Are you looking for information, advice and support on SEN and/or disabilities?
Fran Turko and Shazia Khan deliver Merton’s Information, Advice and Support Service for SEN and/ or Disabilities (see image left). They tell YMT about the range of support that is available in Merton and nationally for children and young people with SEN and/ or disabilities.
In Merton we are committed to working in partnership across children’s services including schools to support the health and well-being and education of children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities (SEND) 0-25.
For advice and information about the identification of SEN and/or disabilities and ongoing support we encourage parents and young people to first contact their school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Learning Support Advisor, class teacher and other professionals who know the child or young person.
In addition parents and young people can find a wealth of information and advice, as well as contact details for support services, online at the Merton SEN Local Offer website. Also, the Young Merton website for children and young people has details of activities, events and other opportunities for all children including those with SEN and/ or disabilities.
There are national support organisations too: The Independent Advisor of Special Educational Advice (IPSEA) has a website of information and resources and offers independent legally based advice, support and training to help get the right education for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. In addition Contact for families with disabled children, provides guidance and information via their website and helpline (0808 808 3555; available 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday, free from UK landlines and UK mobiles; Press 1, to speak to an education adviser, press 2 for all other helpline enquires).
Where young people and their families who live in Merton have explored these options for support, but require additional direct and specialist help and advice including appealing to a Tribunal, they can also contact our service - the Merton Information, Advice and Support Service for SEN and/ or disabilities (MIASS).
This free service provides impartial advice and guidance to parents, carers and young people aged 0-25 with regard to the identification of special educational needs and the requirement for multi-agency support, including health and social care interventions and applying for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP); all members of the team are trained in the statutory framework. We can also support families at meetings with the local authority and can arrange informal meetings to challenge a decision of the local authority prior to tribunal.
The answer machine and email inbox is monitored daily including during school holidays. We work with approximately 450 families a year and receive between 5 and 10 phone calls a day. We respond to all contacts within seven working days at the latest and will prioritise cases where children are out of school, at risk of exclusion or where there are legal proceedings. We support parents, carers and young people at meetings at school, with class teachers and SENCos as well as doing home visits and in their offices at Joseph Hood Primary school.
For a lovely example of the impact of our work please read the case study article: ‘Thank you MIASS I could not have moved forward without the support’.
If you are working with a child, young person or family who needs support for SEN and/ or disabilities then please encourage them to speak to education and other professionals who work with the child or young person and to use the online directories. If they still need further support please ask them to contact MIASS on 020 8543 8854 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.