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Additional Support & Useful Information

ADD-vance is not the only source of support for local parents of children with additional needs. Below we have listed just some of the other fabulous organisations and resources that are available to local parents and professionals. If you know of any additional services that you believe would benefit other parents then please let us know by emailing herts@add-vance.org and we will add it to the list!

Click on the blue header text to go through to their website.

ADDISS (Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service)  

Based in Hendon, ADDISS provides information and resources about ADHD to anyone who needs assistance - parents, young people, teachers or health professionals. Their ‘Bookstore’ has a wide range of resources relating to all aspects of ADHD and associated conditions including training packs and gifts.

The ADHD Foundation

The ADHD Foundation, in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies, works to:

  • Build a positive foundation for life.
  • Improve life chances through better understanding and management of ADHD.
  • Raise awareness & understanding of ADHD – change the negative perception of ADHD into positive.
  • Bring about positive change and inclusion within policy and practice.
  • Support schools, GP’s, youth justice services and other professionals who work with people living with ADHD.
  • The ADHD Foundation supports achievement, educational attainment, mental health and employability.
  • The Foundation works in a unique way. We work in partnership with those living with ADHD, enabling them understand and manage ADHD.

Angels Support Group                                     

Angels is a parent-led voluntary organisation and registered charity set up in North Hertfordshire to support parents and carers of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). All of the volunteers have children with ADHD or ASD and are committed to providing a resource that people will find both useful and accessible, making it available to as many families as possible. Groups are run in Hitchin, Stevenage, Royston, Letchworth and Baldock with a free crèche for pre-school children at some locations. The Groups are "adult only" time, to encourage friendship, support, the sharing of ideas, difficulties and concerns. Along with the support given to parents and carers, they also run various activities for children during holiday times.

AET (Autism Education Trust)

The AET provides training to schools about ASD and their website contains a wealth of downloadable resources for parents including a handy checklist to help you choose a school for your child and a plan to help you work more effectively with the school to meet your child’s needs.

Carers in Hertfordshire 

Carers in Herts is the leading countywide registered charity for unpaid carers looking after a friend, neighbour or relative due to illness, frailty, mental health needs, disability or substance misuse. They aim to help carers take better care of themselves by providing breaks, leisure and learning opportunities. They also provide information and support for unpaid carers from children as young as 8 years upwards, including benefits and employment advice, support workers, advocacy and training.   In addition, they campaign to help improve services. Their website is a good source of information including downloadable factsheets and a calendar of free events and workshops. The quarterly magazine ‘Carewaves’ is a useful update and their Carers’ Passport provides significant discounts in shops and leisure facilities across the county. They are always looking for more volunteers and are especially keen to re-start their Sibling Carers group.

CEA (Cinema Exhibitors’ Association)

The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed for UK cinemas by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA), formerly the Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA). The scheme was introduced in 2004 and is one of the ways for participating cinemas to ensure they make reasonable adjustments for disabled guests aged 8 and over when they go to the cinema. In particular it ensures a complimentary ticket for a carer to go with them. The card costs £6 annually and requires proof of eligibility (e.g. receipt of DLA).

Cerebra

Cerebra is a charity that believes all children should have the same opportunities for independence and an ordinary life.  Their grant scheme funds up to 80% of the cost of equipment and services to help make life easier and more enjoyable for children with neurological conditions.

DLA (Disability Living Allowance)

DLA is a non-means-tested allowance designed to help with the extra costs of caring for a child with a disability who is under 16 and needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability. Your child does not need a formal diagnosis but you will need to provide information about how and why they need more care than the average child their age. The form is long and complicated so it is worth seeking help to complete it from the Money Advice Unit at Herts County Council on 01438 843456. It frequently goes straight through to voicemail but if you leave a message they will get back to you. If your child qualifies for DLA at the middle or higher rate for the ‘care’ component, and you earn less than £110 per week pro rata, (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension), then you will also be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. Carer’s Allowance is taxable and may affect other benefits. You can use the Tax Credit calculator to check: https://www.gov.uk/tax-credits-calculator. Alternatively, the Money Advice Unit will check everything with you and help you apply for Carer’s Allowance if applicable. If you claim DLA you may also get additional money in Child Tax Credits so this is also worth checking.

DSPL (Delivering Special Provision Locally)

DSPL is a Hertfordshire-wide partnership approach where parents and staff in early years settings, schools, further education colleges, the local authority and representatives from other agencies, work together as part of an Area Group, reviewing and developing the range of provision and support services available to their local community that:

  • Meets the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), aged 0-25, as close to home as possible.
  • Improves outcomes for wellbeing and attainment
  • Widens choice for children and parents/carers
  • Removes barriers to learning
  • Uses resources more effectively

There are nine DSPL Area Groups across the county and they are always looking for parents to join their steering groups and discuss what services are available as well as influence how those services are developed to ensure the children and young people with SEND in their area receive the right support in their educational activities. If you’d like to get involved, then click on the latest edition of DSPL News to find out who to contact in your area. Many of the area groups also have their own websites and Facebook pages which you can search for too.

Family Fund 

Family Fund is the largest provider of grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people. They aim to help ease the additional pressures families face by providing financial support for essential items such as washing machines, fridges and clothing but can also consider grants for sensory toys, computers and family breaks together.

National Autistic Society (NAS) in Herts - formerly Harc (Hertfordshire branch of the National Autistic Society)         

Harc runs a telephone helpline, organises workshops and establishes specialist support groups and networks not covered by other local organisations. They also provide advice to professionals such as teachers, doctors, and employment advisers. Members receive regular email alerts and a quarterly newsletter ‘The Harc Herald’. Membership of harc is free if you join the NAS.

HAND (Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database)

If you are the parent or carer of a child aged 0-19 with and additional need or disability, then you can join HAND free of charge. You will receive a termly interactive newsletter, a card which gives you concessions at local leisure facilities, updates on benefits/activities/support groups and the opportunity to influence planning of future services.

Hertfordshire Free Bus Pass Scheme

The Free Bus Pass Scheme allows free off-peak travel on local bus services for disabled people. Off-peak travel is from 9:30am to 11pm on weekdays and all day over the weekend and bank holidays. Hertfordshire residents can travel on local bus services in Hertfordshire, London and across into Luton, Bedford and other areas where the journey has started in Hertfordshire or with the agreement between the authorities of each area. 

Hertfordshire KIDS Hubs

KIDS East HUB - Divot Place, Hamels Drive, Hertford SG13 7SP Tel: 01992 504013

KIDS West HUB - Albanwood, Newhouse Crescent, Watford WD25 7BZ Tel: 01923 676549

The KIDS East and West HUBs are a one-stop shop for information and support for parents and carers of disabled children and young people aged 0-19 in Hertfordshire. They offer free and impartial support via phone, email and face to face (including home visits) and you don’t need a referral. Sign up for their fortnightly email newsletter and join their Facebook page. They have a brilliant interactive directory which includes the most up-to-date details of support groups, organisations and service providers, as well as a toy library which includes books and sensory resources. If your child has a statement which needs to be converted to an EHC Plan, or you are thinking of applying for an EHC Plan then the KIDS Independent Supporters can provide free impartial support and information throughout the process.

HPCI (Herts Parent Carer Involvement)   

HPCI is part of a national network of parent carer forums. They are always looking for new members to join their network. Their aim is to improve services for families by working alongside those who provide services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). To find out more about how you can get involved, contact them directly or join their Facebook page.

Library Services

Most libraries have books and information covering a wide range of disabilities so you don’t necessarily need to buy books to understand more about your child’s condition. If there is a particular book you are keen to get hold of you can also request that the library service buys it. There are no overdue or reservation charges for disabled people so make sure they know about your child’s disability and this information is linked to their library card.

Like Minds

This is a monthly meeting for women with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism living in Hertfordshire on the last Saturday of each month 1.15-3pm. It is run by Harc (the Herts branch of the NAS). Arts and crafts activities are available and it is a chance to chat and share experiences.

Local Offer 

By law, every local authority has to publish information about what services are available in their local area for parents, children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This includes information about education, childcare, leisure activities etc.

NAS (National Autistic Society) 

The NAS is the leading UK charity for people with autism (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism. The website is a hugely valuable resource – use the ‘search’ facility to help you navigate directly to what you need. They also have free downloadable leaflets and other publications which can be ordered for just the cost of postage and packing. It is worth paying the membership fee in order to receive the monthly magazines which provide helpful information and strategies on different topics. Membership of the NAS also entitles you to free membership of the Hertfordshire branch of the NAS called ‘harc’ (Hertfordshire Autism Research Centre).

Merlin’s Magic Wand 

Merlin Entertainments (who own Legoland, SeaLife, Madame Tussauds and other attractions) run a charity which provides free, non-means tested tickets to families with children aged 2-18 with a confirmed serious illness/long term illness, disability or disadvantage and who would benefit from a day out at a Merlin attraction. Apply online.

Netdoctor  

This website provides comprehensive, medically-based information on diagnosis and interventions for ADHD, including the full diagnostic criteria.

Radar National Key Scheme

The Radar National Key Scheme (NKS) offers disabled people independent access to locked public toilets around the country. Toilets fitted with National Key Scheme (NKS) locks can now be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafés, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations. A key costs around £5 and you can also order regional listing of participating toilets and there is now an app to find your nearest loo! Beware of buying cheap imitations from other websites.

SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service)

SENDIASS (formerly Parent Partnership) offers confidential and impartial information, advice and support to parents, children and young people on any issues relating to the child's education, health or social care needs. The service aims to support families from birth to 25 years and includes signposting families to other services and agencies if appropriate. Their expertise and training in disagreement resolution makes them a useful ‘third party’ to take to meetings with school. The service is funded by Hertfordshire County Council. 

SPACE Support Group   

SPACE runs support groups for parent/carers of children and young people with ASD, ADHD and related conditions in Herts. They meet up several times a term with either a speaker or a coffee and chat session. Groups are held in Buntingford, Cheshunt, Hatfield, Hertford, Hoddesdon, St Albans, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City.  

Spectrum Girls                 Email: spectrumgirls@add-vance.org

Spectrum Girls is a social group for girls and women of any age, living in Hertfordshire, with high-functioning ASD/ADHD. Members are given the opportunity to find local friends with similar interests. Social events for parents are also organised and information is shared via their closed Facebook group. Spectrum Girls has recently become part of ADD-vance.