Having a child or young person in your family with SEND can affect every member of your family and what you do together. We understand that for children and young people with SEND to do well, the whole family needs to be supported. In Norfolk there is support available for parents and carers, as well as brothers and sisters of children with SEND.
Looking after a child with SEND can feel lonely and isolating at times, you can often feel that you are going through a maze of special educational needs/health assessments etc. Life at home can be very difficult but also rewarding. It can be really good to talk with other parents who have been or are going through similar situations.
There are many support groups in Norfolk and you will find these in the Norfolk Community Directory.
Are you dealing with lots of professionals and feel you need support for the whole family? You could ask for a Family Support Process to be started.
Is your child / young person coming home from school very upset / stressed or not wanting to go to school? Have you spoken with your child’s / young person’s class teacher about your concerns? If you need further advice and support, Norfolk SEND Partnership IASS can offer free, dedicated, confidential and impartial advice and support about special educational needs and disabilities. This includes health and social care where it is linked to education.
Looking after yourself as a carer is really important as you need to be well enough to look after your children. Have some Me Time! If your children are at nursery/school/post 16 placement, make time to do something that replenishes you. You may be eligible for Short Breaks, or need help to have a holiday.
Does your child/young person struggle with friendships, if so, see if you can find an activity that they enjoy where they can meet other children/young people. There are some groups that are set up for specific disabilities and others that are for specific sports etc. See what you can find on the Things to do
It is natural to feel concerned about your child becoming an adult, especially when they have SEND. But this is an exciting time when together you can explore opportunities for the future. It is a journey that you will go on together as a family, growing up and experiencing new things will mean that views change. That’s natural. The lives of parent/carers also change. The important thing is to explore ideas together as a family. Look at the Preparing for adulthood section for information and support for preparing for adulthood.
Do you need childcare that will support your child, young or old? Check the Family Information service.
Having a brother or sister with SEND can be difficult. One parent explains that: “Our disabled daughter needs so much more time than other children, meaning that our eldest daughter seems to get pushed aside. Basically having a disabled child can put major strain on all members of a family.”
One sister says that: “Sometimes it can be quite difficult having a brother with a disability. However this is outshone by the fact that he is my brother and that I love and care for him very much, and he returns this brotherly love by always saving the last slice of cake for me!”
Please read the section about Young carers for more information about support for brothers and sisters.
It can be very tiring and challenging having a child with SEND. As one parent summarised: “Having a young person with a disability in our family is exhausting, as at the moment she wakes at 5am! It is full on and relentless, she can't be left alone for more than a few minutes.”
Another parent explains that: “Even though it is stressful, hard, tiring and scary, it is also rewarding in a whole different way - who else's child has the whole school chanting/cheering their name at sports day when they are last in the race? We rate achievements differently; she ran the race smiling and kept going till the end. She's a winner to us”