In this issue:

How do we know what young people want in 2022? Guest blog from Services for Young People

Services for Young People support young people aged 11 - 17 (and care leavers and young adults with a learning disability up to age 25) in Hertfordshire, providing advice and guidance on succeeding in adult life. For them to achieve this and provide support for the right concerns and challenges, it's vital that they understand what's on young people's minds. Julie from SfYP has written us a guest blog about how they find out what young people want - those with SEND too - and what young people's biggest concerns are in 2022.  

Read Julie's Guest blog: How do we know what young people want?

Update from Children and Young People's Therapy Service - ages 0 - 25

In April we received additional investment from Hertfordshire County Council, and we at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) are delighted to share an update with you on the positive work happening in Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy. Our aims are to redesign our services to provide an improved service offer, that is clearer to understand. We are using feedback from schools and our services users to understand how to make things better, and we are continuing to work in partnership with them to deliver the changes.

There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes to improve our working processes, for example seeing how we can digitalise processes to make things faster and easier. Here are some of the other things that are happening at the moment too:

Supporting and developing our workforce

We are expanding our teams by recruiting multiple new therapists and assistant roles within OT (6 new roles) and SaLT (7 new roles). Whilst we fill the positions, we are continuing to use Locums - temporary therapists - to cover vacancies and continue providing all the sessions we are able to.

We have introduced an apprenticeship programme in OT/SaLT to train and develop our own clinicians.

We are working with the organisation ADD-Vance to deliver specific interventions (Let’s Interact) for children in schools and nursery

Redesigning our website

We have started work to understand what information you need online to understand and access our service, but also to be supported online with self-service resources and materials. Eventually we will redesign the website and what we can offer you online. The website will be closely linked to the Local Offer.

Co-production is a key part of our redesign; if you would like to be involved, please contact hct.cyptherapies1@nhs.net for further information.

A new framework for identifying the needs of children and young people

Back in Autumn last year, we piloted a speech and language therapy framework in Watford that was developed by North Staffordshire. The framework provides a way for us to review the needs of a child or young person and help us understand what intervention they need. This helps us to understand how to prioritise our caseload, meaning we ensure we help the children and young people who need it the most as quickly as possible.

We are now rolling out the framework across Hertfordshire over summer.

BSL - Contacting emergency services

British Sign Language (BSL) users can communicate more easily with the emergency services following the launch of a new service this month.

999BSL UK Emergency video relay service

999BSL is a free-to-use video relay service that can be accessed online or downloaded as an app.  In an emergency, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can use 999BSL to connect with a BSL interpreter.  The interpreter will then call 999 using a landline to relay the conversation to the emergency services operator.

Visit the 999BSL website

Free iPads for children and young people with a visual impairment - ages 3 - 18

If your child or young person has a visual impairment, you may be able to apply for a free iPad for them to use at home. Guide Dogs UK 's 'Tech for All' scheme is accepting applications.  They are offering iPads for 3-18 year olds who can demonstrate a visual impairment via evidence provided by a professional or through a CVI, whilst stock is available.  This year they aim to provide 2,500 devices on top of the 5,000 provided last year. 

Apply for the Guide Dogs 'Tech for All scheme'

View the eligibility criteria

Stories for neuro-diverse children ages 5 - 11

Dexter the school dog drawing

Lucy Plunkett is a Specialist Advisory Teacher for Speech, Language, Communication and Autism in Hertfordshire.  She recently used her experience as an SEN teacher, and a parent of a child with additional needs, to write a series of 3 books which gently introduce SEN & the benefits of having a school dog for supporting the neuro-diverse community.  You can read about the inspiration behind Lucy's stories about 'Dexter the School Dog', and support her crowdfunder project in this article for SEN magazine.

Read about Lucy's Dexter the School Dog series  

Autism Hertfordshire's Transition Service for 16-20 year olds

Autism Hertfordshire delivers a range of services to support autistic adults and their carers in Hertfordshire. This includes courses, workshops, carer groups, transition groups (for 16/17-year-olds and their carers) and a helpline. 

Autism Hertfordshire flyer

We will offer support to adults both pre-and post-diagnosis through a range of interventions including group work, skills training and development and 1:1 support, in recognition that getting the right support at the right time is crucial to achieving better outcomes in the longer term.

Visit the Autism Hertfordshire website for more information

Helpline: 01727 743 246

Email: enquiries@autismherts.org


View all events and courses

View summer holiday activities

Herts Inclusive Theatre - Play and Theatre Workshop

Herts Inclusive Theatre workshop flyer

Monday 1st - Friday 5th August, Hemel Hempstead    10:00 am - 3:00 pm

 Reach for the stars this summer and join HIT for a week of crafts, drama and games. Create a themed play around all things Space; a rocked-filled creative week, inclusive to all abilities. 

Up on Downs - Teens Social Group

Thursdays at 6.30pm during the summer holidays, via zoom

 A parent run organisation which supports families of children with Down’s Syndrome. Join in the fun with Emily's welcoming social circle suitable from ages 11+

Angels - Parent/carer support group - knowing your rights

Thursday 21st July 10am - 12pm, Greenside School Stevenage

This workshop aims to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to make sure your child’s rights are being protected when accessing the services they need.