Mum helps highlight support for children who need extra help

A MOTHER whose daughter is profoundly deaf is backing a campaign to highlight the services available for children and young adults with additional needs. 
Extra help imageThe Local Offer – which can be accessed on the Tameside Council website at www.tameside.gov.uk/localoffer - should be the first port of call for anyone who has concerns about their child’s development.

It is aimed at all families who feel their children may need some extra help because of additional needs – these could be emotional, physical, behavioural and/or medical and anything from difficulties learning to read to a profound disability.

The Local Offer webpage signposts to all the services and support available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families while also helping families and professionals make informed decisions. Parents and carers are encouraged to seek advice as soon as they identify any concerns so that children can receive all the support they may need from the earliest opportunity.

Karen Burns, from Droylsden, told how accessing all the available support for her daughter Millie – who was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf at the age of one – has been invaluable to her development.

She said: “The earlier you can get the right support for your child, the better. Realising your child needs extra help can be an emotional, confusing and frightening journey but you don’t have to go it alone - there is expert guidance available and people who will support you get the best for your child every step of the way.”

Karen told how a newborn screening test picked up that Millie was deaf in one ear and 12 months later it was established she had lost all of her hearing.

“Millie went from developing fairly normally and saying dada and mama to virtually stopping speaking by her first birthday. I also realised she would not turn if I called her name or walked into a room.

“Once she was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf in both ears as I was put in touch with specialist teachers for the deaf who have been a massive support right through Millie’s journey. As well as teaching her to hear with her cochlear implant, they have helped us choose schools where she can be best supported, trained her teachers, provided equipment and supported us in getting an Education Health Care Plan so that she gets extra support in class.”

Millie is now ten and thriving in primary school while planning her move to secondary education – again with the support for the teachers of the deaf.

“They have been amazing and have made all the difference for Millie. It’s really important that every child that needs support gets it and that families know where to go,” said Karen.

The Local Offer aims to signpost to services and support for everyone aged 0-25 years who has special educational needs and disabilities and inform them of exactly what they are entitled to. As well as linking to individual school and private and voluntary nursery offers, it covers other services and support such as SENDIASS (Tameside Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support  Service), voluntary organisations and local activities.

Tameside Council Assistant Executive Director for Learning Bob Berry said: “The Local Offer isn’t just about supporting school age children, it’s also for families of under fives and adults aged up to 25. It aims to make it as easy as possible for families to find out about their rights and make informed decisions on how they can access the best support and care.

“We’re also very keen for children, young people and their parents and carers to feed back on the local offer and help shape these services for the future.”

Families can provide feedback by clicking on the feedback button on the Local Offer webpage.