Cheshire East SEND, COVID update (3): EHIPs, reasonable adjustments, Priority service to support carers
Last week, parent representatives collated some of your queries and raised a some of your concerns with the SEND partnership. They have asked us to share their responses with you
- Cheshire East SEND COVID update (1): places during closures, SEN team, EHC processes & family support
- Cheshire East SEND COVID update (2): post 16 options, transition arrangements, plans for reopening settings
Short breaks: using EHIPS for respite during lockdown
We shared with the SEND partnership that the impact of current restrictions has been having a massive impact on some of our children & young people and their families. The usual respite afforded by them going to nursery, school or college may not be available, and access to many of the activities that they enjoy is limited.
Response: In Cheshire East we have only had one park that was temporarily closed, Queens Park, Crewe. Many children’s play grounds remain closed due to being unable to manage social distancing and keep children and families safe. Unfortunately, we are unable to open leisure centres as these are closed in line with clear government guidelines and it is not at our discretion to re-open these, even for specific groups.
We will review this, in line with any changes to the current national restrictions.
For Parent Carers accessing EHIPs the Short Breaks Team are happy to discuss an alternative/creative use to the funding agreed during this difficult time.
Some examples have included
- Online dance/singing/gymnastics lessons
- Garden toys and equipment
- Xbox live
- Disney channel subscriptions
- Facetime/Skype with Carers
If you can identify something which your child/young person will enjoy and will keep them occupied so you can sit back and have a short break then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reasonable adjustments & updated guidance
On 9 April the Government issued updated guidance around reasonable adjustments to the rules for leaving the house to exercise, and how they apply to people with conditions including Autism and Learning Disabilities. You can click here to read this guidance (scroll to point number 15)
There has been discussion about people needing to prove their “eligibility” – some areas have been issuing cards and letters, others using sunflower lanyards etc. If you are concerned about being put on the spot, Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum suggest that you could take a photograph of your child or young person’s SEN support plan / EHC plan / DLA letter / PIP letter / clinic letters (or any other paperwork you may have) to keep on your phone so that you can show it if you need to. You can also refer anyone who challenges you to the guidance above.
In addition, the Director of Commissioning at Cheshire East has asked the Cheshire East Carers Hub to send a letter to all users who are registered with them to confirm that they are a carer. This letter will be sent by post or by email (depending on the carers’ contact preferences). It confirms that the person is a carer & is registered with the Carers Hub, that they may need to travel to and from the house more frequently because of their caring responsibilities, and that a priority has been agreed to allow them to gain access to establishments without queuing and avoid long waits to ensure they can return to their home as quickly and safely as possible.
If you have not had a letter / are not registered with the Cheshire East Carers Hub, please get in touch with them directly – call 0300 303 0208 or email email@example.com
Additional support for families that cannot safely get out for essentials
We also asked if there is anything in place to support families, especially single parent families, with the logistics of trying to leave the house for essentials while they have a child or young person at home full time. We explained that for many of our children & young people, the social distancing rules and additional waiting times can be very challenging.
They advised that these families can register with the helping people service that has been set up to do tasks like grocery shopping, collecting prescriptions etc during these circumstances. If you would like to register for support please visit this site and complete the forms