SEND Family Connections
SEND Support, Assessment & Training
We believe children and young people should feel SAFE, CONNECTED & CONFIDENT
Our focus is on communication, behaviour, social and emotional wellbeing of school children and young people with special educational needs disabilities and neurodivergent conditions
Our vision is for parents and professionals to optimise their understanding of children and young peoples’ communication and social emotional mental health needs and to provide the right conditions so they can fee safe, connected and confident in their world.
During the covid-19 pandemic we are here for you!
Our online consultations continue as normal
We are now offering tele-assessments via our online platform
Check out our facebook for daily live presentations on “Safe & Connected: Parenting in Challenging times”
Parenting in Challenging Times
As our reality changes with coronavirus, our parenting is being challenged on every level. It’s important to find our feet and find our calm so that we can be the emotional anchor for our children.
We may need to fine-tune, re-visit or skill-up on our parenting strategies as our families become isolated from community and cut off from support services
This page will be dedicated to supporting parents with neurodivergent children and young people and anyone who feels in need of extra support with their children at this time
SAFE & CONNECTED: Parenting in Challenging Times
Daily Facebook lives on SEND Family Connections page
DAY 1 “Pacing Yourself”
This is going to be an drawn-out emotional journey for us and our young people. There’s no hurry to get anything right today. With school closures in the UK starting today, we are all feeling the hit, if we haven't already.
Good morning! I’m Laura Newman and I’m going live on FB everyday to share my expertise and support you as best I can. I work with families with young people with Special Educational Needs so most of what I share will be directed to this audience. It is also entirely relevant to anyone who is feeling they are parenting in challenging times.
Taking it steady is paramount because our young people rely on us to co-regulate. We self-regulate, they co-regulate.
Slowing things down and having realistic expectations of what we can achieve today, letting go of what we want to happen/ get done. Just being really kind to ourselves and doing less.
We are in a transition period as we all get used to the changes. Transitions are not easy. It’s going to be uncomfortable. So pace yourself!
Keep looking forward and being hopeful. Taking 2 steps forward and one step back is fine, but keep facing the direction of hope.
My invitation to you today is how you can pace yourself. Here are some ideas:
-check in with yourself every hour
-connect with someone later and hold on until then
-set up a support call with a friend or family member
-go for a walk or just take a long breathe in the sunshine
-use a mantra “I’m fine right now; today will end; we are all safe”
-find ways to ground yourself and come back to balance regularly
-S.L.O.W. it all down
Be safe and stay connected in all the different ways you can do that.
Support & Advice
Support when you need it
Parenting your neurodivergent or SEND child or young person can be challenging. It’s not meant to be done alone. You deserve and need support in order to fulfill your role and parental responsibilities, and stay calm in the process.
At SEND Family Connections, we aim to support you emotionally and bring practical solutions for your unique situation.
By shining a light on childrens’ social emotional mental health needs, their behaviour and communication, we put the pieces together and make sense of your situation. We support you in your parenting & your child or young person in their development, mental health and well-being.
We want your child or young person to feel safe, connected and confident. We want you all to enjoy family life together!
Our Consultancy Approach is based on a set of core beliefs:
- You know your child best
- Children learn best from their primary caretakers
- Children learn best when they feel safe and connected
- Parents/Carers are best placed to teach children in the context of the relationship and naturally in daily activities
So rather than work directly with your child, we support you in fine-tuning your approach and with practical strategies to address your specific challenges at home or school. Getting them ready to learn. Reducing their anxieties and frustrations. Boosting their confidence. Being consistent in your parenting.
This is a natural, effective and sustainable approach which will last a life-time.
Pathway options: support or assessment
Flexibility is important to everyone. We want to meet you where you are at and help you get to where you want to be. Depending on your priorities and needs you may choose any of the following options to access our services:
- Start with support
- This may or may not lead to an assessment
- Start with an assessment
- This may or may not lead to support
All our support is online during the covid-19 pandemic
Accessing our recommendations
We use MyTherapyTracker®, a unique cloud-based electronic client record system. This system allows us to keep our clinical records in compliance with HCPC guidelines and GDPR. Each of our clients has an individual record and a login to view notes, reports, targets and utilise the two-way media upload for sharing files.
So at the end of a session, we will send you our notes on MTT with any recommendations and resources for you to access at any time.
Assessments & Reports
EHCP & SENDIST reports provider
SEND Family Connections provides high quality speech and language therapy medico-legal and expert witness reports for legal proceedings for children and young people with Speech Language and Communication Needs for:
- Education Health and Care Plan application, Annual Review and Interim Review
- Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal / First Tier Tribunal Appeal
All our assessments are online during the covid-19 pandemic
Why we need SALT Assessments
There’s a direct link between Speech Language Communication Needs SLCN and childrens’ behaviour challenges and their mental health. SLCN are often hidden, masked or not understood, and associated with Social Emotional Mental Health challenges at home and/or at school.
Long term outcomes for SEND and neurodivergent individuals include impact on earnings, relationships, health, mental health, higher risk of imprisonment, and shorter life expectancy.
A lot of these negative outcomes begin during school and the breakdown of a child's educational life.
Our Specialist SALT Assessments
At SEND Family Connections we aim to make sense of your child or young person’s Behaviour challenges and Social Emotional Mental Health issues in relation to their Speech Language and Communication Needs
Our assessments cover the following areas as relevant to your case:
- detailed case history
- clarity of speech
- understanding, expression & pragmatic use of spoken language
- higher level language skills such as problem solving, inference, prediction
- social learning and social skills
- challenging behaviours
- mental health
- emotional health
We write S.M.A.R.T outcomes and provisions to meet the needs we identify in our assessments.
We are happy to discuss screening assessments for general purpose or prior to providing Consultancy Support.
Independent vs NHS SALT reports
Independent Speech and Language Therapy SALT reports have equal value in law as NHS SALT reports. We are happy to report that to date we have a 100% success rate in our reports being used by the 0-25 team for EHCP applications and tribunal appeals.
Our hourly rates and estimated charge for your case, will be discussed with you before we start. Our minimum charge for an EHCP report is £650. We do our best to keep your costs to a minimum and offer flexible payment options.
Following completion of our assessment, you can access the following services:
- Consultancy Support to help you address challenges at home or school
- advice and training for school staff
- support and advocacy in relation to our assessment, including TAF & TAC meetings, Annual Reviews and Tribunal/Court as an expert witness.
Regular Therapy Input
We do not currently offer this service. If your child needs regular Speech and Language Therapy input and you have an EHCP, it is the responsibility of the 0-25 team to find a source of provision. Please refer to our helpful Resources & Links. Contact your local NHS SALT department directly if you do not have an EHCP.
Training for Parents & Professionals
SEND Family Connections offers a range of training topics and packages for parents/carers and professionals at your facility.
Our aim is to bring together the science of attachment, trauma and social learning into practical solutions for families, schools and professionals.
Our focus is on the application of Gordon Neufeld’s Developmental Attachment model, which fills a missing piece in the understanding of challenging behaviour, neurodiversity and meeting a child’s deepest need for connection.
Contact us to discuss your bespoke requirements or to invite us to your local group for an introductory presentation
- The development of attachment in young children and what this looks like at all ages when they get stuck in separation
The Application of Developmental Attachment in the Clinic
- How the developmental attachment model informs us about a range of diagnoses, including DLD, ASC/ASD, PDA, ADHD/ADD, SPD, SM, ODD, OCD
- Introduction to our Connection Smart model with ‘what to do when’ strategies
‘Understanding Developmental Attachment and Applications at Home and School’ Series
- Understanding Emotions and Resilience and applications at home and school
- Understanding Aggression, Anxiety and Attention and applications at home and school
- Understanding Demand-Avoidance and applications at home and school
- Understanding Sensitivities and applications at home and school
- Understanding Trauma and applications at home and school
- Understanding Attachment and Trauma in Adopted and Fostered Children and applications at home and care home.
Conditions we cover
We welcome referrals for the following reasons
We support families with children & young people with SEND and neurodivergent conditions which relates to their communication and social emotional mental health, including autistic spectrum conditions, developmental conditions, social learning conditions, and communication disorders
SEND Family Connections supports families with children & young people with a variety of diagnoses and neurodivergent conditions NDC:
- Developmental Language Disorder DLD
- Speech Language and Communication Needs SLCN
- Social Communication Disorder/ ‘Social Learning’
- Selective Mutism SM
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder/Conditions ASD/ ASC
- Pathological Demand Avoidance PDA
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity /Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD/ADD
- Anxiety Disorders
- Tourette Syndrome TS
- Sensory Processing Disorder SPD
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder ODD
- Highly Sensitive HS
- Developmental Trauma
SEND Family Connections supports families with children & young people with a variety of presentations:
- understanding & expressing spoken language
- functional use of language
- mental health issues
- aggression/ anxiety / fears / phobias
- clingy / obsessions / fixations
- frustration/ temper tantrums/ meltdowns / panic
- highly reactive/ sensitive
- social challenges and isolation
- attachment difficulties associated with Looked After Children LAC
- sibling rivalry
- bedtime/ sleep issues
- eating issues
- bullying issues
- constipation / bed wetting related to anxiety
- homework issues
- need for control/ lack of cooperation/ defiance
- poor self-regulation
- school attendance and separation issues
- under-achieving at school
- not respecting parental limits including use of social media
- co-parenting with an ex-partner
- breakdown of family dynamics/ power struggles
- parental overwhelm/ loss of leadership
The best way to find out if what we offer is suitable for your specific situation is to contact us for a free initial consultation
Our Registrations, Qualifications & Trainings
Laura Newman is a Speech and Language Therapist specialising in Social Emotional Mental Health
You should know our professional background and the organisations that we are registered with. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but it will also inform you of our area of specialism.
HCPC Health Care Professions Council, number SL00678
RCSLT Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, certified member RC0007472
ASLTIP Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice, member 79
ICO Information Commissioner's Office, reference number ZA544034
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
BSc (Hons) Speech Pathology and Therapy
MSc Human Communication
Trainings programs, Courses & Workshops
Hanen: It Takes Two To Talk
Hippocrates Health Institute: Certified Health Educator (9 weeks)
Hand in Hand Parenting: Instructor Certification Training (9 months)
Neufeld Institute: Intensive I Making Sense of Kids; Intensive II Making Sense of Separation, Science of Emotions, Making Sense of Resilience, Making Sense of Aggression, Alpha Children, Making Sense of Hypersensitivity, The Art and Science of Transplanting Children.
Bis-net: Understanding autistic individuals with demand-avoidance PDA
Bis-net: Understanding & supporting an autistic child or young person ASD
Bis-net: Understanding and supporting individuals with attention difficulties ADHD/ADD
Course Beetle: Understanding & supporting attachment difficulties & complex trauma
The Social Thinking model for emotions (2 days)
The Social Thinking model for The Informal Dynamic Assessment & core treatment strategies for ages 5 to young adult (2 days)
Queen Elizabeth School: E-safety for parents
Bibic: Sensory Processing Disorder
Mind Body Breakthrough: Anxiety Disorder, ADHD & Recovery
Beacon House: Developmental trauma in children and families
Autism Consultancy International: Autism, PDA & Behaviour
NAS: Women and Girls
SEN Legal workshops: IEP’s & Graduated Responses
Phoenix Ascends: EHCP Information Session
DIAS Devon Information Advice & Support for SEND: Better outcomes for meetings
Safeguarding Children: Level 2
Active Memberships for CPD
Early Years Practitioners Forum in mid-Devon, monthly meet
Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practise ASLTIP, termly meet
Clinical Excellence Network CEN in Social Emotional Mental Health, termly meet
Operation Diversity SEND Academy, resources and support, online access
What our clients say
Feedback from consultations
Very knowledgeable, and approachable. Tailors it to your family needs.
Laura really is incredibly insightful. It’s amazing when someone hits the nail on the head with the nub of issues that have been there for years. She has transformed things for us and we are so delighted to see the results of all the fabulous things she has suggested.
We were at a loss with our seemingly confident and strong willed adopted 3 year old until Laura stepped in with her insight and expertise. We were veering between reactive discipline and exhausted reasoning in response to his seemingly relentless ignoring of our directions and tendency to pull away from us and head toward danger. Thankfully we encountered Laura who simply and clearly explained to us what she saw in his actions as calls for more boundaries not less. She reassured us as to our role in the relationship and compassionately guided us through alternative ways of responding to him whilst maintaining being the adults in charge. In a very short time her work has transformed things for us all. Thank you Laura.
It felt like a crisis situation caused by my 10 year old daughter's anxiety. Straight away things started improving. E loved meeting Laura and was delighted that she was going to help her (and me) with her worries. She relished her first Special Time, as did her 12 year old brother (and me)! That evening E went to sleep better than she has done for ages after a great afternoon of being connected (to each other as opposed to digital devices). The next morning she was far more resilient than she has been for weeks! She went in to school that morning and I collected her at lunch time (her school attendance is hit and miss at the mo). On collection she was still more resilient than her current norm. The week has continued in that way. She hasn't had one single Panic Attack whereas she was having one in the evening contemplating school and one in the morning going to school! Her adrenaline and cortisol levels have returned to a far healthier level (as have mine). We are so grateful and really looking forward to our next session. I sing your praises to every parent I speak to! THANK YOU!
Thank you very much for the sessions I have recently had with you. You have given me a great deal to think about and add to my lessons making them more fluid and less based around a whole hour of history. I have since we spoke looked at the various websites and i have ordered the living values booklet which have a variety of lessons on values for me to introduce at the beginning along with brain teasers for a mini break for us all. Thank you for providing me with the necessary tools to enable me to work on a higher vibration with the pupils; I will keep you up to date on how things progress.
Laura. The tools you taught us have definitely been useful in the tricky transition from being a three person family to a four person family. Generally "A" is thriving very well as a big sister and even when she's not I feel I have more of an insight into whats going on for her and what might help.
A month ago our 16 year old son started to create some problems. We were shocked and didn’t find a way to handle these problems. We don’t live together and also have our own difficulties therefore due to our different points of view; we did not come up with a common solution or idea. Therefore we contacted Laura for help. After our first 2 hour meeting we felt much better and comfortable, having some guidelines to follow. After a month now we have done so much progress and can really recommend Laura to anyone who is in the same position. It is worth taking recommendation from a professional. Thank you Laura.
Our areas of concern with our son included social anxiety at school, difficulty in adapting to changes to routine, fidgeting, hypersensitivity to smell and to noise, sensory issues and meltdowns about seemingly minor issues. Laura has totally changed the way in which we read his behaviour. We now feel equipped to understand his actions and rather than being frustrated or at times angered by it we have learnt to interpret it and respond calmly. Laura is the first to point out that there is no quick fix but we have definitely seen encouraging results in a short period and our relationship with our son is much stronger which in turn has made a huge improvement in our family life.
Feedback from trainings
Laura is an approachable and knowledgeable professional who has the ability to make the complex understandable.
Lots of in-depth information which we can be used to support the children we see and help put the jigsaw together
Feedback from peer supervisions
Thanks so much for your time and advice which had been really helpful. I will certainly recommend your website and service to parents.
Katie Bass, Speech and Language Therapist