New online resources for parents and carers

New online resources for parents and carers

Resources created by Dacorum DSPL are now available to download.

Our Autism leaflet was written by the Dacorum DSPL team, in consultation with parent volunteers, SENCos, head teachers and colleagues from Hertfordshire County Council. It gives advice and information on support available to families of a child diagnosed with autism, or who they think may have autism.  Hard copies of the leaflet have been distributed across Dacorum, and now the leaflet can be viewed online with clickable links to support groups. You can find it here.

Our Mental Health information sheets give links to websites with free resources about Mental Health. There are also links to Mindfulness Apps. All the information sheets can be viewed here.

An Evening with Robyn Steward

An Evening with Robyn Steward

DSPL8 were delighted to host Robyn Steward last December, an international speaker who talks about her experiences of being a young woman with autism.
Robyn says she had to learn that her problems were not just that neuro-typical people did not understand her, but that she didn’t understand neuro-typical people. She explained, “I need to know I’m autistic. I can’t make the world think like an autistic person. I have to learn about the world. But I also need my needs to be met, so there must be a meeting halfway.” She therefore set out to teach herself about Theory of Mind. She has to engage in a cognitive process to navigate the world, which involves consulting with a circle of neuro-typical friends, analysing their responses and coming to her own decisions.
Robyn talked about her writing and her research into the experiences of women with autism. Many autistic people of both genders have experienced abuse, and Robyn’s book The Independent Woman’s Handbook For Super Safe Living On the Autistic Spectrum gives strategies to keep yourself safe.
Robyn also answered questions from attendees, for example what age to tell your child that they are autistic. Robyn said to use the word ‘different’ not special, and that if they know their brain is different they can ask for help. Comic book strips can be used to help explain situations, and it’s a huge advantage to start this work early on. Examples of successful people with autism can be used, and the child should understand that autism is not an excuse to not work hard. Robyn recommended books such as Different Like Me – My Book of Autism Heroes by Jennifer Elder, Auti Power! Successful living and working with an autism spectrum disorder by Herman Jansen and Betty Rombout, and Comic Book Conversations by Carol Gray.
Finally, Robyn introduced us to Henry, her “Support Bat”. Henry stays the same, has no opinion, makes little noise, has twiddly legs and velvety ears and helps in stressful situations. He is made by a company called Oliz who make sensory stuffed toys.


Anxiety and children and young people with SEND

Anxiety and children and young people with SEND

The third Dacorum DSPL conference took place on Wednesday 18 October 2017, at the South Hill Centre in Hemel Hempstead.

We were delighted to welcome more parents and carers than ever before, as well as representatives from local organisations and schools. Information stands were provided by organisations such as Step2, the NHS Wellbeing Service, NHS Children’s Speech and Language Therapy, Yo’tism (Yoga for Autism), Families in Focus, ADD-Vance, the Education Psychology, Early Years and Communication and Autism Teams from Hertfordshire County Council, to name but a few!

Attended by over 100 teachers, parents, carers and local professionals working to support children and young people with SEND, it was another great opportunity to see what’s on offer in the local area and talk about our future work.

Presentations were given by Breda O’Neill, CAMHS Schools Link Manager, East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group; Shelley Taylor, Young People’s Public Health Officer; Sue Bramley, County Lead Practitioner, Education Support for Medical Absence; and Pauline Hickey, Longdean Speech and Language Base.

Useful Downloads:
Anxiety Presentation – CLICK HERE
Speech, Language and Communication Needs and Anxiety – CLICK HERE

Lists of free resources to support children and young people with mental health issues can be downloaded here:
Mental health for heads
Mental health for parents
Parent Carers Spring 2017
Professionals Spring 2017
Autumn 2016 newsletter for parents

Feedback included:

“So much available information. Really pleased I came.”

“This was the first conference I have attended and I thought it was beneficial. I will apply the knowledge in a number of ways as a parent and practitioner.”

“Really appreciated the opportunity to discuss mental health and emotional needs in the early years.”

“Thank you for this chance to network and make contact with key agencies.”

“Very informative conference, I will be going away armed with lots of tools/resources!”

“Always good to have the opportunity express opinions/needs etc. working together in a positive environment is definitely the way forward!”