Helping to communicate with children

A SPECIAL event giving parents the opportunity to try out different ways to communicate with their disabled children and young people takes place in West Sussex this month.

‘Let’s All Communicate’ has been organised by West Sussex County Council’s Short Breaks for Disabled Children team. It takes place on Monday June 25, from 9.30am to 1pm, at Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, Yapton Lane, Walberton, BN18 0LS.

The event follows a survey of West Sussex parents of disabled children and young people who said the top three things that they needed help with, as well as short breaks, were sleep, behaviour and communication.

Cabinet Member for Children and Families Peter Evans said: “We’ve listened to what parents want help with, and this event helps provides the support they are looking for. We’re aiming to cover anything and everything to do with helping parents to communicate with their disabled children.

“The event will provide information and helpful tools and techniques, which I hope many parents will find useful. Looking after a disabled child or young person provides many challenges, so I’m glad that we’re able to support parents with our Short Breaks service and events like this.”

There will be taster sessions on: makaton – a language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate, using music to communicate, communication aids, and communicating with children who have sensory needs.

Speakers at the event will include Maggie Johnson, a speech and language therapist advisor specialising in childhood communications needs. She has more than 20 years experience in education and community settings. Also Allan Johnston, the producer of CBeebies ‘Mr Tumble’, and Sharon Langton, a West Sussex parent of two disabled young people with complex communication needs, who will be sharing her experience.

There will also be a market place with lots of information stands available, including the speech and language therapy service, the Library Service, a range of Short Breaks providers, and the West Sussex Parents Forum.

The event is free to attend, but parents need to book their place – e-mail jane.lewison-white@westsussex.gov.uk or call 01243 642469.