 5pm - 6:30pm where there will be some short talks and then an opportunity to ask any questions you have about EHCPs.

Everyone is welcome.

 

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The Deputy Director for SEND, Stuart Miller, took over the role shortly after the reforms were implemented. Stuart's job is to ensure that the reforms are accomplishing what they were intended to - to ensure a better experience for children and families, to better identify those with a special educational need and ensure they are given the right help and to make sure that local authorities understand and are implementing both the legal and cultural aspects of the reforms.

There's no doubt that this is a huge task, particularly as many families have found the transfer from statement/Learning Difficulty Assessment to an Education, Health and Care Plan has not exactly gone according to plan.

Tania from the Special Needs Jungle was recently invited to meet Stuart at the DfE recently to share some of the SEND experiences that parents have told them about and how SNJ see their role as ensuring that the voice of the parent gets directly to those in the decision-making positions. Stuart has agreed that he and his team will answer the top ten most frequently asked questions that parents send in. 

The SNJ are asking you to submit your questions to them and they will then collate every question asked in order to get the top 10. Each person is able to submit up to three questions via their online form. You have until Sunday 15th November 2015 to ask your questions. To get involved please visit their webpage http://www.specialneedsjungle.com/ask-the-dfe-put-your-send-queries-directly-to-the-man-at-the-ministry/

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IOY November 2015

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

pdfIOY_November_2015.pdf

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The Anti-Bullying Alliance have produced a new online tool for parents to get information and advice on bullying. Have a look at it by clicking here.

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Every year the Anti-Bullying Alliance coordinate national Anti-Bullying Week; a week where children and young people, schools, parents and carers come together with one aim: to make a noise about bullying.

The theme for this year is 'Make a Noise About Bullying' and the key aims are:

  • To empower children and young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online;
  • To help parents and carers have conversations with their children about bullying – both as a way of preventing bullying, and to help children who are worried about bullying;
  • To encourage ‘talking schools’ where all children and young people are given a safe space to discuss bullying and other issues that affect their lives, and are supported to report all forms of bullying;
  • To equip teachers to respond effectively when children tell them they’re being bullied; and
  • To raise awareness of the impact of bullying on children’s lives if they don’t tell anyone it’s happening – or if they are not given appropriate support – with a focus on the impact on mental health.

You can download the Official Anti-Bullying Campaign Pack here

Anti Bullying Month runs from 2nd - 27th November 2015 with the theme 'Cyberbullying and E-Safety'. More information can be found at  www.antibullyingweek.co.uk.

 

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The Department for Education's 0-25 Special Education Needs and Disability Unit has published its October newsletter. This edition talks about engaging communities with the Local Offer, EHC Plan FAQs and training offers. 

To access the Department for Education October newsletter, please click here.

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