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Special educational needs updates

Special educational needs and disabilities updates Spring Term 2019

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If you would like to share any views about the Local Offer or SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) provision in the Wokingham Borough complete our online Local Offer survey

Ambleside Children Centre is running a term time Tuesday morning play session for parents and their children who have been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum or have been referred to the paediatrician for a diagnosis.

Session information

  • Location: Ambleside Children Centre, Ambleside Close, Woodley, RG5 4JJ
  • Time: 1pm until 2.30pm
  • Day: Tuesday (term time only)

A Family Worker will be there to support, along with other families who've had similar experiences.

A Wiggle Worm session is also run at the Brambles Children's Centre in Wokingham on a Thursday from 9.30am until 11.30am.

Monthly drop-in sessions for parents

Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) drop in sessions run on a monthly base for parents to come and discuss anything special educational needs related.

Drop-in session dates

Dates for the remainder of the spring term and summer term are as follows:

  • 14 March 2019
  • 25 April 2019
  • 23 May 2019
  • 20 June 2019
  • 11 July 2019

Venue and time

  • Venue: Wokingham Youth Centre, 35 Reading Road, Wokingham, RG41 1EG 
  • Time: 10am until 12 noon

More details 

For further information go to the SENDIASS drop in surgeries directory listing. 

Contact details 


What is a short break?

Short breaks provide children and young people with disabilities opportunities to spend time away from their parents and carers, relaxing and having fun with their friends. 

Does your family meet the eligibility criteria and how to apply?

To find out if your family meet the eligibility criteria for the short breaks service go to  short breaks and respite care web page and read our short breaks statement which details who is eligible to apply.

To apply for the short breaks service, complete the self-assessment form on the short breaks and respite care web page.

After receiving an assessment form, we’ll look at the information in it and decide what level of needs a child and family have. The level of needs dictate what happens next. If the assessment shows a family qualify for short breaks the council, we’ll put together a short breaks plan with the family and arrange a short breaks direct payment to pay for the short breaks. Read the decision making flowchart (PDF document) to find out more.

Give us your feedback

If you would like to provide any feedback relating to the short breaks process, email reachwokingham@hotmail.co.uk

Looking for your child to take up a sport?

Find out what's happening in the borough this spring for children and adults with additional needs. Read our activity programme for 2019 (PDF document).

Social media

You can also follow the service on Twitter and Facebook:

Contact details

For further information please contact the Wokingham Borough Sports and Leisure Service.

Come to our Pancake Pantry

The Rainbow Cafe is working with the Optalis Supported Employment Service to help adults and young people with additional needs gain catering skills.

Join us for tea and cake on 4 March

Come to the Rainbow Cafe on Monday 4 March 2019, from 12 noon until 2.30pm and enjoy a slice of cake with a choice of tea or coffee. Refreshments will be served by the Supported Employment Service clients.

Book your place

To book your place or for more information:

  • Call: 0118 977 8636
  • Location: Rainbow Cafe, Acorn Community Centre, Feanlea Drive, Woosehill, Berkshire, RG41 3DR


Another job secured for a client

Supported Employment Service (SES) Optalis have secured another paid job offer for a client which has gladly been accepted. Here is a bit of background about this inspiring story and the difference supported employment has made to this young person’s life.

Supported Employment were approached to work with an individual who has selective mutism, anxiety and autism. Whilst it was clear the individual had lots of potential, there were still several barriers preventing the individual to gain employment.

One of these barriers was confidence and changing the mind-set of the individual, focusing on their strengths and what they can do, not what they perceive that they can’t do. Supported employment analysed these strengths and found suitable work experience. This led to an increase in confidence and a sense of achievement, demonstrating to the individual and employers the skills that they could offer.

Whilst being supported to identify suitable job vacancies, the individual’s job coach used their expertise with employers and was able to set up an interview for a job they had expressed an interest in.  The job coach helped the individual positively disclose their disability, and ensured that they attended the interview to support the process.

Through attending the interview and behind the scenes work, Supported Employment Service made sure the employer understood the person’s disability and guided them with reasonable adjustments. This meant that the individual now works independently and their employer is fully aware of how to support them appropriately.

Supported Employment keep up to date with the client’s progress and continue to support the employer to ensure the long term sustainability in the role.

When the young person accessed the service, they did not believe that they could achieve a real job, that it was never going to happen, and there were too many barriers in place. Now, at the time of writing this, the same young person works independently, earns money, has increased confidence, purpose and meaning. An inspiring story, and one which demonstrates just how big a difference Supported Employment can make in a person’s life.

More details

For more information about the Supported Employment Service visit the Optalis website

Join us for coffee on 10 May

Optalis Supported Employment and REACH Wokingham parent carer forum are hosting a coffee morning on Friday 10 May 2019.

We will be discussing how the service can support young people and carers, explaining how you can access employment support and build sustainable, satisfying careers.

More details

For more information about the wide range of support available through Supported Employment Service or the coffee morning, contact Josh Hancock, the Transition Team Lead, on 0118 977 8629.

What is Ace@Optalis?

Ace@Optalis is a groundbreaking supported employment course designed and delivered by Optalis to provide a smooth transition from college into employment for students who have been studying work-related courses at Reading College.

Watch the Ace@Optalis video

Watch the Ace@Optalis video on the Optalis YouTube channel to hear from students who have attended the course.

If you are going through, or looking to request, an Education, Health and Social Care assessment read our Education, Health and Care flowchart (PDF document) for an outline of the process.

Sign up for council 0 to 25 SEND updates by registering with our email alerts system.

The ASSIST team (Autism Spectrum Service for Information, Support and Training) support Wokingham families that include a child with a diagnosis (or on the pathway for assessment) of Autism Spectrum Condition.  

Come to our drop-in sessions

Come and join the ASSIST team at one of their drop in sessions, alongside other parents and carers to chat, share ideas and problem solve. Sessions are held at 2 venues in Woodley. 

For details of dates and times go to the:

As part of the National Autism Strategy review the Government would like autistic people, their families and those caring for them to give their views on how care and support in England can be improved.

Visit the UK Government website to find out more and to complete the online survey.

Read the Local Offer leaflet (PDF document) to find out how the Local Offer can help you.

Send us your views on our Local Offer service by completing our online Local Offer survey or by emailing us at info.families@wokingham.gov.uk

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