Forum to explain impact of special needs changes

GOVERNMENT changes to how services for children with special educational needs and disabilities may be provided in the future will be the focus of a free event in East Sussex this week.

The information event on February 2 has been jointly organised by parents of children with special needs and disabilities, as well as for people who work with the families including staff from East Sussex County Council.

It will bring together under one roof a host of information from a wide range of different groups and organisations.

There will also be a focus on planned Government changes to how services for children with special educational needs may be provided in the future.

These changes include simpler assessments and plans for young people, with the potential for more parental control over which services are accessed through the support of a personal budget.

This would allow young people and their parents to be more central to this process.

The event will give parents and carers the chance to find out more about the various support services that are available to help them and their children.

It will also give them the opportunity to let service providers know what changes they would like to see.

Cllr Colin Belsey, the County Council’s Lead Member for Children and Families, said, “Being a parent is a tough job, and everyone needs help or support at some stage. Being the parent of a child with special needs or disabilities adds extra challenges.

“Knowing where to turn for help can also be a problem and so that’s why we hold events like this.

“The fact is there is a range of support available for families, but people need to know how they can access that help.

“We hope at this event to bring together as many organisations as possible so we can create a one-stop shop of information and support.”

The event, for parents across the county, is being held at Uckfield Civic Centre on February 2 from 10am until 2pm.

There will be a wide range of information covering such issues as education, training and employment options, health support services, leisure and social opportunities, and housing and independent living advice.

At the event there will be an opportunity to chat to professionals, to ask for advice, and to take in displays by various groups and support services, both from within the County Council and a range of external organisations.

Cllr Belsey said, “The focus will be on the proposed changes, how some services are provided and how parents will be more involved and have more control.”

To book a place at this event or to find out more, call 01273 481230 or email sarah.lindfield@eastsussex.gov.uk or visit: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/specialneeds